October 4-6, 2019 are the dates for the first Crappie Expo and Fishing Classic at the Hot Springs Convention Center and Lake Hamilton, Arkansas. The event is set up to bring large numbers of spectators to enjoy vendor and manufacturer booths, boat giveaways, concert and free fish fry. There will be a weigh-in on Friday at the Fish Hatchery Launch area. Saturday and Sunday weigh-ins will be in the Hot Springs Convention Center in conjunction with the three-day Expo there.
The tournament is by invitation only in an effort to increase the prestige and importance of getting to fish the event. Payout will $100,000 with 100 fishing teams fighting for the first-place prize of $40,000.
Local businessman, Reji Short, sales manager at Trader Bill’s Outdoor Sports & Marine, says, “The Crappie Expo and tournament means a lot to Hot Springs and the surrounding area. It should bring a lot of people into town and that’s always good for the community. We have a lot of bass events but this is the first really major crappie event I know of here.”
Trader Bill’s is a one-stop for hunters and fishermen. Boats, fishing gear and baits are available. Special interest to fishermen is three mechanics with full-service boat repair and a full line-up of parts, for quick back-on-the water service. Mercury, Evinrude and Ranger are a few of the dealer brands. Phone 501-623-8403.
Short says, “Hamilton is known as a bass lake but there are plenty of crappie, too. My father-in-law does well there especially on brushpiles. During a bass tournament, one of our fishermen caught a crappie that went over three pounds. So I know some good crappie are in there. I’m not sure what the lake level will be in October, but the lake should be in good shape for fishermen to catch fish.
“We are excited about the tournament,” says Short. “It’s always difficult to predict exactly what the response will be for a first-time tournament, but we are expecting a very good event.”