Hot Springs will be the scene of the world championship of bass fishing August 20-23.
The Forrest Wood Cup, held on Lake Ouachita, draws in 50 of the world’s best bass-fishing pros and co-anglers casting for a hefty bit of prize money. They will be competing for $500,000 in the pro division and $50,000 in the co-angler division. The event expo and weigh-ins take place at the Hot Springs Convention Center and Bank of the Ozarks Arena in downtown Hot Springs.
The large-scale tournament, which is hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, has been in the city two other times: once in 2007 and again in 2011. In 2007, Scott Suggs of Bryant made professional fishing history winning the first $1 million first-place cash prize. In 2011 Scott Martin of Florida won the tournament. Martin, who recently won the FLW Tour Angler of the Year award, is making a return to the tournament this year. Takeoffs are set to take place at 7 a.m. Thursday-Sunday from Brady Mountain Resort and Marina. Weigh-ins will be televised on those days at 5 p.m. at the Bank of the Ozarks Arena.
Along with the tournament, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, an FLW Expo will be held at the Hot Springs Convention Center August 21-23 from 10 a.m to 4:30 p.m. Onsite will be hundreds of exhibitors selling tackle and gear, special rod and reel giveaways, and seminars by pro anglers such as Jimmy Houston and Hank Parker. There will also be a Bass and BBQ competition outside the Hot Springs Convention Center as part of the expo. The 30-team BBQ competition is sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society and visitors have a chance to taste the goods from the competition.
On August 23, Arkansas native and country musician Justin Moore, who received the Academy of Country Music New Artist of the Year award, performs a free concert on the Walmart weigh-in stage at the Bank of the Ozarks Arena starting at 4 p.m. The concert takes place before the final weigh-in of the tournament.
Along with the Forrest Wood Cup, another championship fishing event will take place in town during this timespan too. The Bass Federation is hosting its Junior World Championships on Lake Hamilton August 20-22.
The championship events are set to make an impression on Hot Springs.
“There is an impressive immediate economic impact of hundreds of competitors, their families and FLW staff using our lodging and dining attractions for the duration of the championship,” said Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs. “There is another economic impact brought on by the fishing, music and barbecue fans who flock in by the thousands for the daily weigh-ins, the Bass and BBQ competition, the free Justin Moore concert and the huge fishing expo that accompanies the actual fishing competition. The Junior Championship for young fishing competitors and their families adds to each of the other impacts. And Hot Springs reaps millions of dollars in positive national publicity for our city, its attractions, our lakes and the great fishing to be found on them.”
FLW Outdoors, named after Forrest L. Wood, the founder of Ranger Boats, is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world. For more details on the Forrest Wood Cup visit FLWFishing.com or HotSprings.org. For more details on fishing in Arkansas, visit www.Arkansas.com/outdoors/