UPCOMING EVENT: FLW SERIES - 2020 - Toledo Bend Lake

10 Best Tour Pros That Haven’t Won the Cup

10 Best Tour Pros That Haven’t Won the Cup
Andy Morgan

Wins, championships, dollars earned and AOY titles are the accolades by which fans rate their favorite professional bass anglers and by which pundits frame the debate regarding who is the best Walmart FLW Tour pro of all time.

Which stat is most important? That depends who you ask. Dollars pay the bills and set up longevity. Wins earn headlines and attract sponsors. AOY titles reward consistency. Championships are different. Championships are never forgotten. Just one can solidify a career and change a life forever. At FLW, the championship is the Forrest Wood Cup, and the Cup is the ticket to bass fishing immortality. Because once you’re a Forrest Wood Cup champion, you’re always a Forrest Wood Cup champion.

So can you be the best Tour pro of all time without winning the Cup?

For the 10 anglers listed here, that’s a question to ponder in the coming days, as another Forrest Wood Cup goes down on Wheeler Lake Aug. 4-7. The list is FLW’s ranking of the 10 best active Walmart FLW Tour pros that have never won the Forrest Wood Cup, as voted on by FLW’s media team.

 

Isn't it about time for Jay Yelas to hoist the Cup? He's one of the best ever to have never won it.

10. Jay Yelas

Veteran pro Jay Yelas is one of two anglers to make this list but to fail to qualify for the 2016 Cup. No one believes that Yelas needs to win the Cup to cement his status among the legends of bass fishing. The two-time FLW Tour AOY and former Bassmaster Classic champ’s story has already been written. Still, it’d be wonderful to see him cap his career with FLW’s most coveted trophy.

 

Stetson Blaylock

9. Stetson Blaylock

A career doesn’t “come full circle” much better than it has for Stetson Blaylock. The Arkansas pro got started as a co-angler, made the transition to pro, won a tournament early on and has become one of the premier athletes in professional fishing. Blaylock has made six Cups in his career. Over the last five, he’s improved his finishing place each time, most recently with a 14th-place finish at Lake Ouachita in 2015. If that trend continues, we could see him hoisting the Cup trophy on Wheeler and surpassing the $1 million career earnings mark in the process.

 

Cody Meyer

8. Cody Meyer

In addition to Blaylock, Cody Meyer is the other angler on this list who is yet to surpass the $1 million career earnings mark. Meyer just needs a little more time to get there. The California pro has only been on Tour for seven seasons. In that time, he’s built a reputation as one of the most consistent anglers (he holds the record for consecutive Tour limits with 50) and for being an all-around good guy. Meyer really launched his career early on with a trio of consecutive top-10 finishes at the Cup from 2009-2011. That means he has good juju at the Cup. What he doesn’t have yet is a win – Cup or otherwise – with FLW. Winning the Cup would end the drought in a big way.

 

Miyu and Shin Fukae are one of the most beloved couples on Tour.

7. Shin Fukae

Among the list of FLW millionaires and former AOY winners without a Cup victory is Japanese transplant Shinichi Fukae. Considered one of the best finesse anglers of all time, Fukae’s strengths seem perfectly suited for the tough conditions usually encountered at the Cup, yet he’s only finished in the Cup’s top 10 once in 10 tries. Interestingly, Fukae’s career seems to be on a bit of an uptick. After failing to make a top 10 the entire 2013 and 2014 seasons, he put together three top-10 finishes in the last two years, including two in 2016. That momentum could be what he needs to get over the Cup hurdle at Wheeler.

 

Scott Canterbury

6. Scott Canterbury

You wouldn’t want to be one of the monkeys riding around on Scott Canterbury’s back this season. The Alabama pro finally earned his first Tour win back in April, and now the in-state favorite is hoping to shed the Cup monkey off his back at Wheeler Lake. Canterbury’s strides to win the Cup have been as painful as they’ve been exciting for fans to watch. He’s finished runner-up twice in the span of three seasons. The latest near-miss came by 1 ounce at Lake Murray in 2014, when Anthony Gagliardi narrowly won the Cup and FLW aired (repeatedly) the heartbreaking footage of Canterbury losing what would have been the winning fish on the final day.

 

Mark Rose

5. Mark Rose

Arkansan Mark Rose is in rare company with only a handful of other FLW pros with more than $2 million in FLW earnings. Still, he lacks both of the major FLW awards – AOY and Cup champion – that are prerequisites for joining the debate as the greatest ever. Though Rose has been to the Cup nine times and made the top 10 three times, this season’s Cup might be his best chance at winning the title. Consider that he’s won on Wheeler before, and there should be a deep bite. He also might have destiny in his favor. Rose built his career by dominating on the Tennessee River over a span of about seven years. How fitting would it be for him to win the Cup on the Tennessee too?

 

Clark Wendlandt

4. Clark Wendlandt

What about Clark Wendlandt and his recent return to the status of elite Tour pro? Not saying he was ever not elite, but Wendlandt admittedly went through a stage in his career when he was more focused on family matters than fishing. Now he’s fighting back to the dominant form that we saw from him in the late ’90s and the first decade of the 2000s, when he made the top 10 at the Cup six times, won three AOY titles and got his first three FLW Tour wins. In the last seven Tour events, Wendlandt has a win and a runner-up finish, with more great things seemingly on the way. Still no Cup though, and he’ll have to fight off a mob of hungry younger pros to get it done.

 

Bryan Thrift

3. Bryan Thrift

Everything about Bryan Thrift’s career is fast, particularly the way he fishes, and the way he’s racked up incredible stats in a very short period of time. Thrift has been on Tour for only a decade – about half the time as pros such as David Dudley, Clark Wendlandt and Andy Morgan – but in that time he’s earned $1.8 million, 46 top-10 finishes and eight wins. The top-10 stat is most impressive. With 128 FLW appearances, Thrift makes the top 10 on average about 35 percent of the time. He’s a top-10 machine at the Cup, too, with six top 10s in nine tries – but no wins. Close, but no silver cup.

 

Larry Nixon (7th, 57-14)

2. Larry Nixon

Larry Nixon, the General, holds our second spot on the list, but he might actually be the most accomplished angler who lacks a Cup win if you include his B.A.S.S. resume. Nixon won the Bassmaster Classic in 1983 and has more than $3 million in combined earnings between B.A.S.S. and FLW. With 15 Cup qualifications under his belt, Nixon won’t get a shot at getting off the list this year. He didn’t qualify for the Cup. That’s too bad for the guy who might actually want to win the Cup worse than anyone else in the sport. Probably Nixon sees his window closing. He is, after all, getting a little … up there in years. Who knows how many more Cups the 65-year-old will fish before he retires.

 

Andy Morgan

1. Andy Morgan

No surprises here. Andy Morgan is the unanimous No. 1 pick by all members of this list’s selection committee. Heck, even his fellow pros call Morgan the GOAT, or “Greatest of All Time.” There’s really no debating Morgan’s greatness, what with more than $2 million in earnings, three AOYs in a four-year span and 62 top-10 finishes. Still, Morgan has never won the Cup in 17 chances, while his all-time great brethren such as David Dudley and Scott Martin have. If he wins it before his career ends, Morgan just might end the debate and go down in history as the best of all time. Period.

 

Who’s No. 11?

The 10 pros that made the list are not the only ones to receive votes from FLW’s panel of voters. Wesley Strader narrowly missed out, and votes were also cast for Matt Arey, John Cox, Dan Morehead, JT Kenney, Mark Daniels Jr. and Tom Monsoor.

 

Tags: forrest-wood-cup  wheeler-lake  flw-staff  pre-tournament  2016-08-04-forrest-wood-cup 

Big Bags Expected at Bama Division Kickoff on Lake Martin

Big Bags Expected at Bama Division Kickoff on Lake Martin

Big largemouths and lots of spots are the main attractions at Alabama’s Lake Martin, where the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Bama Division kicks off its 2020 season Feb. 8. Local hammer David Gaston, who’s won the last two Bama events at Martin, expects a typical wintertime tournament this season with solid weights across the board. READ MORE »

Warm, Wet Winter Setting up Big Weights at Murray

Warm, Wet Winter Setting up Big Weights at Murray

The Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine kicks off its 2020 South Carolina Division schedule at the Jewel of South Carolina, Lake Murray, which is the former host site for multiple FLW Cup events. Murray is full of big bass and can churn out weights in the upper 20s if conditions line up right. Thus far in 2020, warm, wet conditions have been great for bass fishing. Though patterns might vary slightly from a “normal” winter, competitors can expect to have a good time fishing shallow with power-fishing baits.  READ MORE »

FLW Live Schedule for Sam Rayburn

FLW Live Schedule for Sam Rayburn

The 2020 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit kicks off this week in Brookeland, Texas, at Sam Rayburn Reservoir, which means it’s also time for another season of FLW Live with hosts Travis Moran and Todd Hollowell. Here's how and when to watch. READ MORE »

The Weather Factor: Rayburn

The Weather Factor: Rayburn

Weather is a storyline in almost every tournament throughout the course of the year, but from winter through spring it can often be the biggest influencing factor in a tournament. Warming trends and cold snaps can send fish flooding to the bank or retreating to the safety of deeper water in no time. READ MORE »

Wrapping up Practice with Osborne

Wrapping up Practice with Osborne

Last season, Jordan Osborne made the top 10 in the season opener on Sam Rayburn, and he’s got the chance to kick things off in a similar style this week. READ MORE »

Day 2 of Practice with Miller

Day 2 of Practice with Miller

At just 20 years old, Colby Miller is pretty young to be a rookie on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit. However, the Elmer, La., native isn’t lacking in accolades, as he’s now finished 24th or better in points in the Southwestern Division of the FLW Series two years in a row. Additionally, he’s starting the season close to home – Miller guides for bass and crappie on nearby Toledo Bend, and he’s got a lot of tournament time in on Sam Rayburn. READ MORE »

Riding Rayburn with Tutt

Riding Rayburn with Tutt

One of the nicest and most experienced pros on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit, Jim Tutt has fished about everywhere, but he calls Texas home. Last year, Tutt finished fifth in the season-opener on Sam Rayburn, and it’s also where he earned one of his three FLW Series-level wins. READ MORE »

2020 Cherokee Lake Preview

2020 Cherokee Lake Preview

Built in the 1940s by the Tennessee Valley Authority, Cherokee Lake is nestled in the hills of east Tennessee. The Holston River impoundment lies roughly between Norris Lake to the northwest and Douglas Lake to the southeast. The clear waters of Cherokee can fluctuate about 30 feet between winter pool and spring flooding, which sounds like a lot, but isn’t out of the ordinary for the average east Tennessee reservoir. So, depending on the water level, Cherokee has about 400 miles of shoreline and 28,780 surface acres. READ MORE »

2020 Harris Chain Preview

2020 Harris Chain Preview

One of the most fun places FLW visits, the Harris Chain is a collection of lakes in central Florida that includes Lake Harris, Lake Apopka, Lake Griffin, Lake Eustis, Lake Dora, Lake Carlton, Horseshoe Lake, Little Lake Harris, Lake Denham and Lake Beauclair. In all, the pros have the run of 10 lakes, plus the myriad residential canals, rivers and backwaters that spread out off of them. READ MORE »

2020 Lake Hartwell Preview

2020 Lake Hartwell Preview

Built on the Savannah, Tugaloo and Seneca rivers on the border of South Carolina and Georgia, Lake Hartwell is a fairly typical example of a Southeastern spotted bass and largemouth fishery. Though there are shad and bream, the primary forage is blueback herring. Hartwell has very little vegetation outside of flooded dog fennel, and the primary cover types are docks, rock, shoreline wood, brush and cane piles. READ MORE »

2020 Detroit River Preview

2020 Detroit River Preview

Though the Pro Circuit finale takes off from the Detroit River, that’s hardly the only place the pros will be fishing. Takeoff is near the southern mouth of the river, giving pros easy access to the west end of Lake Erie. At the other end of the river is Lake St. Clair, which has been home to some of the most epic smallmouth beatdowns on record in recent years. READ MORE »

2020 Lake Dardanelle Preview

2020 Lake Dardanelle Preview

Situated between the Ozark National Forest to the north and the Ouachita National Forest to the south, Lake Dardanelle in Northwest Arkansas is a roughly 34,000-acre impoundment on the Arkansas River that offers a multitude of unique and varied opportunities to catch quality bass. READ MORE »

2020 Lake Martin Preview

2020 Lake Martin Preview

Lake Martin was created back in 1926 when the Martin Dam was completed on the Tallapoosa River. At the time, the 44,000-acre reservoir was the largest man-made body of water in the world, though it obviously no longer holds that distinction. READ MORE »

Bulldog Division Kicks off at Lake Lanier

Bulldog Division Kicks off at Lake Lanier

Perhaps the hottest spotted bass lake in the East, Lanier should be rocking for the Bulldog Division opener. With lots of plump wintertime spotted bass coming to the scale, along with some largemouths, it would be no surprise to see a winning weight in excess of 20 pounds.   READ MORE »

Big Prespawn Potential at Toledo Bend

Big Prespawn Potential at Toledo Bend

Toledo Bend is a legendary reservoir that straddles the border between Texas and Louisiana. It spans some 65 miles along the impounded Sabine River, which runs north to south, and sprawls across about 185,000 acres at full pool. Though Toledo Bend has a number of major tributaries along its length, the bulk of the reservoir is its straight, wide-open main-lake span. READ MORE »

Choo Choo Division Kicks off at Lake Guntersville

Choo Choo Division Kicks off at Lake Guntersville

According to pro Casey Martin, who once won a BFL on Guntersville with a whopping 40 pounds, 11 ounces, it’s not unreasonable to expect a mid- or upper 20s bag to win this time. READ MORE »

2020 Sam Rayburn Preview

2020 Sam Rayburn Preview

Sam Rayburn has a reputation as a phenomenal bass fishery and a giant in the tournament world. At more than 114,000 acres, it’s the largest reservoir contained entirely within the borders of the Lone Star State. READ MORE »

Gator Division Kicking off at St. Johns River

Gator Division Kicking off at St. Johns River

The Phoenix Bass Fishing League’s popular Gator Division, which is presented by A.R.E., kicks off its 2020 season on Saturday, Jan. 11 at the St. Johns River near Palatka, Fla. READ MORE »

Cumberland Practice with Bryan New

Cumberland Practice with Bryan New

Bryan New has steadily been making a case to be considered one of the brightest rising stars of the sport. Five top 10s in T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) and Costa FLW Series events this year proves it, as does his inclusion in the Costa FLW Series Championship field. New gives an inside look at how he’s been tackling the puzzle that is the FLW Series Championship on what might prove to be an unusually stingy fishery. READ MORE »

Olson Scouts Cumberland

Olson Scouts Cumberland

At just 19 years old, Lane Olson is fishing in the Costa FLW Series Championship. Were he from Alabama or Texas or any number of other southern states known for their bass fishing, that wouldn’t be too surprising. But Olson is schlepping all the way to Kentucky from Oregon, where he finished second in the Western Division Angler of the Year standings, missing out on the top spot by just one point. READ MORE »