by David Koon
While it's been a few years since we wet a hook, the thought of fried fish with a side of cold, hard cash is enough to get us thinking about going to Wally World for a new Zebco and a box of crickets. A new contest, called the $50,000 Hot Springs Fishing Challenge, will feature cash prizes of up to $10,000 for anyone who catches one of 53 tagged fish that will be released into Lake Hamilton and Lake Catherine. The contest, sponsored by Visit Hot Springs, runs from 6 a.m. May 1 through 5 p.m. July 31, and is open to anyone with a valid Arkansas fishing license.
Nine largemouth bass, nine bluegill, nine catfish, nine striped bass, nine crappie and eight walleye will be released in secret prior to May 1. One fish will be tagged with a prize of $10,000. The other fish will be worth prizes varying from $5,000 to $250. The tags will have a phone number to contact in order to claim the prize.
The rules say no prizes will be handed out to anyone "who does not comply with state and local laws, codes, rules and regulations," so no dynamitin' and shockin' em, Billy Joe.
Full press release on the jump...
March 1, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Land a Fish for Cash in $50,000 Hot Springs Fishing Challenge
Starting May 1 on Lake Hamilton and Lake Catherine
HOT SPRINGS NATIONAL PARK, Arkansas — Land a lunker for loot. Boat a bluegill for bucks. Catch a crappie for cash.
Anybody can win big bucks in the first-ever $50,000 Hot Springs Fishing Challenge, which begins May 1 on Lake Hamilton and Lake Catherine at Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas.
“You don’t have to be a pro fisherman to cash in on some of the greatest fishing in North America,” said Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs, sponsor of the Fishing Challenge. “Lake Hamilton and Lake Catherine provide some of the top fishing anywhere. In fact, Lake Catherine is the undiscovered gem of Arkansas lakes.”
Beginning May 1 and running through July 31, the Hot Springs Fishing Challenge is open to anyone with a fishing pole and a valid Arkansas fishing license, Arrison said. “We will tag 53 fish and release them in Hamilton and Catherine in advance of May 1,” he said. “The fish released will be nine largemouth bass; nine bluegill, nine catfish, nine striped bass, nine crappie, and eight walleye. One of the fish, which we will call Big Al, will be worth a grand prize of $10,000.
“The other fish will have tags for prizes ranging from $5,000 to $250.”
The tags will have a phone number and a prize number on them. If a fish is caught the angler must call the number and present the fish with the tag attached.
“Anybody with a fishing license and pole can win, no matter what their age, skill level. It doesn’t matter if the fish is caught while fishing from a boat, from the bank or from a dock,” Arrison said.
The fish will be tagged by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and released in both lakes by a third party, Arrison said. No one except the person who releases the fish will know the exact location of the release points. The number of fish released in each lake will be determined based on lake size and the total number of tagged fish in each lake will be announced prior to the start of the Challenge.
“We couldn’t do this without the technical assistance of our Game and Fish Commission friends at the Andrew H. Hulsey State Fish Hatchery,” he said. “We especially are grateful for help provided by Don Brader, assistant chief/ warmwater coordinator for the Game and Fish Commission. He manages the Hulsey State Fish Hatchery here in Hot Springs.”
The official rules for the Hot Springs Fishing Challenge, May, June, July 2012, are:
• The Hot Springs Fishing Challenge begins at 6 a.m. May 1, 2012, and ends on July 31, 2012, at 5 p.m. Central Daylight Time. The Challenge provides anglers the opportunity to catch tagged fish that can be redeemed for cash prizes.
• Eligibility: The contest is open to anyone with a valid Arkansas fishing license. Employees of the Hot Springs Advertising and Promotion Commission, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission at the Andrew H. Hulsey Fish Hatchery, and their immediate family members, or those living in the same household of each are ineligible to win a cash prize.
• How It Works: Fifty-three tagged fish will be released in Lake Hamilton and Lake Catherine. The fish released will be (9) largemouth bass; (9) bluegill; (9) catfish; (9) striped bass; (9) crappie, and (8) walleye. The tags will have a phone number and a prize number on them. If a fish is caught the angler must call the number and present the fish with the tag attached.
• No cash prize will be awarded to any participant presenting a tagged fish that has been caught other than during the official fishing period. Tags must be presented during the fishing period to be redeemed. All tagged fish must be caught in accordance with all state and local laws, codes, rules and regulations. Rules and regulations can be found at: www.agfc.com/fishing/Pages/FishingRegulations.aspx.
No cash prizes will be awarded to any participant who does not comply with state and local laws, codes, rules and regulations.
• Publicity Release: Each angler who catches a prize fish grants Visit Hot Springs the rights to use their name, likeness, biographical information, and photographs, without compensation, in any and all media without limitation for advertising and promotional purposes.
• General Prize Conditions: Prize winners shall be solely responsible for all federal, state and/or local taxes associated with their prize.
• Prize Distribution: The tagged fish will each be assigned a number. Prize money will be divided as follows:
1 fish $10,000
1 fish $ 5,000
1 fish $ 2,500
20 fish $ 1,000
20 fish $ 500
10 fish $ 250
For more information call Steve Arrison at 501-321-2027 or visit www.hotsprings.org.