UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - Potomac River

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

A Score to Settle

A Score to Settle
Scott "Hammerbury" Canterbury

There is half of a bass above the surface, leaping out of a blossom of water. There are vague shapes of trees and docks in the background. There is a jig seemingly erupting out of the mouth of the fish and arching up and then down on a slack line. And then there is Scott Canterbury throwing down his hat in disgust.

That’s one of the scenes we remember about the 2014 Forrest Wood Cup at Lake Murray. It’s the same scene that played over and over in Scott Canterbury’s mind for a while, and replays occasionally now as he contemplates a return trip to Lake Murray for the 2017 Cup (he’s in second place in the FLW Tour standings, and by all accounts is a shoo-in to qualify). The fish that would have won him the Cup jumped off, and with it went the life-changing prospects that the championship entails.

The Quaker State pro didn’t let that one moment frozen in time define his career. He couldn’t afford to. Disappointment is a pro fisherman’s closest companion; success for most is just a hitchhiker along for a short ride. When you understand that, and accept it as part of the game, you can go on about your business. Canterbury has.

He figured The One That Got Away was a 5-pounder. With it, he could have won the Cup with a few pounds to spare. As it was, Anthony Gagliardi beat him by an ounce. The 2014 championship will be remembered as the year Gagliardi made the big comeback after a disastrous start to his season that kicked off with him being disqualified from the season opener, and the leaping fish cost Canterbury the crown. Hardly anybody remembers that on the first day of the event, the Alabama pro only had four keepers for 10 pounds. Then again, on the second day, Gagliardi returned to the weigh-in one bass shy of a limit. The way Canterbury sees it, the only fish that matter are the ones that put numbers on the scoreboard at tournament’s end.

“It didn’t really bother me for long,” says Canterbury of the moment he lost the 11th hour kicker. “I thought about it – sure. Right then and there I lost the tournament, but other things happened too that made a difference. You can’t really dwell on what might have been. One thing that’s true about fishing, no matter what, is that nobody catches them all. You just have to keep fishing and not let it eat at you.”

Canterbury has managed to live up to his self-imposed credo. Including the $60,000 runner-up check he received at the 2014 Cup, in the seasons since he’s managed to win more than $400,000 on Tour and in the Costa FLW Series.

Murray is a tough lake, but it suits Canterbury’s style of fishing. While it’s not his favorite lake, he doesn’t regard it as a looming nemesis. True, it’s hard to catch a break there, and multi-day patterns are as elusive as a sackful of big largemouths. An angler hoping to benefit from the schooling bite might wait in vain for bass to pop up in the same area where they seemed to be everywhere the day before. Fish forage under docks one day and are gone the next: Ask David Dudley, who was fishing docks in the 2014 Cup’s first round and caught 17-14 to pace the field, then followed up with 6-1 and 1-6 to finish 15th. Hungry bass mill around brush piles ready and waiting to inhale a drop-shot rig, but then disappear: Ask Philip Jarabeck, who went the finesse route in 2014 to lead on day two with 26-4. Then he caught just a pair of 2-pounders the next round and wound up 11th.

It’s Murray’s inconsistency and reputation as a junk-fisherman’s paradise that was Canterbury’s saving grace, however. He’s used to having to scrape up a keeper here, a kicker there, and Murray favors the hard workers like Canterbury who just keep their heads down and fish as circumstances dictate. Canterbury doesn’t expect anything to be different this August, and he isn’t planning on changing his style of fishing.

“I don’t like to chase schooling fish. I tried that for a while in 2014, but mainly it was a waste of my time,” he says. “Blueback herring are here today and gone tomorrow, and wherever they go the fish go with them. I can catch fish shallow at Murray, but that involves running new water every day.”

As Canterbury discovered in his last visit to Murray, “new water” is shallow with some sort of cover where his junk-fishing instincts can kick in. Once he abandoned the schooling bass pattern midway through day two of the 2014 Cup, he scratched up 10 keepers that day and 10 more the next, and finished with seven more the last day.

He did it with a variety of lures, including buzzbaits and jigs, and his change for the better resulted from his gamble to abandon the lake’s lower and middle portions and run upriver to fish the maze of coves and feeders in the Saluda River arm.

This time around, Canterbury expects more of the same. Murray can be generous, but during the hottest days of summer it’s more often a miser. Canterbury doesn’t expect anything less.

“It’s going to be a grind, just like it was then [in 2014]. You have to fish your guts out to catch a decent stringer,” he notes. “It’s not easy in August on any of these lakes, and you just have to fish every bit of bank and good-looking cover. There’s a lot of physical stamina and mental toughness involved.”

That being the case, Canterbury is up to the task. Besides, he has a score to settle with Lake Murray.

Tags: colin-moore  pre-tournament  2017-08-11-forrest-wood-cup 

Another Potomac Rumble Looms

Another Potomac Rumble Looms

Moving south from Lake Champlain, the second stop of the 2019 Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits is on the Potomac River. The tournament, which is presented by Lowrance and runs Aug. 22-24, should offer a fairly standard set of August conditions for the anglers, with plenty of quality largemouths to go around. READ MORE »

Smith Honored with Sportsmanship, Community Leadership Award

Smith Honored with Sportsmanship, Community Leadership Award

Capt. Blake Smith was presented with the 2019 Forrest L. Wood Sportsmanship & Community Leadership Award by the award’s namesake, Forrest Wood, at the 2019 FLW Cup pre-tournament banquet in Hot Springs, Ark. Smith, of Lakeland, Fla., has fished the FLW Tour since 2015. READ MORE »

Day 3 of Practice with Scanlon

Day 3 of Practice with Scanlon

Casey Scanlon won the FLW Tour season finale at Lake Champlain, which he almost had to do to make the FLW Cup. Now that he’s here at Lake Hamilton, he’s got a shot at $300,000 and a possible edge over the competition due to his momentum and extensive Ozark experience. READ MORE »

Hard Lessons and the FLW Cup

Hard Lessons and the FLW Cup

Two terrible tournaments to end the season cost Miles Burghoff his shot at the Polaris Rookie of the Year title. This week at the FLW Cup on Lake Hamilton, he's hoping to apply the lessons learned at the end of the season to his preparation for the championship event. READ MORE »

Thrift Roams Hamilton on Day 2

Thrift Roams Hamilton on Day 2

In seemingly any tournament that Bryan Thrift shows up to he is without a doubt one of the favorites to win. With two FLW Tour Angler of the Year titles, six Tour wins and five Costa FLW Series wins – including his most recent on Lake Champlain just a few weeks ago – it’s easy to understand why. READ MORE »

Riding Around Practice on Day 2

Riding Around Practice on Day 2

In a Ranger Z520L with a 250-hp Evinrude G2, it takes about 15 minutes to run from Carpenter Dam, which impounds Lake Hamilton, to the Blakely Mountain Dam that separates Hamilton from Lake Ouachita. If you stop and chat with 11 pros along the way, however, you’ll need most of the morning, but you’ll also wind up with a pretty sound idea of what’s going on at Hamilton for this week’s FLW Cup. READ MORE »

The First Morning with B. Lat

The First Morning with B. Lat

You won’t hear Brian Latimer complain about hot weather and tough fishing in Arkansas during this week’s FLW Cup at Lake Hamilton. For B. Lat, sweating it out on the water is vastly better than working in the heat installing landscaping and mowing lawns for a living, which is what he was doing just a few years ago. A lot’s changed since those days. Now, Latimer is an FLW Tour champion, with a growing fishing media company and his first shot at a Cup title. READ MORE »

FLW Cup Schedule of Events

FLW Cup Schedule of Events

The FLW Cup goes down August 9-11 on Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Ark. As the crowning event of the FLW Tour season, there’s naturally a lot that goes with it, from takeoffs, the FLW Expo, a Trace Adkins concert and of course the weigh-ins at the Bank OZK Arena. Below you’ll find everything you’ll need to follow or attend the Cup, from the times to each event and seminar to each giveaway going on. Keep in mind, everything is free to attend and all times are Central. READ MORE »

Pre-Practice Report from Hamilton

Pre-Practice Report from Hamilton

For some, preparation has been in the form of map study and online research, while others have made the trek to Lake Hamilton to get eyes on the playing field, which went off limits July 22. READ MORE »

The FLW Cup Playing Field

The FLW Cup Playing Field

It’s been 14 seasons since the FLW Cup has been held at Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Ark. In the years since, FLW fans have likely developed some familiarity with nearby Lake Ouachita, which has been a frequent destination for the Cup and, in fact, hosted last year’s championship event. Hamilton is less-known because it hasn’t gotten the nod to host the finale since July 2005, when George Cochran won his third bass-fishing world championship . READ MORE »

McCaghren Ready for Hamilton

McCaghren Ready for Hamilton

Billy McCaghren spends a lot of his free time coaching 8- to 10-year-old boys on how to swing and catch; but when the FLW Cup visits Hot Springs August 9-11, the Arkansas pro is hopeful that some of his young baseball players will be able to swing by and see the Lake Hamilton bass he plans on catching. READ MORE »

Summertime on Champlain

Summertime on Champlain

For three years running now, the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits has kicked off on Lake Champlain. The tournament, which is presented by Polaris, should offer great fishing like usual, but it’s going to be far different than the last two FLW Series tilts on the big Northern lake. READ MORE »

FLW Live Schedule for Lake Champlain

FLW Live Schedule for Lake Champlain

FLW Live is back for the season finale of the FLW Tour on Lake Champlain. The event, which is presented by T-H Marine and hosted by the City of Plattsburgh and Adirondack Coast Visitors Bureau runs Thursday, June 27 through Sunday, June 30. READ MORE »

Exploring Champlain with Strelic

Exploring Champlain with Strelic

Living about as far as possible from Champlain, Wade Strelic is looking to finish his rookie season strong at the FLW Tour finale. Hailing from Alpine, Calif., near San Diego, Strelic is sitting 28th in points and has made the check cut in three out of six events so far – another good derby will lock him in to the FLW Cup. READ MORE »

Nelson Wraps Champlain Practice

Nelson Wraps Champlain Practice

Ron Nelson is easily in the group of favorites in the event and a bonafide Northern expert, so I was eager to hop in the boat for a morning with the smallie snatcher. Champlain isn’t fishing quite like it was the years he won, but Nelson is still guaranteed to have a lot of eyes on him come day one. READ MORE »

Scouting for Smallies with Felix

Scouting for Smallies with Felix

Over the years, a lot of anglers have established impressive records on Lake Champlain, but few have done it as quickly and authoritatively as Austin Felix. READ MORE »

Get to Know Lake Champlain

Get to Know Lake Champlain

Lake Champlain is a giant of a lake. It stretches 100-plus miles from its beginning down south at Whitehall, N.Y., and runs all the way up to the Canadian border between the Green Mountains of Vermont and the Adirondacks in New York. Though the competitors aren’t allowed to venture into Canada, there is still plenty for anglers to break down for the final event of the 2019 FLW Tour season. READ MORE »

Top High Schoolers Headed for Pickwick

Top High Schoolers Headed for Pickwick

This week, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) reservoir touching Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama pulls double duty for a joint production of the High School Fishing National Championship (Wednesday-Friday) and the 10th annual Student Angler Federation High School Fishing World Finals (Wednesday-Saturday). READ MORE »

2019 Lake Champlain Preview

2019 Lake Champlain Preview

Champlain is such a fun location for a tournament in large part because of the unpredictability involved. Nelson winning last year’s Costa FLW Series tilt with all smallmouths was something of a surprise, but given the conditions, it made plenty of sense. Exactly what will go down this year is legitimately up in the air. READ MORE »

By the Numbers: Lake Champlain

By the Numbers: Lake Champlain

The 2019 FLW Tour season comes to a close later this month on Lake Champlain, a lake that just about guarantees a fun finish and lots of smallmouths. READ MORE »