PREMIER TOURNAMENT: Bill Dance Mississippi River Monsters Mega Bucs Pro Series comes to Vicksburg
Published 3:11 pm Thursday, July 27, 2023
Vicksburg has reeled in a big one.
The River City is set to host one of the premier fishing tournaments in the South: the Bill Dance Mississippi River Monsters Mega Bucs Pro Series. The tournament, scheduled to run from Aug. 4 through 6, has also become the catalyst for the Vicksburg Catfish Crawl, an event that will run in conjunction with the fishing tournament.
The fishing tournament will kick off on Aug. 5 with an optional two-day elimination event. Anglers will be vying for the $120,000 purse with a first prize of $50,000.
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Record-breaking weigh-ins are expected and the public is invited to witness what could be an unprecedented catfish catch inside the Vicksburg Convention Center.
“We are extremely excited and ecstatic and overjoyed because never in the history of a catfish tournament has the weigh-in happened indoors where the boats come in,” VCC Executive Director Erin Southard said.
Other classes of fishing tournaments have offered indoor weigh-ins, Southard added, but Vicksburg will be the first to do so for a catfish tournament. The weigh-ins will take place inside the VCC exhibit hall, which has two roll-up doors where anglers can enter from the Pearl Street side of the VCC and exit on South Street.
With the Bill Dance Mississippi River Monsters Mega Bucs Pro Series being a catch-and-release tournament, Southard said the anglers will drive up to the stage, bring out their fish to be weighed and as they exit, they will stop at a tank and put the fish inside.
“There is going to be a huge tank outside where those fish go back,” Southard said, which will also allow spectators an opportunity to check out the catches.
A second tank will be on hand, she said, which will allow for rotation.
“When one (tank) fills up, they’ll take it and dump it,” she said, and while the catfish from one tank are being dumped, a second tank will be in its place at the VCC. “They’ll just keep rotating.”
During the tournament, vendor booths will be set up at the VCC and John Godwin of the TV show “Duck Dynasty” will be on hand signing autographs.
Bill Dance is also scheduled to attend.
In addition to the fishing tournament, activities are also planned for Vicksburg’s first-ever Catfish Crawl. Events will include the Vicksburg Restaurant Challenge where more than 10 local eateries will be vying for the best catfish recipe.
The Catfish Crawl will also include home tours, live music and shopping.
Many of the activities included in the Catfish Crawl were already scheduled, but the event allows local business owners and volunteers to come together under one umbrella to support the tournament.
“This is just a way to highlight all the different offerings Vicksburg has and get people to stay two or three or four days and experience everything Vicksburg has to offer,” Oak Hall Bed and Breakfast owner and Catfish Crawl proponent Elizabeth Nelson said.