UPCOMING EVENT: Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Okeechobee

5 Early Cup Story Lines

After being disqualified from the season opener on Okeechobee, Chevy pro Anthony Gagliardi rallied to qualify for the Forrest Wood Cup held on Lake Murray - his home lake - this August.

In just six weeks, 45 of the best anglers will be competing for the top prize in professional bass fishing at the Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart and hosted by Capital City/Lake Murray Country. Now that the roster has been set for the 18th edition of the Cup, which will be held Aug. 14-17 in Columbia, S.C., focus can be turned toward the emerging story lines that have begun to unfold.

To review the list of anglers fishing in the 2014 Forrest Wood Cup, click here.

Here are five story lines to take note of as the countdown to the Cup rolls on.

1. Gagliardi gets in

Before the 2014 season even started, Anthony Gagliardi was one of the most heavily favored pros to win the Cup on Lake Murray – and with good reason. The Chevy pro lives on the lake, and you can’t get much more local than that. After being disqualified from the season-opener on Okeechobee, the Prosperity, S.C., resident's odds of making an appearance on Murray looked bleak. Yet he battled through the season and managed to punch his ticket to his 10th Cup. The biggest factor for Gagliardi is practice time and sheer knowledge of the lake. He will be able to log the most time, keeping up with how the lake changes over the next month and how the fish react. The competitive fire was lit within Gagliardi this year, and it’s safe to say that the fire burns even hotter for him to place his hands on the Cup trophy at his home lake.

2. Five previous champions will fish

 

A quick glance at the roster for the Forrest Wood Cup shows that it's a bit light on the side of previous Forrest Wood Cup champions. This year only five returning champions – David Dudley (2003), Brent Ehrler (2006), Scott Martin (2011), Jacob Wheeler (2012) and Randall Tharp (2013) – will have the opportunity to make a run at becoming the first-ever two-time Cup champion. To be honest, there is a very good chance we could see that happen this year. All five are phenomenal when it comes to adapting to the conditions and tackling shallow water – something that will play a vital role in the Cup. Each has fished strong this year, and when they get momentum going they are like wolves on the hunt. Out of the group, Dudley lives the closest to Murray, so that could lead to increased practice before the lake goes off limits. However, these guys are the best of the best, and they excel at figuring out a lake in a short period of time.

3. The Carolina crew totals four

Aside from Gagliardi, Casey Ashley from just down the road in Donalds, S.C., would have to be considered the other major local favorite. Ashley not only understands how bass move when feeding on blueback herring, but he also knows how to extract bass from deep water. Both patterns will factor in on Lake Murray this August. Ashley also won a B.A.S.S. event on Murray back in 2011. A copule of other “locals” to consider in this tournament would be Matt Arey and Bryan Thrift, both of Shelby, N.C., which is about 75 miles from Murray. Both Tar Heels have experience on Murray and are masters at fishing docks – a likely pattern to play at the Cup. You can bet that each of these pros will be putting some serious time in before the lake goes off limits at the end of July.

4. Shallow-water patterns at play

It’s no surprise that unlocking the mystery of catching bass that feed on blueback herring will be the focus of a lot of the anglers. But looking back at the last Forrest Wood Cup held on Murray, you will find that a majority of the top anglers – including winner Michael Bennett – fished shallow. Probing the shallow grass and wood cover around the Saluda River – the primary inflow for Murray – is a much stronger option for consistency versus chasing nomadic largemouths on the lake's lower end. The many docks that line the shore of Murray also offer great options for finding hungry largemouths. Several local anglers – including Gagliardi – say that the shallow bite in August can be one of the best things going. The shallow-water aspect will also give anglers the option of bagging a quick limit before they go hunting for a blueback-fed kicker fish. When it is all said and done, don’t be surprised to see a shallow pattern have a role in how the Cup is won.

5. 15 first-timers to fish

Fifteen pros will make their Forrest Wood Cup debuts in Columbia. That means that one-third of the field is new to the pressures of fishing for $500,000. It's understandable that several Cup rookies have never fished the championship before, such as the FLW College Fishing champion, BFL All-American winner, The Bass Federation national champion and AOYs from each Rayovac FLW Series division – minus Dan Morehead. But that means a sizable group of anglers qualified for their first Cup via the Walmart FLW Tour. The newbies will be tasked with trying to figure out a lake that many of them have never even seen before. But don’t make any assumptions just yet. This crew of “new guys” contains some very qualified deep-water specialists, as well as some shallow-water studs. The Forrest Wood Cup is the perfect stage to launch a career in the sport, and many of the anglers in this crowd are hoping to take full advantage of the opportunity.

Tags: kyle-wood  article 

/tips/2016-07-23-1000-islands-day-3-midday-update

1000 Islands Day 3 Midday Update

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-22-1000-islands-midday-update-day-2

1000 Islands Midday Update Day 2

Day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands got started on a slightly different note this morning when FLW’s tournament directors declared Lake Ontario off limits due to hazardous conditions. The change threw a few of the top pros off their primary plans, but regardless the 137-boat field will be cut down to the top 10 after today, so adjustments need to be made in order to qualify to fish the weekend. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-19-flw-podcast-126-icast

FLW Podcast 126 - ICAST

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-14-2017-walmart-flw-tour-schedule

2017 Walmart FLW Tour Schedule

In what has become an annual tradition at FLW, the 2017 Walmart FLW Tour schedule was announced at a press conference and industry gathering held Thursday on the show floor at ICAST in Orlando, Fla. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-12-si-se-puede-yes-we-can

Si Se Puede ... Yes We Can

Mexico’s Lake Zimapan is different in many ways from the lakes to the north such as Florida’s Lake Okeechobee and California’s Clear Lake, but one element it has in common with those famous fisheries is big bass. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-11-5-rookie-lessons-learned

5 Rookie Lessons Learned

People have asked me what my first year on the Walmart FLW Tour was like. Well, it was like running headfirst into a hurricane for a few months. I came out the other side a little battered, bruised and smelling like fish. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-11-flw-podcast-125-scott-martin

FLW Podcast 125 - Scott Martin

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-08-review-lew-s-custom-speed-stick-lite

Review: Lew’s Custom Speed Stick Lite

Recently I had the opportunity to try one model in particular – the 7-foot, 4-inch Magnum Pitchin’ rod. After fishing with it several times, I’ve concluded that it performs as advertised, is sensitive and lightweight, and is well worth the money. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-08-reunited-and-it-feels-so-good

Reunited, and it Feels so Good

This year I really had a reunion with finesse fishing. Most of my better tournaments came from fishing some type of finesse presentation. Finesse tactics seemed to always give me a certain confidence about the day. While finesse tactics are nothing new to the game of bass fishing, this year I regained the confidence and joy of catching bass on smaller offerings. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-08-2016-icast-preview

2016 ICAST Preview

The doors to ICAST don’t open until next week, when everyone gets out on the showroom floor in Orlando, Fla., but there are already plenty of snippets of information available. FLW’s media crew will be there in full force to bring you coverage of the hottest new products, as well as the annual New Product Showcase awards. For now, take a gander at some of the early birds. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-07-flw-canada-kicks-off-at-tri-lakes

FLW Canada Kicks Off at Tri-Lakes

Among these Canadian all-stars was the eventual winning team of Chris Vandermeer of Peterborough and Jeff Slute of Millbrook. Capitalizing on a strong day one shallow-water smallmouth pattern, the duo took advantage of the slick-calm conditions using a silver-hued topwater popping plug to agitate the lake’s bronzebacks into attack. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-30-flw-tour-pro-cooksey-recovering-after-accident

FLW Tour Pro Cooksey Recovering After Accident

Walmart FLW Tour sophomore Dalton Cooksey of New Concord, Ky., is recovering at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Tennessee following a single-car accident that took place Wednesday afternoon. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-30-flw-podcast-124-jeremy-lawyer

FLW Podcast 124 - Jeremy Lawyer

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-29-stetson-blaylock-s-recipe-for-a-wacky-rig

Stetson Blaylock’s Recipe for a Wacky Rig

From March until the end of the fishing season I’m going to have a wacky rig on deck. It’s a really effective way to fish anytime the fishing is tough, or if the fish are up cruising banks. Anytime fish are about 5 feet deep or less, I can catch them on the wacky rig. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-28-morgan-claims-third-flw-tour-angler-of-the-year-title

Morgan Claims third FLW Tour Angler of the Year Title

MINNEAPOLIS – Livingston Lures pro Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tennessee, added to his incredible fishing resume by winning his third Walmart FLW Tour Angler of the Year title Saturday at the FLW Tour's final 2016 regular-season event on Lake Champlain.... READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-24-three-things-by-dd-kentucky-lake

Three Things by DD: Kentucky Lake

Kentucky Lake did not go the way I intended. I was pumped and ready to rock out a top-20 finish. I had great expectations of myself, but nothing seemed to come together. Practice was dicey, but I thought for sure I could put something together to make the cut. That was until day one came, and the whole vibe of my day instantly went from eager to agitated. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-23-how-to-catch-smallmouths-with-hair-jigs

How to Catch Smallmouths with Hair Jigs

The “right” hair jig for smallmouths is a small 1/16- to 1/8-ounce marabou jig with a round or mushroom-shaped head. The jig is similar to marabou jigs used by crappie fishermen, but bass models will often have a larger, stronger hook and possibly a longer or thicker skirt. Naturally, anglers have their favorites, and there are subtle differences in jigs that make some better than others. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-22-two-exciting-events-to-look-forward-to

Two Exciting Events to Look Forward To

We are in the last stretch of the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour. Awaiting us is the Lake Champlain tournament in just a few days. A couple of things will be settled there: the pro field for the Forrest Wood Cup and the Angler of the Year. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-21-tagging-along-with-sprague-in-kentucky

Tagging Along with Sprague in Kentucky

Through the first four events of the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour season, Jeff Sprague finished inside the top 20 every time and challenged for the win at Beaver Lake. After stop No. 4 on Pickwick, Sprague took over the lead in the Angler of the Year race. This is the story of his first tournament as the AOY leader – stop No. 5 on Kentucky Lake. Currently, Sprague is preparing for the finale on Lake Champlain. He’s in second place in the AOY standings. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-19-waunakee-hs-wins-wi-title

Waunakee HS Wins WI Title

The Waunakee High School duo of Colin Steck and Nathan Lorenz brought a five-bass limit to the scale Sunday weighing 13 pounds, 3 ounces, to win the 2016 TBF/FLW High School Fishing Wisconsin State Championship on the Minocqua Chain of Lakes. The win earned the team trophies, the title of state champions and advanced the team to the High School Fishing Central Conference championship on the Ohio River in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, on September 23-24. READ MORE »