UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - Lake Mead

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Game on

The third day of Forrest Wood Cup action on Lake Lanier is about to get under way.

DULUTH, Ga.- As the top-20 Forrest Wood Cup competitors departed Laurel Park Marina shortly after 7 a.m. amidst a third consecutive day of overcast conditions, light winds and looming thunderstorms, one thing was quite clear - the overall tournament outlook has undergone a dramatic transformation over the past 24 hours.

After the impressive day-one haul by 21-year-old upstart Jacob Wheeler, who stunned the field with a behemoth 21-pound, 15-ounce bag during the opening round of competition, most pros realized that without a major stumble by the Indianapolis pro, the chances of procuring a tournament title at the most prestigious event of the season was virtual nil. But what a difference a day makes. With Wheeler coming back to the pack with an 11-pound, 12-ounce sack in Friday's competition, a host of pros now realize they still have a chance at capturing the coveted prize and landing their name in the history books.

"Jacob has done really well this week. He's a great angler," said Chevy pro Jay Yelas, who is now only a tad more than 3 pounds off the overall lead. "But it's now halftime and we're nipping at his heels."

Fourth-ranked qualifier Scott Canterbury of Springville, Ala., also sees the potential of making a significant run at the title.

Straight Talk team pro Scott Canterbury gives one final interview before the day"Coming into this tournament I didn't think the fishing would be as good as it's been," said the Straight Talk team pro. "But I'm happy with where I'm at right now. I've been pretty fortunate that I've gotten some big bites each day. And if I can catch 14 pounds a day over each of the next two days, I think I'll have a good chance at winning this. But without a doubt, today is the most important day of the tournament so far."

At the end of today's action, the pro field will be whittled down once more, this time to the top-10 finalists. Not surprisingly, the day-two leader hopes that he's still be leading the pack heading into Sunday's crucial day of competition. However, Wheeler admitted that all the hype has been a little difficult at times to deal with.

"There are so many things going through my head right now but you really try not to thing about that," said Wheeler, who boasts a total two-day catch of 33 pounds, 11 ounces. "You just have to go out there, put the blinders on and go fishing. You can't worry about what other people are doing, how many (former) angler of the year (title holders) or past Forrest Wood Cup champions you're competing against. It's really just you versus the fish."

Castrol pro David Dudley checks his equipment before takeoff.For the record, Wheeler is competing against six former Forrest Wood Cup champions - Dion Hibdon (2000), David Dudley (2003), Luke Clausen (2004), Brent Ehrler (2006), Scott Suggs (2007) and Scott Martin (2011) - as well as six pros who boast FLW Tour Angler of the Year titles - Clark Wendlandt (1997, 2000, and 2009), Jay Yelas (2002 and 2007), Dan Morehead (2003), Shinichi Fukae (2004), David Dudley (2008, 2011 and 2012) and Bryan Thrift (2010). So while Wheeler still holds the lead, the rookie pro clearly faces a daunting task over the next two days of competition to say the least.

But although he is still very young and will be under a tremendous amount of pressure in the coming days, Wheeler appears to have the right mindset to handle the situation - which at times borders on a media circus.

"When I won the 2011 BFL All-American I didn't realize what was happening until it was finally over," he said. "And I'm trying to do that here. I don't have any specific weight in mind that I'm targeting today. I'm just going to put my head down and go fishing. In the end, if it's meant to be, it's meant to be."

Tournament details and logistics

The 2012 Forrest Wood Cup competition originally consisted of 46 pros and 46 co-anglers who qualified through six different tournament circuits over the past two seasons. This year's prestigious group included 37 pros and 38 co-anglers from the 2012 Walmart FLW Tour Majors, five pros and five co-anglers from the 2011 FLW Tour Opens, the pro and co-angler title holders from the 2011 EverStart Series Championship, the 2012 BFL All-America pro and co-angler champions, the top pro and co-angler from the 2012 TBF National Championship and the 2012 National Guard FLW College Fishing national champion.

Boaters make their way to the staring line.During Forrest Wood Cup competition, the full pro and co-angler fields competed for two days. After Friday's weigh-in, the field was cut down to the top-20 anglers in each division based on overall accumulated weight. After today's weigh-in, the co-angler champion will be crowned based on the field's three-day accumulated weight. Also today, 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 Forrest Wood Cup action. The pro winner ultimately will be determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from all four days.

Forrest Wood Cup competitors will take off from Laurel Park, located at 3100 Old Cleveland Highway in Gainesville, Ga., at 7 a.m. each morning. Weigh-ins will be held at the Gwinnett Convention Center, located at 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth, Ga., beginning at 5 p.m. daily.

Daily schedule in brief

6:00 AM - 7:00 AM - Folgers Morning Takeoff coffee and donuts served at Laurel Park
6:30 AM - FLW Takeoff Show begins at Laurel Park - Video Streamed Live
7:00 AM - Takeoff at Laurel Park
7:30 AM - Junior World Championship takeoff at Laurel Park
8:00 AM - Lowrance on-the-water demos at Laurel Park
10:00 AM - 3:00 PM - Ranger, Evinrude & Mercury test rides at Laurel Park
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM - Chevy Test Drive at Gwinnett Center Entrance
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM - FLW Expo at Gwinnett Center
11:00 AM - 11:25 AM - Antique Lure Seminar at Gwinnett Center, Room 6A-C - Video Streamed Live
1:00 PM - 1:25 PM - Roland Martin Mercury Fishing Seminar at Gwinnett Center, Room 6A-C - Video Streamed Live
1:30 PM - Junior World Championship weigh-in at Laurel Park
2:00 PM - Save Money At Walmart. Experience FLW VIP Treatment.
2:00 PM - 2:25 PM - Mascot Fishing Tournament at Gwinnett Center, Trout Pond
3:00 PM - 3:25 PM - Larry Nixon Evinrude Fishing Seminar at Gwinnett Center, Casting Pool - Video Streamed Live
4:40 PM - 2013 Forrest Wood Cup host announcement at Gwinnett Center Arena
4:45 PM - Junior World Championship award presentation at Gwinnett Center Arena
4:55 PM - Forrest L. Wood Sportsmanship & Community Leadership Award presented by Goodwill at Gwinnett Center Arena
5:00 PM - Weigh-In at Gwinnett Center Arena
5:45 PM - Wildlife Forever State-Fish Art Contest winner recognition at Gwinnett Center Arena

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. Eastern Time to watch live streaming video and audio of today's opening-round weigh in.

Bass-fishing fans take note

Fans watch day-three takeoff unfold on Lake Lanier.Fans will be treated to the FLW Expo at the Gwinnett Convention Center on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. prior to the weigh-ins. The Expo includes a wide range of fishing-industry vendors, Ranger boat simulators, an opportunity to interact with professional anglers, a host of fishing and outdoors-related activities, sponsor giveaways and interactive games.

All activities are free and open to the public.

On Saturday 500 free rods and reels will be given away to the first 500 children 14 years and under who are accompanied by an adult. On Sunday 1,000 free rods and reels will be given away to the first 1,000 children 14 years and under who are accompanied by an adult. The rod and reel giveaways are courtesy of the Gwinnett Daily Post. Also on Sunday, one lucky fishing fan will win a Ranger Z520 with a 250-horsepower Evinrude, Lowrance electronics and Minn Kota trolling motor. The Ranger boat giveaway is courtesy of the Gwinnett Daily Post and is free to enter, but the winner must be present at the conclusion of Sunday's final weigh-in to win.

Fans will also be treated to a free Steve Holy Concert at Gwinnett Center Arena from 4 to 4:55 p.m. on Sunday.

Coverage of the Forrest Wood Cup will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network when "FLW" airs Sept. 16 from 1-2 p.m. ET. "FLW" is hosted by Jason Harper and is broadcast to more than 559 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world.

Forrest Wood Cup action continues at today's weigh-in, scheduled to take place at 5 p.m. Easter Time at the Gwinnett Convention Center, located at 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth, Ga.

Laura Park Marina was bustling with activity during day-three takeoff.Vital statistics:

Sunrise: 6:56 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 68 degrees
Water temperature: 88-92
Expected high temperature: 82 degrees
Wind: From the south-southwest at 4-6 mph
Humidity: 76 percent
Day's outlook: Partly cloudy with chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon

Related links:

2012 Forrest Wood Cup digitial event guide

For daily on-the-water coverage for the 2012 Forrest Wood Cup, click here.

2012 Forrest Wood Cup homepage

2012 Forrest Wood Cup schedule of events

Cheez-It pro Shinichi Fukae hits the water before takeoff.2012 FWC preview: The contenders part I

2012 FWC preview: The contenders part II

2012 FWC preview: The contenders part III

2012 FWC preview: The contenders part IV

2012 FWC preview: The contenders part V

Pro field set for 2012 Forrest Wood Cup

Co-angler field set for 2012 Forrest Wood Cup

Tags: gary-mortenson  morning-story  2012-08-09-forrest-wood-cup-lake-lanier 

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