Forrest Wood Cup to return to Hot Springs in '18

The Forrest Wood Cup will return to Hot Springs next year.

Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) announced today at the Forrest Wood Cup in Columbia, S.C., that it will hold the 2018 Forrest Wood Cup on Aug. 10-12 at Lake Ouachita in partnership with Visit Hot Springs and the state of Arkansas.

The Forrest Wood Cup is the championship event for the FLW. It features the top anglers from the FLW Tour, FLW Tour Invitational series, FLW Costa Series, the Bass Fishing League (BFL) champion and The Bass Federation champion.

This will be the fifth time Hot Springs has hosted the Forrest Wood Cup. The first was in 2005, when George Cochran of Hot Springs won $500,000 at Lake Hamilton.

Scott Suggs of Bryant won the 2007 Forrest Wood Cup at Lake Ouachita, where he became the first angler to win $1 million in a fishing tournament. Michael Bennett was the second, at the 2008 event at Columbia, S.C. That was also the tournament where a local angler interfered with Mark Rose of West Memphis, who was in contention to win up to that point.

Scott Martin of Clewiston, Fla., son of the legendary Roland Martin, won the 2011 Cup at Lake Ouachita, and Brad Knight of Lancing, Tenn., won the 2015 Cup.

Knight employed a curiously ingenious technique to win that very tough tournament. He fished a drop shot rig away from the bank in heavy traffic in a spot that was heavily silted. He figured out how deep his weight would sink into the mud and tied his dropper line at a level that would hover a few inches above the muck.

Steve Arrison, chief executive officer of Visit Hot Springs, is pleased that the Spa City landed such a prime catch again.

"Our whole city is excited by the fact that FLW has chosen Hot Springs for the fifth time as the host for the Forrest Wood Cup," Arrison said. "Hot Springs has established a wonderful relationship with FLW and our audiences for the Cup and other FLW events have been large and enthusiastic. I know the 2018 Cup will find the same level of enthusiasm and warm hospitality that FLW has come to associate with the great fishing in Hot Springs."

Hot Springs and Columbia, S.C., are becoming de facto homes for the Cup. Lakes Ouachita and Murray, respectively, are worthy of national attention, but the cities are prominent bass fishing towns with ardent, knowledgeable bass fishing populations. The 2005 event at the Hot Springs Convention Center had one of the most electric atmospheres of any sporting event I've ever covered, and the 2007 event was nearly equal.

Kathy Fennel, FLW's president of operations, concurred.

"The Hot Springs community is extremely passionate about bass fishing, and the great attendance makes it the perfect destination for an exciting and memorable championship event," Fennel said. "We expect the 2018 Forrest Wood Cup to be our best yet."

Outdoor Hall of Fame

A sellout crowd celebrated the induction of four new members into the Arkansas Outdoor Hall of Fame on Friday at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock.

The Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation enshrined former Arkansas governor and U.S. Sen. David Pryor, Ross Whipple and Mark Karnes. The organization also bestowed its Legacy Award on the late former Lt. Gov. Winthrop Paul Rockefeller.

Along with the late U.S. Sen. Dale Bumpers, Pryor co-sponsored the Arkansas Wilderness Act that protects eight parcels totaling 95,000 acres in the Ozark and Ouachita national forests. He was also instrumental in passing the federal Wild and Scenic Rivers Act in 1992.

As chairman of the board of trustees for the Ross Foundation, Whipple has overseen the donation of millions of dollars in support of forestry research and conservation management. A large portion of Ross Foundation property comprises the Big Timber Wildlife Management Area, which is managed cooperatively with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

Rockefeller served on the national board for the Boy Scouts, but he was also the driving force behind the creation of The Nature Conservancy in Arkansas.

In addition, Rockefeller founded the International Billfish Conservation Foundation, and he spearheaded The National Rifle Association's Project ChildSafe in Arkansas, which distributed hundreds of free trigger locks to gun owners statewide.

Sports on 08/13/2017

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