UPCOMING EVENT: FLW Pro Circuit - 2020 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

Our Picks to Win on Ouachita

Our Picks to Win on Ouachita

There’s really no telling who’ll walk away the 2018 Forrest Wood Cup champion after three days of grueling competition at Lake Ouachita Aug. 10-12. Almost anything can happen. A rookie could get on a hot bite, or one of the locals or seasoned veterans could put on a clinic. Nonetheless, it’s fun to predict what might be. We gathered up some prognostications from pros that didn’t make the Cup and FLW staff for a fun look at some possible champs.

FLW Cup details page

 

Colin Moore, FLW Editor Emeritus – Michael Neal

I pick Michael Neal, somebody who has the skills to win, but isn’t regarded as a favorite on the same level as Scott Martin, Bryan Thrift or Mark Rose are likely to be. I base that logic on the fact that every apparent favorite in the last few years – with the exception of Anthony Gagliardi – hasn’t been the guy who held the Forrest Wood Cup over his head at tournament’s end. Not knocking any subsequent champions, but who saw them coming? So, I’m going with a talented guy who still is waiting for his big moment in the sun.

 

Brian Johnson, FLW Communications Specialist – Mark Rose

In just two seasons on the FLW Tour, Mark Rose has managed to win back-to-back events and grab an AOY title. Is there anyone feeling as good as the Arkansas pro right now? Like a few of Rose’s peers, the Forrest Wood Cup is the final piece to his career trifecta (Tour victory, AOY title and a Cup). Rose finished third when the Cup visited Lake Ouachita in 2011, so he’s no stranger to high-pressure situations at the fishery. If momentum is as important as everyone says it is, I think it’s safe to say that Mark Rose will be right in the hunt.

 

Drew Aspinwall, FLW Communications & Social Media Specialist – David Williams

One of the hottest new names on the FLW Tour this year was David Williams. The North Carolina pro proved his versatility by making the cut in four of seven regular-season events. Most impressive was his wire-to-wire win on Smith Lake where Williams took advantage of a shad-spawn pattern. Looking back at previous Cups on Ouachita, everything from shallow to deep patterns could be the ticket to get the dub. I expect Williams to lean on his Carolina run-and-gun style to help him notch his second major win of the year.

 

Jody White, FLW Digital Editor – Justin Atkins

One of these years someone is going to be the first to win two Cups. I don’t see why Justin Atkins can’t be the one to do it, and he may as well go back-to-back for good measure. Atkins has proven convincingly at this point that there isn’t any weakness in his game. He’s scraped up good finishes basically everywhere in just a few years on Tour. Last year’s Cup win was a tour de force, and I think it went a long way toward showing just how composed Atkins is on the water, and how ready he is for the extra pressure of the Cup. Also, with Jordan Lee riding back-to-back Classics, winning the Cup again is really the only way Atkins can answer.

 

Kyle Wood, FLW Senior Editor – Bryan Thrift

It may be the low-hanging fruit, but seriously, how has Bryan Thrift not won a Cup yet? This will be his 12th straight Cup, and since 2012 his worst finish is seventh … poor thing. Obviously, the guy is amazing at catching bass, and he has all of the right skills to excel at this year’s Cup. He is super good with his electronics and finding brush – a tactic that has always been a big player on Ouachita – and he’s also crazy efficient at covering water, which also can be the deal. So, he’s the best of both worlds. Every year seems like a Thrift year to win the Cup, but with the way he’s been fishing lately, 2018 seems like the stars are lining up for it to actually happen. 

 

Jesse Schultz, FLW Senior Website Content Manager – Scott Martin

Scott Martin is one of four anglers that has a chance to be the first two-time Cup winner. He might have the best opportunity this year with the tournament being held on Lake Ouachita, where he won the Cup in 2011. When FLW revisited Lake Ouachita in 2015 Martin fished fifth. Martin is known for fishing for schools on Ouachita's vast deep-water structure. He also knows how to run the banks for cruising summer largemouths. I’m excited to watch this historic event go down on FLW Live and Martin's YouTube channel after the event.

 

Joseph Opager, FLW Director of Public Relations – David Dudley

My pick to win the 2018 Forrest Wood Cup is a former FLW Cup champ – David Dudley. Dudley is a machine on Lake Ouachita. He’s fished five FLW Tour events there, and he’s finished in the top 20 in all five of them – top 10 in three of them. He’s also extremely motivated after a disappointing (by David Dudley standards, at least) 38th-place finish in the 2018 AOY standings. I’m going to make a bold prediction: THIS YEAR will be the year we have a repeat champion, and Dudley has as good of a shot as anybody.

 

Curtis Niedermier, FLW Editor-in-Chief – Zack Birge

Four days of practice at the Cup is a benefit for most anglers in the field, but especially Birge. He won’t need that much time to figure out a shallow bite because he’s a bank-running wizard. That means he’ll still have plenty of time to dabble in the deep grass, the deep brush, the deep timber and all the other offshore stuff at Ouachita to figure out if the deep bite is better, or to figure out how to prepare a deep-shallow combo strategy. I could see him catching a few schoolers or brush fish each morning and then running the banks for big bream eaters once the sun gets up. Regardless, he’s had enough success in the region (Ouachita’s not too far from home for him) to make me think he’ll have a solid game plan – maybe a tournament-winning game plan – come Aug. 10.

 

Tags: flw  pre-tournament  2018-08-10-forrest-wood-cup- 

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