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Photo courtesy of Simmons Bank Big Bass Bonanza sponsor, LIVETARGET
Simmons Bank Big Bass Bonanza Returns for 30th Year
$50,000 prize of a single bass has angler ready for a Fall fishing fiesta.
NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (October 1, 2019) — Trey Reid was on the banks of the Arkansas River three decades ago, when the first weigh-ins for the now named Simmons Bank Big Bass Bonanza were taking place. In 1989, the tournament—one of the largest amateur bass fishing events in the world by prize money—was in its infancy. With only two pools to fish, anglers were confined to the waters near Pine Bluff and Dumas in their quest to weigh the biggest fish and take home a prizes that guaranteed $100,000 in prize money today. Now, virtually the entire state is the playing field.
“It was big then,” Reid, now the Communications Director for Arkansas Game and Fish, says. “But the tournament is even bigger now. Now, you can fish the entire length of the river, but the action is still the same—it’s one fish for a whole lot of money.”
Photo courtesy of Simmons Bank Big Bass Bonanza sponsor, St. Croix Rod
Tournament organizers are ready to go after the Simmons Bank Big Bass Bonanza was rescheduled from its original date in June due to massive flooding on the Arkansas River. And while repeat anglers missed out on their annual mid-summer derby, Reid says the new date could be a blessing in disguise.
“I know some folks were likely disappointed that they couldn’t fish the tournament in June, but I’m not one of them. I think the fishing is going to be even better in October. Fish in June are coming out of post spawn, and going into a more lethargic time of year for them. In October, they are going to be feeding and trying to get fat for a long winter. Add to that, the river has been fishing phenomenally since the floods, and it has had very little pressure for fishermen since then.”
Fish Monkey is one of many Youth Division product sponsors
Arkansas Hospitality Association CEO Montine McNulty echoes Reid’s opinion, adding that tournament organizers have put special attention towards recruiting youth anglers who represent the future of bass fishing in the state. “One of the most important aspects of this year’s tournament is inviting young people to be a part of it. We have created a new youth division that has special prizes for young people. They can compete for regular cash prizes, too. But the goal is to get more young people fishing in Arkansas. It’s a great tournament, and we invite everyone to participate in the 2019 Simmons Bank Big Bass Bonanza.”
Last year’s event was won by Camden native Billy Holeman, Jr. who took home the $50,000 grand prize for a 6.03lb bass in the opening hours of Day One competition. Holeman, Jr. says that fish came off of the end of a dock, where it bit a Texas-rigged worm.
$100 Bass Pro Shops Gift Cards
And while Holeman, Jr, a FedEx Freight driver by day, took home the grand prize, four other winners took home guaranteed $10,000 each for the biggest bass at each of the remaining pools.
This year, organizers say more than $100,000 in earnings is once again up for grabs, as anglers can also earn cash prizes each hour for the biggest fish weighed at each pool every hour.
“Go ahead and register now,” urges Reid. “I think your chances are going to be better than ever to get big money for that big fish. October could be a blessing, because your chances to win the Simmons Bank Big Bass Bonanza are better than ever.”
Z-Man is one of many Youth Division product sponsors
Entry fees are $80 per angler. Registration is now open at ArkansasBigBass.com.
Stay up-to-date with the latest news and notes from the Simmons Bank Big Bass Bonanza via the tournament’s Facebook page. This year’s pool locations are at Fort Smith, Russellville, Pine Bluff, Little Rock, and Dumas. Anglers looking for lake maps can visit ArkansasBigBass.com for free Navionics charts of each pool that are viewable on mobile devices.
Major sponsors of the tournament are Simmons Bank, Arkansas Game & Fish Commission and Hardee’s Saddle Peak and Rock City Yacht Club. Other sponsors include Aqua-Vu, Raymarine, St. Croix Rod, Gill, Fish Monkey, Z-Man Fishing, LIVETARGET Lures, Flambeau Outdoors, FishBomb, Sunsect, Heart of Arkansas, North Little Rock Visitors Bureau, Pine Bluff Convention & Visitors Bureau, and Russellville Advertising & Promotions.
For more information on the tournament and for registration visit www.arkansasbigbass.com.
Gill Fishing is one of many Youth Division product sponsors
Simmons Bank is proudly sponsoring the tournament for the fourth consecutive year.