UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Grand Lake

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Hunting for a Cup With Canterbury

Hunting for a Cup With Canterbury
Scott Canterbury

Scott Canterbury doesn’t need a Forrest Wood Cup victory to validate his 2018 season or his career in professional fishing. He just doesn’t think about that. 

Sure, the Odenville, Ala., pro has thought about it before, like when he came up 1 ounce short of winning the Cup in 2014 and instead saw Anthony Gagliardi hoisting the biggest prize in fishing. The same goes for 2012 when he took second to Jacob Wheeler and had his first brush with a potential Cup victory.

“All you can do is fish as hard as you can fish,” says Canterbury during day one of practice on Lake Ouachita. “You can’t dwell on it. You can’t think about it.”

Canterbury’s wife, Dixie, has a rule: 24 hours to dwell on it and then move on. He admits he may have needed an extra 24 after the 2014 Cup.

But the 2018 Cup is business as usual for the 11-year pro, who has 42 top-10 finishes to his name. He finished eighth in the Angler of the Year standings and doesn’t need to prove anything to anyone. Consistency is his calling card, and Canterbury shows it every tournament, every practice day, every cast.

Canterbury was gracious enough to host a ride-along on day one of practice to get a closer look at the process that leads to what has been a consistently successful career.

A 6:15 a.m. launch has Canterbury checking brush piles by 6:30. It’s been a few weeks since he was last at Ouachita for Cup pre-fishing when the heat index was 115, water temperature was closing in on 100 and the water level was a little higher than it is now.

It’s still hot, but the early morning temperatures give Canterbury some relief to bounce around between brush piles while looking for feeding schools of bass. He sets up in nearly 30 feet of water and starts throwing an 11-inch Netbait C-Mac Worm hoping to tempt something out of the brush. 

At 6:50, he finds some success in the form of a beautiful striper.

“That was a good way of finding out what’s down there,” he says. “There was about 100 of them down there all running together.”

Canterbury decides it’s a good time to start burning some topwaters so he moves spots, and conversation turns back to the heat and Canterbury’s competitive spirit.

“This game is a lot mental,” he says. “A lot of it is just as much mental as it is physical.”

Canterbury likes that. He wants the conditions to be miserable because it gives him an advantage over competitors who can’t stand the heat.

“I want it to be 110 degrees every day.

“To win here, you don’t need a lot of bites. You need the right bites.”

Canterbury knows how tough Ouachita is going to fish this week. There's no consensus on the quality of the fishing in the grass, and ultra-clear water, high temperatures and deep water can make it hard to find the right fish at the right times.

It all comes back to consistency and a level playing field. All 56 anglers have to deal with the same conditions and figure out the right ways to catch them. Canterbury’s experience is a big advantage over the younger anglers who can’t figure out a lake in four days as well as Canterbury can in two.

At 7:20, Canterbury hooks into a keeper largemouth while burning a topwater along a windy, rocky point. It’s a technique Canterbury loves and says he’d do it all day if it caught him fish. Of course, there isn’t a technique he wouldn’t employ all day if it earned him a lot of big bites.

“I get $10,000 if I sit at the ramp and eat crackers, but I’m not going to do that," he says.

The guaranteed payday for all 56 Cup anglers means no one is worrying about hitting singles and taking walks. It’s home runs or strikeouts at the Cup. There’s pressure to win, sure, but no one is walking away from this derby empty-handed.

“We fish against the best in the world, but I don’t ever think about that,” Canterbury says. “I do my part, and I’ll be good.”

It’s 8:50 now, and Canterbury is back to running the lake looking for schools of feeding fish. His topwater experiments worked well enough to know it’s safe to move on to figuring out the deep bite. 

It doesn’t take long to notice a big school of spotted bass in a frenzy. If you’re in the right area at the right time, they’re pretty hard to miss.

Canterbury hooks into one and notices the fish spitting up baitfish as he brings it in.

“Catch fire on those pretty easy and it’ll be good,” he says. “If the spots have gotten bigger, it definitely will play this week.”

There’s isn’t much wasted time when Canterbury is practicing. With close to a dozen rods on the deck and little need to tie on new baits, he’s casting big worms to search deep brush piles, burning a buzzbait around standing timber and tossing spoons and swimbaits at any fish that decides to show itself in open water. It’s a furious pace, and each cast is giving Canterbury new information or confirming what he already suspects.

“I’ve had more bites today than when I was here a few weeks ago,” he says, before the conversation turns to vegetation.

“When there’s deep hydrilla like there is here, there’s always a possibility to win on that.”

But vegetation isn't plentiful in the section of Ouachita Canterbury is fishing. It’s mostly rocky points, standing timber and a bunch of brush.

At 10:50, Canterbury finally sees a highly encouraging sign in the form of a wolf pack of largemouths; four or five in the 4-pound range. He doesn’t cast to the group of roamers but marks the spot with his electronics and moves on down the bank. He’s looking for more wolf packs and the possibility of a honey hole no one else knows about.

The ensuing hour before Canterbury drops off his reporter is spent fishing more rocky banks and a couple more brush piles with varying results. He hasn’t found any monsters yet, but he knows they’re out there. It’s an encouraging first six hours of practice.

Ouachita is a big lake, and he's only seen a small portion of it in those six hours. Canterbury hints at making a “drastic move,” perhaps to the opposite end of the lake, before he backs away from the boat ramp at Brady Mountain and coasts through the no-wake zone back into the main lake.

Everyone expects Ouachita to be a tough riddle to solve this week, but if anyone can do it, Canterbury can. After more than a decade on Tour and a resume full of top 10s, it would be foolish for anyone to think Canterbury can’t solve Ouachita and make another run at a Cup victory.

It’s been another tremendous season for Canterbury, but he’s not satisfied yet. He’s hungry.

So are the fish, and he’s going to find them.

 

Tags: justin-onslow  pre-tournament  2018-08-10-forrest-wood-cup- 

Ebare Eyes Strong Finish

Ebare Eyes Strong Finish

Ebare loves to fish. A lot. And he’s fished in 20 FLW events so far in 2019. His 21st will be the Costa FLW Series Championship at Lake Cumberland at the end of October, at which he hopes to earn his first win in FLW competition. READ MORE »

Floyd Cashes in on Guntersville

Floyd Cashes in on Guntersville

Last weekend, Floyd added to his already lengthy list of accomplishments with a T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) Regional victory on Lake Guntersville – the tournament was presented by Mercury – with a 44-pound, 15-ounce three-day total, and it all came down to consistency and some really good decision-making. READ MORE »

Newberry Wins Southwestern Division AOY

Newberry Wins Southwestern Division AOY

It was sweet redemption in many ways for the Texas legend who still owns and operates his Houston-based HVAC company despite spending so much time on the tournament-fishing circuit. Redemption for missing out on the FLW Cup in his first season. Redemption for what Grand did to him earlier this year on Tour (dropping from sixth to 41st with only one fish on day two). And, in a way, validation for a career filled with big accomplishments. READ MORE »

Eyes on the Weather at Lake of the Ozarks

Eyes on the Weather at Lake of the Ozarks

Wrapping up the Costa FLW Series Central Division with an early fall stop at Lake of the Ozarks has become a tradition over the last few years. This year, the final stop of the season is presented by Evinrude and takes place Oct. 10-12, which should be good timing for a number of patterns to play. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Grand Lake

Top 10 Patterns from Grand Lake

Curt Warren knew what he wanted to do, and it had nothing to do with weeding through a bunch of small fish up shallow. Rather, he focused his attention on deeper Grand Lake spots with chunk rock and brush and amassed a three-day total of 46 pounds, 7 ounces to win the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine. Here’s how the rest of the top 10 caught their fish and earned their checks on Grand. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Grand Lake

Top 10 Baits from Grand Lake

A cold front moving in at the start of Grand Lake’s fall transition put a damper on seeing a bunch of big weights during the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, which was presented by T-H Marine, but plenty of pros managed to find the right fish to make things exciting on the final day. READ MORE »

Transition Time at Grand Lake

Transition Time at Grand Lake

Grand Lake has been flooded for most of the summer, and, as a result, it hasn’t received as much fishing pressure as is typical for one of the premier fisheries in the region. Weights for the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine, have the potential to be outstanding for this time of year, but it may all come down to what the weather decides to do leading up to the event. READ MORE »

The Cal Delta is Looking Good

The Cal Delta is Looking Good

This week the Costa FLW Series Western Division will conclude with the final event of the season on the California Delta. The tournament, which is presented by Power-Pole, should showcase a different side of the Delta, given that most of the Western Division tournaments on the famed fishery take place in the spring. That said, last year’s event on the Delta fell on nearly identical dates as this year and could be a good tease for how things may shake out this time around. READ MORE »

Hough is Fighting to Fish

Hough is Fighting to Fish

Fishing just her second full season as a co-angler in the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) South Carolina Division, mother of two and first-grade teacher Kate Hough was planning and preparing for a chance to do something no woman has ever done in her division: win Co-Angler of the Year. Instead of preparing for the Super Tournament on Lake Hartwell on Sept. 28, however, Hough is simply fighting to leave her hospital bed. READ MORE »

Big Smallmouths, Big Water for Season Finale

Big Smallmouths, Big Water for Season Finale

Any tournament with smallmouths in it is a good one, but when the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits heads to the St. Lawrence River it's usually a show-stopper. This year’s event, which is presented by Realtree Fishing, shouldn’t be any different as the Northern Division looks to close its season out on one of the best smallmouth fisheries in the world September 19-21. READ MORE »

Khourie, Lingnau Win 2019 FLW South Africa Championship

Khourie, Lingnau Win 2019 FLW South Africa Championship

Team Khourie/Lignau, consisting of Pieter Khourie and August Lingnau of the North West region, came roaring back on day three of the 2019 FLW South Africa Championship with a five-bass limit of 10.55 kg (23.25 pounds) to take the top spot and beat out Greg Schluep and Giulio Nolli of Team Secret VC for the title. READ MORE »

Checking in with Walters After the Cup

Checking in with Walters After the Cup

Walters, 41, of Grant Valkaria, Fla., is getting back to business as usual following his remarkable Cup showing, and we checked in with him to find out what his experience in Hot Springs was like and what’s on tap for the future – including a possible FLW Tour career. READ MORE »

Make the Most of Whopper Ploppers

Make the Most of Whopper Ploppers

“For me, I’m slowly but surely starting to get faith [in the Whopper Plopper] in other parts of the country, but from Hot Springs up to the Ozarks, that’s kind of my go-to,” says LeBrun. “When I’m up there in those Ozark-style lakes, it’s one of the first things that pops into my head.” READ MORE »

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 »

Green Has Experience of Lifetime at Cup

Green Has Experience of Lifetime at Cup

Winning $2,500 might be the highlight of a trip for a lot of people, but for Leroy Green, winner of the FLW Tour Marshal program at the 2019 FLW Cup on Lake Hamilton, the cash prize was secondary to the relationships he forged out on the water. READ MORE »

Henderson Holds Steady to Take FLW-KBF Cup Crown

Henderson Holds Steady to Take FLW-KBF Cup Crown

Even with day-one leader Eric Jackson taking a massive lead into the final day of competition and 70 more of the best kayak anglers on the planet behind him, Clint Henderson did what he said he was going to do. He won the Dee Zee FLW/KBF Cup presented by YakAttack and the $15,000 top prize. 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 »

Jackson Crushes on Day One of FLW-KBF Cup

Jackson Crushes on Day One of FLW-KBF Cup

Eric Jackson is simply a hammer fishing from a kayak. The FLW Tour pro and owner of Jackson Kayak is fresh off an individual and team gold-medal-winning performance in the 2019 Pan Am Bass Kayak Championship (not to mention a third-place finish in the final 2019 FLW Tour event on Lake Champlain), and his five-fish limit of 98.25 inches on day one of the Dee Zee FLW/KBF Cup presented by YakAttack puts him in stellar position to earn another victory on Saturday. READ MORE »

Alan Reed Dishes on FLW-KBF Cup Practice

Alan Reed Dishes on FLW-KBF Cup Practice

We caught up with Reed after his practice on Wednesday to get the scoop on how Ouachita is fishing and what the outlook is for the two-day event that begins Friday and runs concurrently with the FLW Cup on neighboring Lake Hamilton. 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 »