UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 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 

Breaking Down the All-American Field

Breaking Down the All-American Field

When the anglers in the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) All-American start competition on the Potomac they’ll be up against the absolute cream of the crop of FLW’s grassroots ranks. READ MORE »

Table Rock Midday Update – Day 2

Table Rock Midday Update – Day 2

Fishing pressure and a cold front have shut down the bite at Table Rock Lake for stop No. 2 of the Costa FLW Series Central Division season. The lake's largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass are not coming easy. READ MORE »

Spawn in Full Bloom on Table Rock

Spawn in Full Bloom on Table Rock

Stop No. 2 of the Costa FLW Series Central Division should shape up to be quite the catchfest. Coming off of the division opener on Kentucky Lake, where pros were challenged with tough fishing, this week’s event, which is presented by Power-Pole and hosted by Explore Branson, should be stellar in terms of both numbers and quality of fish.  READ MORE »

Going Shallow with Lawyer

Going Shallow with Lawyer

Heading into the sixth stop of the year on Chickamauga, which is presented by Evinrude, Lawyer says he’s looking to go easy and make sure he’s on the road to Hot Springs this August for his third shot at a Cup title. With that in mind, I was happy to hop aboard and see the shallow side of Chickamauga. READ MORE »

FLW Live Schedule for Chickamauga

FLW Live Schedule for Chickamauga

FLW Live is back for 2019 FLW Tour stop No. 6 on the big-fish waters of Lake Chickamauga. The event, which is presented by Evinrude and hosted by Fish Dayton and the Rhea Economic & Tourism Council, runs Thursday, May 2 through Sunday, May 5. READ MORE »

Get to Know Lake Chickamauga

Get to Know Lake Chickamauga

The 2019 FLW Tour event at Lake Chickamauga, which is presented by Evinrude, is hitting the lake before the primary offshore migration has occurred, which means that some ledge fishing will take place, but a whole mess of other patterns should play as well. Here’s a look at where the anglers will be competing this week. READ MORE »

By the Numbers: Lake Chickamauga

By the Numbers: Lake Chickamauga

The FLW Tour’s sixth stop of the season is Lake Chickamauga in east Tennessee. One of the gems of the South for hunting monster bass, the Lake of the Giants promises big fish – and lots of them – and perhaps the best chance of seeing the century mark broken this season. READ MORE »

Hunting Offshore With Setzer

Hunting Offshore With Setzer

If Braxton Setzer wins the FLW Tour’s sixth stop of the season fishing offshore, he has a faulty trolling motor to thank for it. READ MORE »

2019 Lake Chickamauga Preview

2019 Lake Chickamauga Preview

Lake Chickamauga in east Tennessee is a big-bass playground where anglers regularly catch trophy fish that surpass 10 pounds. In early May, it'll host the FLW Tour for the third time in six years. Previous events were held in June, so this stop promises to offer a different look at the Chick. READ MORE »

Big Weights Expected at Santee Cooper

Big Weights Expected at Santee Cooper

The Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division finishes up its 2019 season at the Santee Cooper lakes, Marion and Moultrie, in South Carolina this week. Forty pros and co-anglers will qualify for the championship, and an Angler of the Year will be crowned as the field fishes for hefty postspawn largemouths. READ MORE »

FLW Live Schedule for Cherokee Lake

FLW Live Schedule for Cherokee Lake

FLW Live is back for 2019 FLW Tour stop No. 5 at beautiful Cherokee Lake. The event, which is presented by Lowrance and hosted by the Jefferson County Economic Development Alliance, runs Thursday, April 11 through Sunday, April 14. READ MORE »

Get to Know Cherokee Lake

Get to Know Cherokee Lake

The fifth stop of the FLW Tour is presented by Lowrance and sure to be fun if you like east Tennessee, smallmouths and good fishing (who doesn’t?). Cherokee Lake plays host and promises to both challenge and delight anglers. READ MORE »

Beavers Breaks Down Cherokee

Beavers Breaks Down Cherokee

Beavers started the year off about as badly as he could, finishing 121st at Rayburn, but he’s been on a tear ever since, finishing 54th at Toho before banking back-to-back top 10s at Seminole and Grand. READ MORE »

Scouting Cherokee with LeBrun

Scouting Cherokee with LeBrun

Now in the second half of the Tour season, LeBrun is up against another new lake, and sort of a new species. He says he’s never seen a smallmouth on a bed in his life, and has spent just two days on Cherokee in pre-practice. READ MORE »

2019 Cherokee Lake Preview

2019 Cherokee Lake Preview

Nestled in the hills of east Tennessee, Cherokee Lake is a TVA impoundment on the Holston River, and it sits roughly between Norris Lake (to the northwest) and Douglas Lake (to the southeast). READ MORE »

Prespawn Throwdown on Tap at KY Lake

Prespawn Throwdown on Tap at KY Lake

The Costa FLW Series Central Division hosts its season opener at Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley April 4-6. Instead of a postspawn ledge showdown, like is typical of major multi-day bass-fishing tournaments in the region, this derby should be a prespawn or spawn slugfest, with crankbaits, spinnerbaits, ChatterBaits, umbrella rigs, swimbait and jigs all playing a major role in the outcome. READ MORE »

Get to Know Grand Lake

Get to Know Grand Lake

The fourth stop of the 2019 FLW Tour is presented by Mercury at Grand Lake. Though the Tour last hit the big Oklahoma lake in 2013, Grand sees plenty of tournament action, especially in the spring, and it never fails to deliver drama. READ MORE »

Poking Around Grand with Cortiana

Poking Around Grand with Cortiana

Since starting to fish Costa FLW Series events in 2016, Kyle Cortiana has banked over $100,000 with FLW and finished in the top 10 of the Southwestern Division three times. On the FLW Tour, he’s been a bit less successful, with no top 10s and no FLW Cup qualifications … yet. This year, he’s sitting 35th in the points, with a good chance to go to the Cup, and the FLW Tour presented by Mercury on Grand Lake finally gives him a shot at a Tour event with home field advantage. READ MORE »

Day 1 Practice on Grand with Warren

Day 1 Practice on Grand with Warren

There’s a good crew of Oklahoma anglers on the FLW Tour, but of them, Chad Warren is definitely one of the favorites at Grand Lake. Stop No. 4 of the 2019 FLW Tour, which is presented by Mercury, heads to Grand in the early spring for a prespawn tournament that might feature really good fishing. READ MORE »

2019 Grand Lake Preview

2019 Grand Lake Preview

Grand Lake is situated in Northeast Oklahoma among the foothills of the Ozarks. The impoundment was created in 1940 when the Pensacola Dam was finished along the Grand River. The 46,500-surface-acre reservoir now hosts plenty of recreational opportunities, but more importantly, is also home to some of the best bass fishing in the country. READ MORE »