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 

/tips/2015-07-03-scott-canterbury-fireworks-fanatic

Scott Canterbury: Fireworks Fanatic

If you’re looking to put together an impressive Independence Day celebration this year, you might seek the consultative advice of Quaker State pro Scott Canterbury. He happens to be a professional when it comes to fireworks. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-30-martin-earns-first-aoy-title

Martin Earns First AOY Title

Prior to the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour season, Scott Martin had banked a total of three top-10 Angler of the Year finishes in his 15-year career as a pro. It was impressive, but not indicative of his greatness. The truth of the matter is that Scott Martin was a winner, always taking risks in search of equal reward. That risky fishing has led Martin to more than $2 million in earnings, a Forrest Wood Cup win and four Tour-level wins. But the gambles burned him often enough that he never earned AOY. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-30-birge-dominates-roy-race

Birge Dominates ROY Race

Zack Birge isn’t wasting any time filling out his tournament-fishing resume. The Oklahoman won the 2014 Rayovac FLW Series Championship on Wheeler Lake last fall then joined up on the Walmart FLW Tour for 2015 and went on a season-long tear that earned him the Rookie of the Year award. Birge, alongside his wife, Kristina, was presented with his ROY trophy this afternoon on the weigh-in stage at the Potomac River tournament, where he finished in 77th place. He finished 29th overall in the AOY standings to best a group of 18 rookies. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-27-flw-signs-contract-for-south-korean-tournaments

FLW Signs Contract for South Korean Tournaments

At the day-two weigh-in of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River, FLW signed a contract that inked an exclusive licensing agreement with MirooNamoo Media Group from South Korea to begin sanctioning FLW bass fishing tournaments in the Eastern-Asian country. South Korea will run a series of FLW tournaments that advance anglers, who are citizens of the host country, to a new International Division at the Rayovac FLW Series Championship beginning in 2016. Two anglers will compete as pros with FLW providing Ranger boats, and two will compete as co-anglers. The top pro award at the Rayovac FLW Series Championship is $95,000, including a Ranger Z518C if the pro is Ranger Cup qualified, and the top co-angler award is a Ranger Z117. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-26-hunter-captures-co-angler-of-the-year-title

Hunter Captures Co-angler of the Year Title

Things couldn’t have worked out any better for first-year Walmart FLW Tour co-angler John Hunter, who wrapped up a phenomenal season from the back of the boat to win Co-angler of the Year and the Ranger Z518C with 200-hp outboard that goes with it. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-26-aoy-update-martin-controls-his-destiny-

AOY Update: Martin Controls His Destiny

Scott Martin is on the verge of winning the only major FLW title that has escaped him to this point: Walmart FLW Tour Angler of the Year. As John Cox and Bryan Thrift stumbled in the Walmart FLW Tour season finale on the Potomac River, Martin steamed ahead and made the top-20 cut in 11th place with 26 pounds, 9 ounces. The way the math checks out, if Martin finishes 19th place or better, he’ll win AOY. If he finishes 20th, he’ll be tied with Cox. The tiebreaker awards AOY to the angler with the most total weight for the season. If he finishes 20th, Martin can still win by bringing at least 11-13 to the scale on day three. Anything less and Cox survives to win. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-25-on-the-bubble-for-the-cup-

On the Bubble for the Cup

By rule, the top 35 anglers in the Walmart FLW Tour Angler of the Year standings make the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita Aug. 20-23. However, when a Tour pro pre-qualifies through another of FLW’s tournament circuits and also finishes in the top 35, an additional Cup invitation is extended to the angler in 36th place, and on down the list in the event of additional double qualifications. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-24-a-bass-fisherman-in-need

A Bass Fisherman in Need

Friends of FLW College Fishing angler David Cosner have established a fund to help the Texas fisherman pay medical bills associated with his long battle with Wegener’s Granulomatosis, a debilitating disease that gradually destroys the organs. Cosner, who founded the Texas State University Bass Cats and was named to the 2010 FLW College Fishing All-America team, was diagnosed with the rare disease in 2009 when he was 17 and since has had to undergo 215 surgeries. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-22-coy-and-roy-on-the-line

COY and ROY on the Line

FLW is hauling a lot of hardware to Maryland this week for the final stop of the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. The world’s largest tournament fishing organization is also going to be writing some fat checks. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-18-father-of-david-dudley-passes

Father of David Dudley Passes

James Dudley, the father of longtime Walmart FLW Tour pro David Dudley, passed away June 17 after a lengthy illness. He was a lifetime resident of Lynchburg, Va., and a member of Thomas Road Baptist Church. Like his son, James Dudley was also a tournament fisherman and competed in 73 FLW events. He finished in the top 10 in eight of them. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-12-is-this-the-new-bass-fishing-capital-of-the-south-

Is this the New Bass Fishing Capital of the South?

Dayton, Tenn., is situated on Richland Creek, a tributary that flows into the western side of Lake Chickamauga, one of the hottest bass fisheries in the country. Local officials with a flair for marketing – and good business sense – believe that Chickamauga can be the sellable “brand” that attracts bass fishermen to come and spend their time and their money in Dayton. They believe that old-fashioned Southern hospitality and small-town charm, plus trophy bass, are just the recipe for turning Dayton into “The New Bass Fishing Capital of the South.” READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-09-bass-bbq-is-back

Bass & BBQ is Back

Bass fishing and barbecue are favorite Southern pastimes, made even better when you spice them up with a little competition. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-04-bfl-payouts

BFL Payouts

READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-01-2015-flw-tv-schedule

2015 FLW TV Schedule

READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-01-miss-nina-wins-more-accolades

Miss Nina Wins More Accolades

When the letter that notified Nina Wood that she was being inducted into the Legends of the Outdoors Hall of Fame came awhile back, she was a bit surprised. None of the rest of us was. In a sense, it was a restatement of the obvious, another in a long line of awards and recognition earned by the co-founder of Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-05-19-missed-opportunities-at-beaver-lake

Missed Opportunities at Beaver Lake

READ MORE »

/tips/2015-05-12-strader-maintains-lead-at-halfway-mark

Strader Maintains Lead At Halfway Mark

Midway through the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour, Tennessee pro Wes Strader is in first place in the Angler of the Year race, and his prospects for winning it are as good as anyone’s. Two upcoming events, at lakes Eufaula and Chickamauga, “fish” in a way that suits his style, and he has a good track record on the Potomac River, the last Tour stop of 2015. A good finishing kick could earn the veteran his first AOY title. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-05-10-mother-of-ramie-colson-jr-passes

Mother of Ramie Colson Jr. Passes

READ MORE »

/tips/2015-05-07-community-outreach-sportsmanship-award-

Community Outreach (Sportsmanship Award)

READ MORE »

/tips/2015-05-06-tornadoes-sweep-across-oklahoma

Tornadoes Sweep Across Oklahoma

2014 Rayovac FLW Series Champion Zack Birge, whose appears in the Central Division Tournament on Kentucky Lake was cut short by tornados at his home town in Oklahoma, characterized the damage to his house as “a near miss.” READ MORE »