UPCOMING EVENT: Walmart Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Okeechobee

The Pros Pick a Winner

FLW Editor-in-Chief Colin Moore has his eye on pro Steve Kennedy this week. Moore believes Kennedy's shallow-water expertise makes him a junk-fishing favorite, and he's working on a story about the Auburn, Ala., pro's chances for FLWOutdoors.com.

If the Forrest Wood Cup were an election, Bryan Thrift or Anthony Gagliardi might win it in a landslide. The championship here on Lake Murray isn’t an election, however, and somebody will have to earn it. Everyone in the tournament is a good fisherman, but some do seem to have an edge. Gagliardi and Casey Ashley qualify as “locals” who know the lake as well as anyone. Others, such as Steve Kennedy, David Dudley and Jacob Wheeler, have a knack for finding and catching bass in shallow water, which is a pattern likely to play in this event. And still others simply have what might be termed “the hot factor,” because of recent wins or high finishes in tournaments with similar conditions, or because their track records suggest that they’re ready for the big spotlight.

We asked a number of FLW pros who didn’t qualify for the Cup this year to pick their potential winner and explain why. Their selections:

Chad Grigsby: I think Anthony Gagliardi is going to win. It’s his home lake, and considering what he did to get there, there’s no stopping him.

Andy Montgomery: I like Bryan Thrift’s chances. He really understands how to look for places where you are guaranteed a limit every day. That will be critical. Once you have a limit you can run the bank and look for a kicker. He is one of the best in the world with electronics, right up there with Mark Rose and Randy Haynes. Mark and Randy would be my two second choices.

Troy Morrow: I’d go with Anthony Gagliardi and Casey Ashley for local knowledge in what will be a tough tourney. Otherwise, I would pick Bryan Thrift and David Dudley for some off-the-wall-stupid-shallow-make-no-sense pattern that catches fish.

Jimmy Houston: I’d stay with our Chevy boys, Anthony Gagliardi and Bryan Thrift. Both have had really good years. Anthony has excelled after that bad luck at Okeechobee, plus this is his home state and lake. Bryan is fishing as good as he ever has and has a win under his belt this year. I’d take Tommy Monsoor as a dark horse.

JT Kenney: It’ll be someone who doesn’t have any idea, even on the morning of day two – or day three or day four, for that matter. It will just happen for him – probably shallow, just going down the banks running into small wolf packs of bass that are cruising along chasing bluebacks. 

Larry Nixon: Anthony Gagliardi. He’s hot and hungry for a win, not to mention he knows Lake Murray very well.

Jay Yelas: I like Scott Canterbury because he’s been fishing great and he knows he can do it after finishing second in the 2012 Cup.

Luke Clausen: Bryan Thrift has the ability to find off-the-wall places that are usually good for a limit of solid fish and then will spend the rest of the day fishing for one or two bites. He’s a strategist.

Dave Lefebre: Gagliardi … fate.

Tags: article 


Forrest Wood Cup Show Airs Monday

Tune in for the epic finale of the FLW season and watch east Tennessee native Brad Knight earn the win on Arkansas’ Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »


Staff Picks for Holiday Gifts

With Christmas just around the corner, perhaps you could use some help with your shopping. Whether you’re looking for the perfect gift for an angler or thinking of what to put on your own list for Santa to deliver, Christmas shopping can be a daunting task. Luckily our staff of elves has some pretty good suggestions to cover just about any taste or budget. READ MORE »


An Angler’s Thanksgiving

A number of pros have reasons to be grateful this Thanksgiving holiday as they contemplate the season behind them and what they managed to accomplish. Yet there are others who didn’t make quite as many ripples in the tournament waters this year, but nevertheless have cause to celebrate and look to the future. READ MORE »


Black Friday Deals



Fishing 101: Soft-Plastic Swimbaits

While all swimbaits accomplish the same thing – imitating a prey fish swimming through the water – there are now hundreds of baits from which to choose, and there are models for tackling just about any scenario. READ MORE »


Critter Shots of the Year

You see some things when you’re on the water for 10 months covering tournaments from Florida to California. Most of the time our on-the-water team has its cameras trained on the anglers, but every once in a while something from nature intervenes that is just too cool to pass up. READ MORE »


How to Succeed as a Co-angler

Fishing tournaments as a co-angler is a great first step to take toward a more advanced level of competitive bass fishing. Not only do you get more time on the water, you often end up fishing behind some very experienced anglers that can teach you some valuable lessons. READ MORE »


Episode 9 of FLW TV Airs Tonight

Watch as Ontario native Curtis Richardson qualifies for the Forrest Wood Cup and earns the title of Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American Champion on Kentucky Lake. READ MORE »


Peek Will Sit Out 2016 Tour

Alabama pro Richard Peek will forego the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour season to resolve back problems. Peek, of Centre, Ala., was told by his doctor that he should take off a year from tournament fishing so that surgery or other measures could be performed to correct a spinal deformity and relieve his pain. READ MORE »


2016 BFL All-American Qualifiers

With the completion of the Walmart Bass Fishing League Wild Card at Lake Hartwell – won by Mike Devere – all but The Bass Federation National Championship qualifiers are in place for the 2016 BFL All-American June 8-11 on Lake Barkley presented by the Cadiz-Trigg County Tourism Commission. READ MORE »


Jigging Up Late Fall Smallies

In the North Country, as fall fades and sportsmen settle in for the arrival of winter, many people put the boat away and forsake the water for the woods. For those willing to brave the elements on the lake, however, the reward is some of the best smallmouth bass fishing of the year for some of the biggest fish of the season. READ MORE »


Rayovac FLW Series Registration Opens

This is the week to register for everyone planning on fishing the FLW Series in 2016. Registration has been open for the top 40 pros and co-anglers from each division of the 2015 FLW Series and the top 50 boaters and co-anglers from each division of the 2015 Walmart Bass Fishing League (BFL) for some time. Tuesday is when everyone else can begin to get in on the action. READ MORE »


College Championship Airs Tonight

Tune in for the 2015 FLW College Fishing National Championship to see Patrick Walters and Gettys Brannon of the University of South Carolina capture the title in front of the hometown crowd at Lake Murray. READ MORE »


5 Pros Weigh in on Hanselman

When Ray Hanselman won the 2015 Rayovac FLW Series Championship to cap his season-long dominance of the Texas Division just about everyone tuned in. It wasn’t just the stunning sweep that captivated pros and fans alike; it was how he did it – leading after the second day in every event he fished and winning with stunning margins of 5 pounds, 8 ounces at Amistad, 7-2 at Sam Rayburn, 12 pounds even on Texoma and 8-2 at the Championship. READ MORE »


Episode 7 of FLW TV Airs Tonight

Watch as Shawn Gordon pulls off the win on Grand Lake in Oklahoma and qualifies for the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita in his home state of Arkansas. READ MORE »


How Hanselmania Happened

In case you’ve been stuck in a tree stand or out of social media range and didn’t already know it, Hanselman won all three regular-season Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division tournaments in 2015. And at the end of October he topped off his stellar run by winning the Rayovac FLW Series Championship on the Ohio River out of Paducah, Ky. READ MORE »


2014 Cup Wins Sports Tourism Award

The 2014 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Murray in Columbia, S.C., was recently named the 2015 Champion of Economic Impact in Sports Tourism for the mid- to large market category by Sports Destination Management magazine. READ MORE »


5 Best Smallmouth Destinations

Fall is the time of year to treat yourself to one last fishing excursion before the snowflakes start to fall. And if you’re going to take a fishing road trip amid a backdrop of autumn’s colorful foliage, it might as well be for fat, angry brown bass, right? READ MORE »


College Championship Field Set

Now that the 2015 FLW College Fishing Conference Championships are complete, 58 teams have earned the opportunity to fish in the 2016 FLW College Fishing National Championship. READ MORE »


2016 FLW College Fishing Rules