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You Could Win $100,000 if You Catch This Smallmouth Bass!
Here are Premier Angler, we often joke that fishing is expensive.
Those three words have probably been written more than any other combination since the site’s inception. And for good reason.
Of the roughly 46 million Americans who purchase a fishing license each year, the overwhelming majority spend far more money on fishing than they make from fishing. Aside from high-level tournament anglers, fishing guides, and industry-related business owners, most anglers are well into the “red” each year.
For one lucky angler, however, an exciting-but-unlike opportunity to make some serious money sits on the horizon!
Enter Ol’ Walter 2.0: The Money Fish!
Yes, you read the title of this article correctly.
Watson Marine, a boat, motor, and tackle shop based in Bluff City, Tennessee, is offering a whopping six-figure prize to any angler who can legally catch a tagged smallmouth named Ol’ Walter 2.0.
While the fish’s name might be silly, the chance to take home one hundred thousand dollars is very serious!
Ol’ Walter, which will be released into South Holston Lake, will likely be the single most prized freshwater fish in the world for a very short window.
That window remains open between 12:01 a.m. on June 12, 2021, and closes firmly just shy of 48 hours later (at 11:59 p.m. on June 13, 2021).
To ensure Ol’ Walter 2.0 is not caught before the contest begins, he will be released into South Holston roughly one day before the event begins at an undisclosed location.
Where he goes from there will be anybody’s guess.
What are the Chances of Anyone Actually Winning the Prize Money?
While the contest is open to any angler who can legally catch Ol’ Walter 2.0 (using rod and reel with either live or artificial bait), the chances are remarkably slim.
And that has nothing to do with a lack of enthusiasm or expertise on the water. While the biggest “number” of the weekend is that sweet $100,000 prize, there are plenty of other numbers that need to be considered.
South Holston Lake is located between Abingdon, Virginia, and the cities of Bristol, Virginia, and Bristol, Tennessee. While estimates have not be published, the lake is bound to draw anglers from across the Tri-Cities and the region. As word spreads, the lake could attract dozens (if not hundreds) of anglers looking to gamble on the slim chance of pulling in the money fish.
At 7,580 acres, however, there is probably a better chance of an angler winning the lottery that weekend than pulling in the tagged smallmouth from South Holston.
What Happens if Nobody Wins?
The most likely scenario, then, is that Ol’ Walter 2.0 swims free and evades anglers over the weekend.
Assuming nobody happens to strike lightening and fish the right technique at the right time, the contest will simply end and no one will walk away with the prize money.
And if somebody does happen to catch Walter? Well, barring a significant catch (like a new world record largemouth bass), it will assuredly be the biggest fishing news story of the month.
What To Know if You Plan on Entering the Contest
If you happen to be in the Tri-City area and want to try your luck (or happen to be crazy enough to travel to South Holston on what will assuredly be a jam-packed lake), here’s what you need to know:
- No Entry Fee or Registration: There is no formal process for entering this contest.
- Be Mindful of Fishing Licenses: Saturday, June 12th is a “free fishing day,” meaning both residents and non-residents of Tennessee will not need a valid fishing license to participate in the event (or fishing anywhere else on public waters in the state). If you are planning to fish on Sunday, June 13, however, you will need to have the proper license.
- Live or Artificial Baits are Fine: So long as Ol’ Walter 2.0 is caught legally via rod-and-reel, the type of bait you use is irrelevant.
- An Ol’ Walter Hotline Will Be Available: Watson’s Marine will post a 24-hour hotline prior to the start of the event. If an angler catches the tagged fish, they will call the number to confirm the catch.
- Ol’ Walter Must be Presented Alive: Now, here’s the catch (pun intended). To be eligible for the $100,000 prize, an angler must be shown to management at Watson Marine to qualify.
Are Promotional Events Like This Good for Fishing?
While plenty of folks seem excited about the prospect of fishing for Ol’ Walter, many are meeting the event with skepticism.
Some naysayers are worried about the potential fishing pressure an event like this might bring to South Holston.
Others are questioning the validity of the event in general. Several have demanded to see actual photos of a tagged Walter before the June 12th start date.
On the other hand, however, many realize this event will bring tens of thousands of dollars to local businesses over the weekend.
While the jury will likely be split on this event, we hope someone is able to bring home the bank by catching the fish of a lifetime!