Date: Oct. 4-6, 2019
Lake: Lake Hamilton, AR
Place: Hot Springs Convention Center
Crappie fishermen have National Championship Tournaments with Crappie USA, Crappie Masters and the American Crappie Trail. However, none provide an event that encourages large number of spectators, especially those with only a little interest in fishing. The Crappie Expo will include access to manufacturers, expert fishermen and pro-staffers all under one roof, along with a fish fry, concert and boat giveaways to the public. The tournament weigh-in will be held Friday and Saturday in the Convention Center. It’s an overall event crappie fishing has needed for a long time.
“The Expo will run from 9:00 am until 6:00pm the three days of the tournament,” say promoter Wally Marshall, Mr. Crappie. It will be a sale/expo meaning the vendors and manufacturers will be able to sell to the general public. This show will be huge for crappie fishing and will draw fishermen and families, some who have little interest in tournament fishing, to come see what is going on. There is a free fish fry, concert, two boat giveaways and everything is free including entrance to the Expo.”
The tournament is an invitational with a $1000 entry fee. Only tournament fishermen with 15 years experience, or, teams who are entered through a national sponsor, may enter. It will be limited to 100 boats with an expected payback of 110- to 120-percent with first place paying $40,000.
First day fishing will be Friday with weigh-in at the Game and Fish public ramp off Fish Hatchery road. Saturday will be only the top 50 teams with weigh-in at the convention center. Sunday, the final day, only the top 25 teams weighing in.
Marshall says beginning in 2020, the top 25 teams from the major circuits will be invited, along with the top 25 from the previous year’s invitational. He wants a prestigious tournament that fishermen can’t just enter but must earn their way into and it be an honor to be a part of. His goal is not to take fishermen away from any circuit but to add to their exposure and bring more teams into the trails.
“This will be a family-friendly event that will be good for manufacturers, vendors, fishermen and the general public, along with bringing income to the Hot Springs area,” says Marshall. “It’s something crappie fishing has needed for a long time, I’m passionate about the sport of crappie fishing and am excited about the new level the Expo and Invitational will bring.”