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OPINION | ARKANSAS SPORTSMAN: All-American fishing returns to Hot Springs

by Bryan Hendricks | June 6, 2021 at 2:31 a.m.

Major League Fishing, the world's largest tournament-fishing organization, announced Thursday that it will hold the 39th annual Bass Fishing League All-American on Lake Hamilton on June 2-4, 2022.

The Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism and Visit Hot Springs will host the three-day championship for a record sixth time. Lake Hamilton hosted the All-American in 2000, 2001, 2004 and 2008, and on DeGray Lake in 2010.

The championship will deliver an estimated $1 million of economic impact to the region. That will be a powerful statement for Hot Springs and Arkansas to welcome professional fishing back to the post-covid sports scene.

The winner of the tournament, which will feature the best weekend anglers in Major League Fishing, will win $120,000 cash.

"Hot Springs loves pro fishing and bringing the tournament back to Lake Hamilton for the fifth time is a real testament to our city's ability to make the anglers feel welcome, while also providing the opportunity for them to have a great time on and off the water," said Steve Arrison, Visit Hot Springs chief executive officer. "Aside from the million-dollar economic impact that the All-American will bring to the city, the people of Hot Springs are simply great fans of the excitement that the event brings to town."

Kathy Fennel, executive vice president and general manager of Major League Fishing, has a long history of holding major bass tournaments in Arkansas. In the same position with Fishing League Worldwide, she was instrumental in bringing the Forrest Wood Cup to Hot Springs numerous times, as well as holding the Walmart Open on Beaver Lake for many years. Beaver Lake was the only regular stop for the FLW Tour.

"We are thrilled to bring the 2022 Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American back to Lake Hamilton," Fennel said. "We've had great success hosting tournaments in Hot Springs over the years, and the community excitement coupled with the competitive fishery has made bringing our All-American championship there an obvious choice."

As the nation's leading provider of affordable, close-to-home weekend tournaments, the Phoenix Bass Fishing League is widely credited with opening competitive bass fishing to the masses. It is also a stepping stone for anglers to advance to the Toyota Series, Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit and ultimately the Bass Pro Tour. Former All-American champions who currently compete on the Bass Pro Tour and the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit include Shaw Grigsby (1984), Stephen Browning of Hot Springs (1996), Troy Morrow (2010), Jacob Wheeler (2011), Kerry Milner (2013), Jeremy Lawyer (2016) and Nick LeBrun (2018).

The Phoenix Bass Fishing League contains 24 divisions that hold 128 tournaments annually for weekend anglers. Each division has five qualifying events. The top 45 boaters and co-anglers from each division, along with the five winners of the qualifying events, will advance to one of six regional tournaments. The top six finishers in each regional championship will advance to the All-American.

The complete schedule and rules for the 2022 Phoenix Bass Fishing League season will be announced in the fall. The full schedule and rules will be posted online at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

For complete details and updated information, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Phoenix Bass Fishing League on Major League Fishing's social media outlets at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

New snake boots

We're trying out a new snake boot for the 2021-22 hunting seasons -- the Northside Kamiak Ridge Waterproof, Snake Resistant Hunting Boot. We force ourselves to resist calling it the "Cammack Village" snake boot, but otherwise we are very impressed.

Its 17-inch high pipe is made of snake resistant, breathable denier nylon with Daybreak camo, my favorite autumn camo pattern. It also has molded toe and heel reinforcements and a steel shank midsole.

We have not yet tested its water tightness, but the boot is very comfortable. It also has a removable, washable, breathable insole.

The full-length side zipper makes it easy to get your foot in and out. Frankly, the ratcheting cable "laces" of the Irish Setter VapR Trek Snake Boot make the traditional laces of the Kamiak Ridge boot obsolete. However, the zipper eliminates having to fully unlace the Kamiak Ridge with each use.

MSRP is $125 at northsideusa.com.

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