$5,000 catfish is landed in 2014 Hot Springs Fishing Challenge

A catfish worth $5,000 was landed last week on Lake Hamilton, the biggest prize awarded in the three years of the Hot Springs Fishing Challenge.  

On the evening of May 19, just as the sun was setting, retired Hot Springs High School teacher Jimmy Schultz was sitting on his dock across the street from his house. Schultz felt a familiar tug on his line, and knew immediately that he had a catfish on the hook. He hoped it was the same one that his grandson almost landed a week earlier, but the fish got off the hook.

Schultz said he cast his bait back at the same spot, and before he knew it he had another bite and it was a catfish. Schultz reeled the fish in and discovered a yellow tag with the number 44. That tag earned Schultz $5,000, the biggest payout so far in the three-year history of the Hot Springs Fishing Challenge.

The $5,000 catfish was the seventh fish caught in this year’s contest, making it $9,500 paid out in prize money thus far. There are still 54 fish worth $65,500 waiting to be caught in Lakes Hamilton and Catherine, including Big Al, the $10,000 top-prize fish.

The Fishing Challenge ends at 5 p.m. July 31.

The prize for catching Big Al, the top-money fish, is $10,000, Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs said. “The Fishing Challenge has proved to be so popular with Hot Springs residents as well as with our visitors that we thought it was time to ramp up the number of potential winning fish and the prize money,” Arrison said. “Judging from the responses we got during the first two Fishing Challenges, we view the contest as a real source of positive attention to the great fishing available in Hot Springs.

“Once again, we are partnering with our friends at the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and the Andrew Hulsey State Fish Hatchery to bring this fun-filled contest to the people of Arkansas and our visitors. Without them we could not possibly stage the Challenge.”

The total number of tagged prize fish remaining in Lakes Hamilton and Catherine includes:

1 fish, known as Big Al — $10,000
3 fish — $5,000 each
32 fish — $1,000 each
17 fish — $500 each

For additional information call Steve Arrison at 501.321.2027.