UPCOMING EVENT: Walmart Bass Fishing League - 2015 - Lake Sinclair

The Forrest Wood Cup will Sport a Tennessee Twang

After a night of severe storms and heavy rain, the Florence, Ala., area awoke this morning to a beautiful, mild scene on the shores of the Tennessee River.

What was it about the schedule of the Walmart FLW Tour that favored Tennessee pros in 2014?

The question seems relevant, considering that eight anglers from the Volunteer State won passage to the Forrest Wood Cup next week on Lake Murray. Alabama, that hotbed of bass fishing, is sending five pros to the championship, and Arkansas and Texas will have four each there, but the rest of the field is representative of several states. 

So why did fortune favor Tennesseans Andy Morgan, Jason Lambert, Charlie Ingram, Brad Knight, Michael Neal, Wesley Strader and Michael Wooley? Being able to fish a pair of Tennessee River impoundments in the homestretch at Pickwick and Kentucky lakes was a critical factor for some of them – though not all.

Even if an angler’s Tennessee River home lake didn’t appear on the schedule, the impoundments along it – from Fort Loudoun Reservoir to Kentucky Lake – fish similarly, and they set up well for the fishing approaches typical of the chain. Consider that Cup qualifiers Scott Canterbury, Matt Herren, Richard Peek and Barry Wilson honed their skills on the venerated Tennessee River lakes of Alabama.

Likewise, Tennessee pros no doubt feel more comfortable when Tennessee River water is flowing beneath their boats, whether on the eastern or western impoundments. In deference to Morgan, Neal, Strader and Knight, however, that quartet already was fairly well ensconced in the 2014 Forrest Wood Cup by the time the last two tournaments of the season came along. Morgan had claimed the top spot in the Angler of the Year standings by then (he actually pre-qualified last season by winning the 2013 AOY), and never relinquished it. The other three hit their full stride early and never strayed out of the top 25. After climbing to 29th in the standings at Beaver Lake, however, Ingram stumbled badly at Pickwick with a 94th-place showing and fell from 29th to 44th place in AOY. Needing a pick-me-up at Kentucky Lake, the seasoned pro got it with an 18th-place finish that propelled him into the Cup at 31st on the roster.

No secret – Wooley, Lambert and Haynes are deep-water specialists, and they needed help from Pickwick and Kentucky lakes to seal their bids for Forrest Wood Cup invitations. Wooley was 67th after Beaver Lake, and Lambert and Haynes were 63rd and 70th, respectively. But then came Pickwick, and Wooley went to 38th, Lambert rose to 35th and Haynes got closer to qualification by moving into the 48th spot.

In the season-finale on Kentucky Lake, Lambert was runner-up and sealed up the Walmart FLW Tour Rookie of the Year title, Haynes was fourth and Wooley came in 28th. The Tennessee trio locked up Cup bids with AOY placements of 21st for Lambert, 28th for Haynes and 30th for Wooley.

“Pickwick and Kentucky helped give some of us home-field advantage – no doubt. But at this level that’s not necessarily going to be good enough,” says Wooley, of Collierville, Tenn. “Greg Hackney [a Louisiana pro] won at Pickwick, and that guy from Michigan [Skip Johnson] won at Kentucky Lake. Nothing’s a slam dunk when you’re fishing against these guys, no matter where you’re fishing.”

Ironically, it was the first tournament of the Walmart FLW Tour season on Lake Okeechobee that gave Wooley perhaps his most important boost. Granted, it wasn’t unexpected when he finished seventh at Pickwick and 28th at Kentucky Lake, but placing 29th at Okeechobee was a surprise to him.

“I’ve never done any good at Okeechobee before. That was the one tournament I really wasn’t looking forward to,” says Wooley. “Then I went down there for pre-practice and got on a little something. I was in sixth place on the first day and lost my bite, but I managed a good finish. Otherwise, I was 66th at Hartwell and had two 98s at [Sam] Rayburn and Beaver, so Okeechobee was huge for me. I guess it just goes to show that every tournament is important when you’re trying to qualify for the Forrest Wood Cup.”

Check out the map below to see where other Forrest Wood Cup qualifiers hail from:

Home locations of the Forrest Wood Cup competitors.

Tags: article 


Watch Episode Two of FLW Tonight

Episode two of the 2015 “FLW” TV seas is set to premier tonight. After last week’s exciting battle on Lake Toho, the Walmart FLW Tour moves on to Lewis Smith Lake and spawning largemouths and big spotted bass. Be sure to tune in to NBC Sports at 7 p.m. ET tonight to watch Dave Lefebre take home the win. READ MORE »


2015 BFL Postseason Begins

All of the 2015 regular-season events have concluded, including the two-day Super Tournaments. Season-long point standings are now final. That means 24 divisional Anglers of the Year have earned their $1,000 AOY awards, and their Co-angler of the Year counterparts have earned $500 apiece. But more importantly, the fields have been set for FLW’s marathon run of BFL Regional Championships. READ MORE »


Inaugural FLW Canada Tournament

It’s official: FLW Canada is the first organization to hold a tournament under the auspices of the new FLW international partnership. FLW Canada held its inaugural event, which also was its championship tournament, Sept. 18-20 on Big Rideau Lake near Smith Falls, Ontario. READ MORE »


Four Fall Crankbait Patterns

There’s almost always a crankbait bite somewhere, but crankbaits truly shine in the fall as bass are loading up on baitfish. We talked with a few different pros and got them on record about their favorite crankbait tactic for hoodie season. READ MORE »


McDonald Family Battles Breast Cancer

Candy and Billy, the Walmart FLW Tour pro, found out Candy had breast cancer in July, between the final Tour event on the Potomac and the day they left for the ICAST fishing tackle show in Orlando. READ MORE »


East Hall Wins on Lake Lanier

The winning East Hall High duo said that they concentrated on fishing blowdowns for the majority of the day with a green-pumpkin Reaction Innovations Flirt Worm rigged on a shaky head to catch the majority of their fish. READ MORE »


Bass Fishing 101: Choose the Right Jig

The basic jig is one of the most versatile baits that a bass angler can have in their arsenal. It can be fished just about any way, in any depth, and around most types of cover and structure. READ MORE »


FLW TV Season Starts Today

All-new episodes of the FLW television program begin today on NBC Sports at 7 p.m. ET with the season-opener at Lake Toho. New hour-long episodes are scheduled to run every Monday at 7 p.m. ET between now and Dec. 7. READ MORE »


BFL Wild Card Venue, Date Set

FLW announced Sunday that the 2015 BFL Wild Card tournament will take place on Lake Hartwell on November 13-14. The event will launch from Clemson Marina, located at 150 Clemson Marina Drive in Seneca, South Carolina. READ MORE »


Poppers for Matted Grass

Poppers might be a bit old school, but they’re still great tools for calling up bass from around matted grass when the fish aren’t buried so deep in the green that you need to flip or frog to get them out. They are especially good this time of year when bass are roaming the edges of grass and hunting for schools of bait that are pushing shallow. READ MORE »


North Brandford HS Wins Northern Conference

The winning duo from North Branford High School said that they caught the majority of their fish on a drop-shot rig and a jig. Other teams reported catching their fish on spinnerbaits and topwater baits. Seven of the 12 teams brought five-bass limits to the scale. READ MORE »


Ranger’s Biggest, Baddest Bass Boat Yet

Inspired by Ranger’s successful Fisherman Series deep-V boats, which are favored by the best walleye anglers on the planet for rough-water fishing, the Z522D is designed to turn back the worst waves that bass anglers will encounter. This 4X4 ability is accomplished with a lengthy 22-foot, 7-inch-long deep-V hull with a 102-inch-wide beam. With size comes power, thanks to 300-hp motor rating. READ MORE »


2016 Rayovac FLW Series Schedule

FLW announced today the 2016 Rayovac FLW Series schedule, which will consist of three events in each of the five divisions: Central, Northern, Southeastern, Southwestern and Western. The former Texas Division has been renamed the Southwestern Division and will feature stops in Oklahoma and Texas. READ MORE »


5 Autumn Patterns that are Hot Now

Want to cash in on autumn’s bass fishing bounty? Of course you do. But first, you need to consider that bass are in transition as temperatures fall and shad move, most often from deep to shallow. READ MORE »


Hawk Wins U.S. Open

Ranger Pro Roy Hawk capped off a great month for his family on Wednesday in the desert outside of Las Vegas. After competing in the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup, and watching his son Sunny win the co-angler title there, Hawk earned a win of his own in the 2015 WON Bass U.S. Open. READ MORE »


FLW TV Season Premieres This Month

All-new episodes of the FLW television program will be shown on the NBC Sports Network beginning Sept. 28. The Walmart FLW Tour season-opener won by JT Kenney at Lake Toho will kick off the series of hour-long episodes that are scheduled to run every Monday at 7 p.m. ET. Repeat showings are set for 3 p.m. ET every Friday. READ MORE »


Clear Lake Tournaments Moved Back

The Rayovac event, originally scheduled for Sept. 24-26, will instead take place Oct. 15-17 out of Konocti Vita Casino Resort & Marina in Lakeport. The tournament will be held in conjunction with the FLW College Fishing Western Conference Championship Oct. 17-18, which was originally scheduled for Clear Lake Sept. 26-27. Likewise, the High School Fishing Western Conference Championship on Clear Lake has been moved to Oct. 18. READ MORE »


Top 10 OTW Photos from the Cup

The Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita was a prime chance to capture some great moments on the water. Not only was the competition fierce, but Ouachita is naturally gorgeous and the weather and anglers mixed it up every day. With a full team of reporters and photographers on the water, we got the goods. The following 10 photos are some of the best from the week on the water. READ MORE »


Birge’s Post-Tournament Freeze

During cryotherapy, light cotton gloves, socks with slippers and an undergarment protect the patient’s extremities from possible frostbite. And even though the process rapidly lowers the patient’s surface skin temperature to about 30 degrees, it will not freeze skin tissues because exposure time in the chamber is limited. READ MORE »


#NoogaStrong Tournament Approaches

The tournament will commence the morning of Sept. 12 at the Dayton Boat Dock. The entry fee is $100 per two-person team, and $75 for active-duty members of the military, as well as veterans, law enforcement officials, EMTs and firefighters. READ MORE »