June 21 Update:
Small Craft Advisory to be Lifted by Tournament Time
A small craft advisory issued in April is set to expire as the Simmons Bank Big Bass Bonanza gets underway this weekend. According to the latest flow information from the Army Corps of Engineers, Little Rock District, the advisory is expected to be lifted on Thursday, June 22, 2017 in the afternoon or evening, when flows at Pool 5 (Pendleton Bridge) in Dumas drop. The Corp projects the flow to be in the 60,000 (cfs) to 40,000 (cfs) range for the weekend. The flows at Van Buren are to be down to 42,000 and will keep the river flowing. Engineers say any rain that falls on the lower end of the Arkansas River will not add much to the flow during the tournament.
A weather front from Tropical Storm Cindy is currently tracking east and south of the majority of the tournament area, though officials say some rain is to be expected downstream of Little Rock through Friday. “The rain looks like it will be spaced out,” says Arkansas Hospitality Association Director of Special Events Jill Thiel. “If that continues, we will be in great shape. However, we urge you to always listen to your pool radio station for weather updates.”
Radio stations that will be providing coverage of the tournament weigh-in:
- Pool 1/Fort Smith: KTCS 99.9 FM
- Pool 2/Dardanelle/Russellville: KCJC 102.3 FM
- Pool 3/North Little Rock/Little Rock: KSSN 95.7FM or KMJX 105.1FM
- Pool 4/Pine Bluff: KXFE 106.9 FM or KDEW 97.3 FM or KAFN 102.5FM
- Pool 5/Dumas: KXFE 106.9 FM or KDEW 97.3 FM or KAFN 102.5FM
The Simmons Bank Big Bass Bonanza runs from Friday June 23 to Sunday June 25 and includes five pools along the Arkansas River from Fort Smith to Dumas.
The Simmons Bank Big Bass Bonanza of Arkansas, the state’s largest amateur fishing tournament, is set for June 23–25 with $100,000 in cash prizes and new incentives for high school anglers.
The popular three-day tournament spans about 300 miles of the Arkansas River, with pools and official check-in stations at Fort Smith, Dardanelle, Little Rock/North Little Rock, Pine Bluff and the Pendleton Bridge near Dumas. The Big Bass Bonanza is open to all ages. Last year, it attracted amateur anglers from around the country.
This year’s guaranteed cash prizes include $50,000 for the largest fish overall, $10,000 for the largest fish overall in each of the remaining four pools, and place money for overall winners per pool with $900 for second place, $700 for third and $400 for fourth.
Hourly prize money for first, second and third place will be the top priority after the guaranteed prizes are awarded. The hourly amounts will be determined by the number of tournament registrants, according to Montine McNulty, Arkansas Hospitality Association’s executive director. Also, if the hourly winners purchased and are wearing a Simmons Bank Big Bass Bonanza t-shirt and cap, they will receive an extra $100 in bonus money.
This year’s tournament has new incentives for high school anglers.
“All high school age anglers will be eligible to win some serious fishing gear,” said tournament director Jill Thiel. “Our sponsors really stepped up to give high school anglers a chance to not only fish for the $50,000 grand prize and the multiple hourly prizes for big fish, but also the chance to upgrade their gear while they’re at it.”
Anglers in grades 6th – 8th and 9th – 12th will have the chance to win one of multiple Raymarine Dragonfly 7-Pro Sonar/GPS fish finder units, Aqua-Vu Micro-II underwater cameras, Bass X fishing rods from St. Croix Rods, lure prize packs from LIVETARGET lures, BaitCloud fish attractant canisters, and a free Thickburgers every week for a year from Hardees, according to Thiel.
The tournament begins Friday, June 23 and runs through Sunday, June 25, with fishing starting each morning at 6. The first weigh-in is at 8 a.m., with subsequent weigh-ins at the top of each hour until 1 p.m. each day.
Entry is $80 per person each day, and the winners will be announced Sunday, June 25, at 4 p.m. at the awards event at the Riverfront RV park pavilion, North Little Rock.
For more information on tournament rules or to register for the Simmons Bank Big Bass Bonanza, go to arkansasbigbass.com.