With 10 days remaining in the 2013 $60,000 Hot Springs Fishing Challenge, Big Al II remains on the lam.

“The $10,000 grand prize fish remains uncaptured,” said Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs, the Challenge’s sponsor. “It looks like the big guy may elude all of our expert fishing pursuers again. Big Al I wasn’t caught in the 2012 Challenge, either.”

“It’s like this wily specimen is thumbing its nose at a whole lot of people who have been furiously trying to bring him in,” Arrison continued. “I can almost hear him saying, ‘They couldn’t catch any of the gangsters back in the ‘20s and ‘30s, and they can’t catch me.’ So I’m going to turn fink on Big Al and tell his pursuers how to land him and haul in $10,000 before the July 31 deadline when the Challenge ends.”

“Okay, here it is: Big Al II is a bluegill with tag number 254 and he’s somewhere in Lake Hamilton. That should narrow the search area. “And to even the odds still more, we asked Steve ‘Wildman’ Wilson of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission for some tips on how to catch a fugitive bluegill. Here’s what he told us.”

  • Bluegill usually congregate around vegetation and sunken trees of shallow backwater bays. In midsummer they may move to water that is a little deeper.
  • Fish for them using worms, crickets, mealworms, small jigs, spinners, and poppers.
  • Use live bait (crickets, worms, mealworms) under a bobber. The smaller the bobber, the better to detect bites.
  • Use any kind of rod and reel or even a cane pole, light line is best. Use long-shanked No. 8 hooks. They’re small enough to fit in the bluegill’s mouth, but the long shank makes it easy to remove the hook.
  • Don’t waste time watching your bobber. If a bluegill is there, it will hit in about 30 seconds. Move until you find the fish.
  • If you see an overhanging limb with webworms or mayflies crawling on it, fish underneath and get ready.
  • Morning and evening are the best times to fish.

The contest is open to anyone with a valid Arkansas fishing license. Employees of the Hot Springs Advertising and Promotion Commission, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission at the Andrew H. Hulsey Fish Hatchery, and their immediate family members, and/or those living in the same household of each are ineligible to win a cash prize.

The tagged fish that remain are:

Big Al $10,000
2 fish $5,000
22 fish $1,000
17 fish $500

For additional information call Steve Arrison at 501-321-2027.

Image courtesy Arkansas Game and Fish Commision

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