UPCOMING EVENT: YETI FLW COLLEGE FISHING - 2019 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

FWC Preview - Making the Case for Cox

John Cox

It’s bound to start soon – all the yada-yada that 2017 is likely to be the year when the Forrest Wood Cup sees its first two-time winner. Every year we hear it, and every year it doesn’t happen. What’s different about 2017 is that the Cup is on Lake Murray Aug. 11-13, and John Cox is defending his 2016 title. Though Cox and Murray are strangers to each other, if ever there was a body of water suited to his talents, it’s the 50,000-acre lake outside Columbia, S.C.

At the moment, to Cox it’s not so much how Murray fishes as how it looks. He’s never fished it, though he gave it a once-over last year after winning the 2016 Cup on Alabama’s Wheeler Lake. After all the hoopla had died away and everyone had left for home, Cox headed back to his Florida home, but detoured to South Carolina long enough to explore the site of the 2017 Cup. Without wetting a line, he liked what he saw. Because he had a golden pass to the 2017 championship by virtue of winning at Wheeler, he knew he was going to be fishing a lake that, in many respects, was Wheeler Part Deux.

“I was kind of shocked at how big it was; I thought it was a lot smaller,” says the defending Cup champion. “But it has a lot of feeder creeks and coves. In some ways it lays out similar to Hartwell and maybe a little like Santee Cooper [two other South Carolina lakes], which I like to fish, except without all the trees. So it [Murray] looked like a really neat place where there’s going to be lots of shallow fish and some out deeper on all the brush piles. I’m really excited about going back and fishing it.”

Given that Murray is a “really neat place” for somebody to pick up a $100,000-a-day paycheck for winning the Cup, Cox is an automatic favorite, but there are several others whose fishing talents fall right in the same wheelhouse.

Bryan Thrift, Andy Morgan, Scott Canterbury … take your pick, with more to come. Anthony Gagliardi of Prosperity, S.C., won there in 2014 on a variety of lures and “soft” patterns that had him casting for unpredictable schooling bass in the lower lake with a soft-jerkbait rig, using swimbaits to catch bass foraging on blueback herring in shallow grass and fishing brush in the Saluda with a Zoom Ol’ Monster worm.

John Cox

Which all sounds good to Cox, who’s one of the best at exploiting typical heart-of-summer conditions. He won the 2016 Cup fishing a relatively small area in Wheeler’s Cotaco Creek with a bevy of baits – most notable among them a frog. Cox is one of the best frog fishermen in the game, and Michael Bennett dominated the 2008 Forrest Wood Cup at Murray using a frog, but it doesn’t necessarily follow that a frog will do the trick this year.

“I would like it if there was a strong frog bite. That’s kind of dependent on the lake level. It’s more of a higher water situation,” contends Cox. “When I poked around there [Lake Murray] after last year’s Cup the lake seemed fairly low to me, and I felt like maybe 2017 was going to be more for the outside stuff. If it gets a ton of rain, a lot of things will be in play.”

The 2017 Forrest Wood Cup won’t be the endurance test it’s been in years past. Because it’s been shortened by a day to three rounds, Cox thinks that the contestants won’t necessarily have to scramble the last day just to catch a limit.

“It’s hard for a spot to hold up over four days. It’s a whole lot better to milk, say, a brush pile for a couple of days and then scratch something together the third day,” observes Cox. “Even so, at lakes like Murray in the summer, it’s all about toughing it out and showing up in the right place at the right time and throwing the right baits.”

Cox envisions a tournament where anglers such as himself make a zillion flips or pitches a day to cover of one sort or another, while others skip docks or cherry-pick brush piles for a fish or two in each round. The program might also include fishermen such as Gagliardi or Tennessee’s Michael Neal (not that either is locked in yet) anchored down in places where schooling bass are apt to pop up at any time of day.

If the prospect for topwaters is good, many anglers will stay in the main lake; if it’s tougher, they might stay glued to the feeder creeks. None of the probable patterns is better than the next one at this point; it’s all just wait-and-see. And Cox is trying his best not to lock himself into a battle plan before he even shows up at Murray.

“I hope I can talk myself out of going to Murray on the way back from the Potomac tournament,” he says. “Sometimes I’ve made assumptions about a place based on the last time I saw it, and then it’s not like that at all when practice or the tournament rolls around.”

Last year, he didn’t pre-fish Wheeler Lake either. He went in green, practiced for three days and formulated his approach based on what he found in the prequel.

And look how that turned out.

John Cox

Tags: forrest-wood-cup  lake-murray  john-cox  colin-moore  pre-tournament  2017-08-11-forrest-wood-cup 

Marshal Program a Big Hit for Hughes

Marshal Program a Big Hit for Hughes

Retired minister Dan Hughes made the most money he’s ever banked in a fishing tournament, and he did it without even picking up a rod. The 70-year-old Fitzgerald, Ga., resident was the winner of FLW’s marshal contest at the Tour’s second stop of the season at Lake Toho, presented by Ranger Boats. Paired with John Cox on day one and Chris Neau on day two, Hughes’ pros combined for 41 pounds, 10 ounces during his two days on the water to take home the $2,500 top prize. READ MORE »

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Cox Catches 31-Pound Limit, Leads Day One of FLW Tour at Lake Toho Presented by Ranger Boats

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Roaming Kissimmee with Douglas

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Hailing from Minnesota, Josh Douglas is in his third year on the FLW Tour and looking for his first FLW Cup qualification. Were it not for a disqualification in the final event of the year at St. Clair in 2018, Douglas would have sailed into the Cup. After a tough start to the year at Rayburn, he’s planning to get back on track at the FLW Tour event presented by Ranger on Lake Toho. READ MORE »

Burghoff Checks Out Toho on Day 2

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A Look at Lake Toho

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Stop No. 2 of the 2019 FLW Tour takes us to Lake Toho and the several other lakes strung along the Kissimmee River. Presented by Ranger Boats, the tournament will take off from Big Toho Marina on the north end of the namesake lake, but competitors will be able to spread out down the Kissimmee River into Cypress Lake, Lake Hatchineha (Hatch), Lake Kissimmee, and perhaps even Tiger Lake and Lake Rosalie if they’re feeling adventurous. READ MORE »

Spawn on the Horizon at Okeechobee

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By the Numbers: Lake Toho

By the Numbers: Lake Toho

The FLW Tour season opener on Sam Rayburn was a slugfest for sure. Fortunately for fans and anglers alike, the second stop of the season could be just as good, as the Tour heads to Central Florida and Lake Toho and the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes in Kissimmee, Fla., on February 7. READ MORE »

2019 Lake Toho Preview

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FLW Tour Heads to Lake Toho for Four-Day Event Presented by Ranger Boats

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Cecil’s Final Morning of Practice

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FLW Live Schedule for Sam Rayburn

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The 2019 FLW Live seasons kicks off on the big bass factory of Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Brookeland, Texas. Watch your favorite stars such as Scott Martin and Bryan Thrift weigh-in at the FLW Tour season opener, and then follow the weekend action live with the top pros. READ MORE »

Figuring Out Rayburn with Powell

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Hensley Powell has quickly and quietly amassed quite a record with FLW. In just three years fishing the Costa FLW Series, he’s earned over $90,000, and he got a win at Table Rock in the Central Division in 2018. READ MORE »

Sam Rayburn Lake Tour

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This year, the FLW Tour kicks off in Texas with a showdown presented by Polaris on Sam Rayburn. Big Sam hasn’t hosted too many FLW Tour events in the past, but it’s loaded with bass and bass fishing history. The lake is much higher than normal right now, which will no doubt produce different fishing than is typical for winter on Rayburn. READ MORE »

Practice Starts at Rayburn

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Day one of practice for the FLW Tour presented by Polaris on Sam Rayburn started this morning. We hung around takeoff to see friends we haven't seen in months and to get the season underway.  READ MORE »

Childs Holds on for Co-angler Win

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Jay Childs caught two giant largemouths on day one, along with a smaller keeper, to take the early lead at Lake Amistad. Then he survived today for the win with a pair of keepers that included one smallmouth. READ MORE »

High Water will Factor at Rayburn

High Water will Factor at Rayburn

Typical winter fishing on Sam Rayburn would call for a lot of lipless crankbaits, Carolina rigs and a focus on offshore structure and submerged grass. However, for the FLW Tour opener January 10-13 a lot of that may be out the window – or at least a lot different than many of the Rayburn sticks in the field are used to. Sam Rayburn has risen steadily since December 10th, and as of January 3, the lake is at 171.43 feet, which is 7 feet over full pool of 164.4 feet. READ MORE »

By the Numbers: Sam Rayburn

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The 2019 FLW Tour takes to the waters of Sam Rayburn Reservoir Jan. 10-13 for the opening event of the new season. Rayburn can produce some absolute giants in January, and if the weather cooperates, there’s potential for an abundance of massive bags. READ MORE »

Big Bass Expected at Opener on Amistad

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Lake Amistad might not kick out quite as many massive stringers of largemouth bass as it used to, but the legendary south Texas border reservoir is still a factory for big fish. According to local guide and always tournament favorite Ray “Hanselmania” Hanselman, there are some real giants to be caught at Amistad, but they’ll be at a premium when the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division rolls into Del Rio to kick off the 2019 season on Jan. 3 READ MORE »

FLW Cups Honored as 2018 Champions of Economic Impact in Sports Tourism by Sports Destination Management

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