August 14, 2014 by Kyle Wood
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Calling your day on the water a “grind” is one of the biggest clichés in the sport of bass fishing. However, it is probably the best way to describe day one of the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Murray presented by Walmart and hosted by Capital City/Lake Murray Country. When the scale closed for co-anglers, Bryan New of Belmont, N.C., set the bar with four bass that weighed 7 pounds, 9 ounces to take the lead by 2-5.
To give you more of an idea of just how much of a grind it was on Lake Murray for the anglers in the back of the boat, out of the 45 competitors there were just 34 fish brought to the stage.
“I’ll take it,” smiled New, who is fishing in his third Cup. “It was actually a lot tougher in practice. I was honestly hoping to catch one bass in the two days of competition.”
In just his third year fishing the Walmart FLW Tour, New claimed a win on Lake Eufaula in 2013 along with six top-10 finishes – two of which have come from his past Cup appearances. A lot of New’s success has come from mastering finesse fishing, and his bait of choice is almost always a Charlie’s Worms product.
“One of the key baits for me today was a prototype Charlie’s Worms bait that I helped design,” says New. “I caught a short fish on it early, which gave me confidence in it. Later on I caught a nice keeper and got another bite, which really helped boost my confidence. In a tournament like this any bite you get is a good bite.
“I only had six keeper bites all day," he adds. "It was an unbelievable day in a good way for what I expected of this lake.”
New practiced with Chevy pro Bryan Thrift and says that he caught some solid fish and a 5-pounder on the last day of practice that really helped key him in to a few patterns that are playing on the lake right now.
“There are really two or so deals going on out on Murray right now," explains New. "I feel pretty confident I can catch some good fish if my partner tomorrow is on one of those.”
2nd Place – Chris Burgan – 5 pounds, 4 ounces
Chris Burgan of Minneapolis, Minn., is riding the momentum from winning the 2014 FLW College Fishing National Championship earlier this year. Today, he caught one bass that tipped the scale at 5 pounds, 4 ounces. Not only did that fish put him in second place, it also earned him the Bridgford Big Bass award for the day and a check worth $500.
Burgan practiced with his University of Minnesota teammate Austin Felix – who is fishing as a pro in the Cup – and got turned on to finding bigger bites.
“I caught two big ones in practice this week,” says Burgan. “I knew coming into today exactly what baits I wanted to throw and even what colors. I threw several different baits, but they were all something Austin and I figured out in practice.”
Burgan’s day got off to a rough start after losing a fish at the boat. After moving around a lot, Burgan finally found a few bites late in the day.
“I hooked a 3-pounder in the last hour of fishing that wrapped me up in the Power-Poles and broke off,” recalls Burgan. “I was pretty down at that point, and Randy [Haynes, his pro partner] kept trying to cheer me up, but it was tough. A few minutes later I hooked into that big one and managed to get her in the boat, and I was pumped.”
The Minnesota resident has received plenty of attention since winning the national championship this year, but nothing prepared him for taking the stage at the Forrest Wood Cup.
“I really think that I was the most nervous today sitting at the tanks waiting to weigh in next to guys like Jacob Wheeler," Burgan says. "When I got on stage I remember trying to think of something to say and couldn’t. After Chris Jones started asking me some questions I started to relax. It really helped having my mom, dad and sister in the fifth row cheering me on. That was an awesome moment.”
As far as tomorrow is concerned, Burgan hopes he will be able to fish away from the bank in order to maximize his opportunity to catch fish.
3rd Place – Keith Honeycutt – 5 pounds, 2 ounces
Honeycutt was tasked with trying to catch fish behind two-time Angler of the Year Andy Morgan in the opening round of the Cup.
“I’m surprised I caught anything at all today,” laughs Honeycutt, who owns four top-10 finishes on Tour. “We fished up shallow, and I didn’t get a lot of bites. My best fish came early in the day on a topwater, and I didn’t catch my next fish until five or six hours later.
“I watched Andy closely to see what type of cover he was fishing and what was left. I’d ask him questions about what he was looking for, and he told me what he was targeting so that I knew what I could fish. From then on I didn’t have to pay attention to what he was doing to know what to fish.”
The Temple, Texas, co-angler excels in shallow-water situations and will feel the most comfortable if he can do the same thing tomorrow.
Rest of the Best
4th Place – Braxton Setzer – 4 pounds, 12 ounces
5th Place – Jason Johnson – 4 pounds, 1 ounce
5th Place – Billy Dehart – 4 pounds, 1 ounce
7th Place – Alan Woodford – 3 pounds, 15 ounces
8th Place – Richie Eaves – 3 pounds, 14 ounces
9th Place – Todd Kline – 3 pounds, 7 ounces
10th Place – Cody Kelley – 3 pounds, 6 ounces
For complete results, click here.
In the Forrest Wood Cup, 45 pros and co-anglers from the Walmart FLW Tour, Rayovac FLW Series, Walmart Bass Fishing League, FLW College Fishing and The Bass Federation are randomly paired each day, with pros supplying the boat, controlling boat movement and competing against other pros. Co-anglers fish from the back deck against other co-anglers. The full field competes in the two-day opening round. After day two, a co-angler champion is crowned and the pro field is pared to the top 20. After Saturday's weigh-in, the pro field is cut to the top 10. A pro champ is crowned on Sunday, with a $500,000 prize paid to the winner.
For More Coverage
For those who can’t catch the weigh-in action in person, FLWOutdoors.com offers FLW Live, an online application that brings fans real-time weigh-in results, streaming video and audio.
In addition to FLW Live, FLWOutdoors.com and ForrestWoodCup.com offer real-time updates from the water.
Forrest Wood Cup Event Information
Location: Dreher Island State Park, 3677 State Park Road, Prosperity, S.C.
Time: 6:30 a.m. Takeoff Show; 7 a.m. takeoff
Time: 5 p.m.
Location: Colonial Life Arena, 801 Lincoln Street, Columbia, S.C.
Date: Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 15-18
Location: Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, 1101 Lincoln Street, Columbia, S.C.
Time: 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Check out all that FLW has in store at the FLW Expo, including a barbecue contest, free Rodney Atkins concert and a jam-packed tackle show at ForrestWoodCup.com.