UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - Lake Mead

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Fishing the Cup for a Cure

Jason Meninger

In his first year fishing the Walmart FLW Tour, Jason Meninger placed 41st in the standings, earned more than $30,000 and qualified for the Forrest Wood Cup. Oh, yeah, he also found out he had cancer.

Meninger's oncologist told him he had developed testicular cancer and would need surgery that spring of 2010. The tumor was removed, and Meninger never skipped a beat on the tournament trail. He went on to fish the Cup and place ninth in the championship on his home lake: Lanier. When he took his turn in the spotlight on the weigh-in stage, however, he was wrung out physically and emotionally, and it showed.

Being told that you have the Big C is a scary thing, says Meninger, and even though annual CAT Scans since 2010 have indicated he has remained cancer-free, there's always that shadow of doubt that keeps him from being completely worry-free and a bit preoccupied. Meninger's bout with cancer and, more recently, his sister Jill's struggle with breast cancer, have made him acutely aware that nothing in life should be taken for granted.

Meninger, 43 and a partner in a successful advertising agency headquartered in Buford, Ga., qualified for the Cup again this year with his best season so far: 28th overall. "Not a spectacular year, but consistent, and I avoided all the bombs," he says.

Meninger didn't avoid a bomb the first and only time he fished Lake Ouachita, site of this year's championship. That was also in 2010, at a regular-season Tour event when he finished 112th. He hopes to redeem himself there this year.

"I kind of missed the boat at Ouachita," recalls Meninger. "I figured out what I needed to be doing on the second day. It was early postspawn, and there were still lots of shallow fish chasing bream. I should have been throwing a stick bait or frog all day - I didn't until it was too late."

Such shoreline patterns might be in play in August, which suits the junk-fishing side of Meninger's game, but he isn't about to abandon his favorite and most effective technique: drop-shotting. By and large, that's what got him into ninth place at the 2010 Cup and qualified him for the championship this year.

At Lanier in 2010, Meninger's presentation involved casting the rig a certain distance away so it would swing down to the brush pile beneath his boat. Often, spotted bass suspended away from the cover would take the rig as it descended on a diagonal track.

"Really, there are three things in play at Ouachita: the bream beds, the offshore brush piles and the grass," opines Meninger. "I know I can catch spotted bass drop-shotting, but I don't know how big they'll be. I'm going to go over there and graph and try to come up with some kind of strategy that maybe balances all three approaches. Fishing deep, clear lakes is definitely in my wheelhouse, but I've also gotten fairly versatile at other things. My big weakness still is fishing deep ledges with crankbaits and spoons. If that's the pattern at Ouachita, it's going to be tough for me."

Meninger's company, Adventure Advertising, represents some of the biggest names in the outdoor industry. Recently, it launched Outdoor Flics, a video-marketing and corporate-branded entertainment business distributed via the Internet or through social media platforms. Though his company is successful and flourishing, it's tournament fishing that satisfies Meninger's need to compete.

"I'm not a career tournament guy," admits Meninger. "The tournament thing for me is that I'm competitive, and it also keeps me dialed in to what's going on in the outdoor industry. My goal is to win a Tour-level event. I don't know when that's going to happen, but if you can win one, you might as well win the biggest - the Forrest Wood Cup."

Fans will be able to see how well he does in that regard, as he plans to share his Cup experience via a live feed from his boat throughout each fishing day. Details and a website link will be released prior to the tournament, says Meninger.

Win, lose or draw, Meninger will be fishing for a cause at Ouachita. As he has done throughout the season, he will donate 20 percent of his winnings there to the University of Colorado Cancer Research Program. His sister, the mother of two children, was treated at the school's cancer center and underwent intensive chemotherapy sessions there. So far, so good.

"Cancer is a big thing in my family. Health-wise, I dodged a bullet myself," notes Meninger. "I had a form that doesn't metastasize as quickly as a second form. It stays localized longer. Good thing; I knew something was wrong for three or four months before I went to a doctor about it, and I should have been checked earlier. So I was lucky in that it was caught in time. I pay more attention to my health now. God willing, everything is OK."

Tags: forrest-wood-cup  jason-meninger  colin-moore  pre-tournament  2015-08-20-forrest-wood-cup 

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