UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Kentucky / Barkley Lake

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Unstable conditions

Unstable conditions
Day three of Forrest Wood Cup tournament action commences on Lake Ouachita.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - As the top-20 pros and co-anglers departed Brady Mountain Resort Marina shortly after 6:30 a.m. to kick off the third day of Forrest Wood Cup competition on Lake Ouachita, the field undoubtedly faced a decidedly uncertain outlook. With the remaining Cup contenders tightly bunched up across the leaderboard and a cloudy and stormy forecast on the horizon, there is no telling how things will shake out during Saturday's all-important round of competition.

With a little more than 5 pounds total separating the top-10 pros and co-anglers on the leaderboard, one of the most prestigious titles in all of professional bass fishing is still largely up for grabs. Throw in additional factors such as the ever-changing weather patterns (which shifted from cloudy and stormy conditions on day one to bluebird skies on day two and back to scattered thunderstorms on day three) as well as a highly fickle bass bite and it's fairly obvious that the remaining field will have plenty of work to do if they are to achieve their ultimate goal of taking home the title of 2011 Forrest Wood Cup champion.

"This has definitely been one of the most stressful tournaments I've ever been in," said day-two pro leader Jason Christie of Park Hill, Okla. "You can go three hours without a bite and then, suddenly, catch three fish in a row. For me, I'm just going to run a bunch of water and try to make some good decisions. My goal is to finish the day and still have a chance at the title."

Christie, who boasts a total catch of 31 pounds, 7 ounces, said he's been fishing - almost literally - by the seat of his pants all week.

"After practice, I didn't know if I was even going to be able to catch a fish this week," he said. "I've really been scrambling around a lot out there. I pretty much gave up on my deep bite and will be concentrating on shallow water going forward so we'll just have to see how it goes. With the (storms coming in) I think Lake Ouachita should fish a lot like it did during the first day. On that day, I didn't have as many bites as (day two) but the bites I did get were bigger. But it's a real grind out there. I'll tell you what, whoever wins this tournament is going to sleep for a week."

After finishing the last two Forrest Wood Cups in third and second place respectively, fifth-place pro Cody Meyer now finds himself in a familiar position once again.

"It's amazing to be back in contention again," said Meyer, who has recorded a total, two-day catch of 27 pounds, 3 ounces. "Because that's what you work for all year. Just to have an opportunity to win this tournament is amazing. I'm just going to go out there, fish hard and see what happens."

Like the other top contenders, Meyer acknowledges that Lake Ouachita is not an easy place to figure out this time of year - especially given the recent bout of crazy weather.

"My game plan coming in was to find some deep brush piles and standing timber but I haven't been able to find that pattern yet," he said. "So I started throwing topwaters and the fish just kept eating it so that's what I'm going with. I've pretty much fished shallow the entire time and to be honest, I'm pretty surprised by that. Right now I'm getting about six keeper bites each day so it's a real grind out there no matter how you look at it."

For co-anglers, there is even more stress during today's competition as there is only one day of tournament action remaining before a champion is crowned. Currently, Mike Helton of Jeffersonville, Ind., has the overall lead with a total catch of 21 pounds, 11 ounces. Helton is followed by 2011 FLW Tour Co-angler of the Year Spencer Shuffield who boasts 21 pounds, 4 ounces. Chris Hults of Vancleave, Miss., rounds out the top three co-anglers with a total catch of 20 pounds, 9 ounces.

Tourney format

The top-20 contenders await the start of the third day of Forrest Wood Cup action on Lake Ouachita.During FLW Tour competition, pros supply the boats, fish from the front deck against other pros and control boat movement. Co-anglers fish from the back deck and compete against other co-anglers. After Saturday's weigh-in, the co-angler champion will be crowned based on the field's three-day accumulated weight. Also on Saturday, the pro field will be cut down to the top 10 pros. The remaining pro field will then compete during Sunday's final round of tournament action. The pro winner ultimately will be determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from all four days.

During Forrest Wood Cup competition this week, daily takeoff ceremonies will be held at Brady Mountain Resort & Marina, located at 4120 Brady Mountain Road in Royal, Ark., at 6:30 each morning. Daily weigh-ins will be held at Summit Arena & Hot Springs Convention Center, located at 134 Convention Blvd. in Hot Springs beginning at 5 p.m.

Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.

Pros will fish for a top award of $600,000 and co-anglers will cast for a first-place prize of $60,000 if Ranger Cup guidelines are met.

Bass-fishing fans take note

The third day of Forres Wood Cup action is under way.Fans will be treated to the FLW Outdoors Expo at the Summit Arena & Hot Springs Convention Center prior to the final weigh-ins on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The first 1,500 kids 14 and under on Sunday will receive a free Zebco rod and reel combo compliments of US97. Fans can also register to win a fully rigged Ranger Z520 courtesy of the Arkansas Democrat Gazette which will be given away following the final weigh-in. The Expo includes Ranger boat simulators, the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by sponsors, and fans can learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities.

Curb Records recording artist Steve Holy will bring his unique blend of 50s rock/pop/country to Summit Arena on Sunday, Aug. 14, at 4 p.m. to kick off the Forrest Wood Cup's final weigh-in. Described by the Dallas Morning News as "Elvis Presley meets Dwight Yoakam" and "Ricky Nelson meets Chris Isaak," Holy recently completed his third studio album, "Love Don't Run," featuring the single of the same name that was named a Top 5 most added single in the first week of 2011 by Billboard and Country Aircheck.

All activities are free and open to the public.

The top-20 boaters race to their prime fishing locations to kick of fhe start of the third day of Forrest Wood Cup competition on Lake Ouachita.Want to watch the weigh in live but can't make it in person? Then tune into FLW Live on FLWOutdoors.com shortly before 5 p.m. Central Time to watch live streaming video and audio of today's opening-round weigh in.

Daily on-the-water coverage will also be available online at FLWOutdoors.com. To see up-to-the-minute tournament updates, click here.

Coverage of the 2011 Forrest Wood Cup will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on VERSUS. "FLW Outdoors" will air Sept. 25 from 1 to 2 p.m. ET. "FLW Outdoors," hosted by Jason Harper, is broadcast to more than 500 million households worldwide.

Forrest Wood Cup action continues at today's weigh-in, scheduled to take place at 5 p.m. CDT at the Summit Arena & Hot Springs Convention Center, located at 134 Convention Boulevard.

Vital statistics:

Sunrise: 6:31 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 71 degrees
Water temperature: 88-92
Expected high temperature: 88 degrees
Wind: From the west-southwest at 6-8 mph
Humidity: 67 percent
Day's outlook: Mixed clouds with chance of scattered thunderstorms

Tags: gary-mortenson  morning-story  2011-08-11-forrest-wood-cup-lake-ouachita 

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