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FLW Cup Predictions

FLW Cup Predictions

With the FLW Cup just a little over a week away on Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Ark., anticipation is starting to grow. We wrangled several FLW staff members and FLW Tour pros who aren’t fishing this year’s Cup and asked them to give their take on who will win and how it’ll be done, along with any other prediction they have. 

Below is their take of what will go down Aug. 9-11.

 

Jeremy Lawyer

Curtis Niedermier – Editor-in-Chief

Who wins? 

Jeremy Lawyer – He's fishing better than ever and is an expert at fishing docks, brush and clear water.

What wins? 

Morning topwater. My bet is the winning fish come in the first 90 minutes each day.

Bold prediction: 

We have a wire-to-wire champ that wins big.

 

Bryan Thrift

Todd Hollowell – FLW Live co-host and former FLW Tour pro

Who wins? 

Bryan Thrift – His junk-fishing and fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants fishing style are likely the exact ingredients needed to win at Lake Hamilton in August. Multiple patterns may come into play, and the ability to figure out each day on its own will play right into Thrift's strengths. Plus, it's his time. Bryan is one of the best this sport has ever seen, and this Cup is ripe to be his for the taking. 

What wins? 

Morning schooling bite and afternoon dock bite. When the schooling fish don't show up one day, the pro who has a backup pattern will take over the lead and finish at the front of the pack. 

Bold prediction: 

Multiple anglers will make the Top 10 and advance to day three from the grassroots-level qualifiers. These anglers could come from either the Costa Championship, BFL All-American, TBF National Champion, or FLW College Fishing. 

 

John Cox

Joe Opager – Director of Public Relations

Who wins? 

John Cox – He’s just had arguably the best season of his career and is the best in the world with topwater baits and finding secluded water that he has all to himself.

What wins? 

Frogs and buzzbaits. They just get big bites.

Bold prediction:

Hot Springs shatters FLW attendance records and the 2019 FLW Cup and Expo becomes the highest-attended FLW Cup event in history.

 

Bradford Beavers

Justin Onslow – Associate Editor

Who wins?

Bradford Beavers – I have a good feeling about Beavers, who just turned in one heck of a rookie season. He also has two Cup appearances under his belt (2017 and 2018) in which he made a top 10 and just missed the cut. He knows how to prepare and the big stage isn’t going to bother him. 

What wins?

Dock-fishing. Hamilton is littered with docks. Some quality fish will be weighed via other patterns, but the winning ones are going to be pulled from under and behind docks with finesse baits and flipping rigs.

Bold prediction:

A superstar trifecta.

The FLW Cup and its smaller-than-usual tournament field present opportunities for lesser-known anglers to do big things. It’s been a long time since the prohibitive favorite triumphed in the championship. Still, if I were a betting man, I’d put my money on more than one of the biggest names of the sport finishing in the top 10. Give me John Cox, Bryan Thrift and David Dudley – not just one, but all three of them – finishing in the top 5 this year. 

 

Bryan Thrift

Peter T - FLW Live co-host and former FLW Tour pro

Who wins?

Bryan Thrift – He’s versatile and can go from deep to shallow quickly. This event may require a combination of patterns to win.

What wins?

Crankbaits and topwaters. In open water, a mid-depth crankbait will catch fish. Topwater will work for schoolers and up shallow.

Bold prediction:

We’ll see at least one 6- to 7-pound fish pulled from the waters of Lake Hamilton. 

 

David Dudley

Drew Aspinwall – Social Media Specialist

Who wins?

David Dudley – It’s hard to bet against a guy who just won AOY and notched back-to-back top-10 finishes on Tour. 

What wins?

A combo of shallow and deep patterns will win. Whoever can scrape up what they can on the bank, then go find a few big girls in the brush piles gets the dub.

Bold prediction:

We see an 8-pounder caught at some point in the tournament. The whole Florida-strain-largemouth talk has me itching to see a giant.

 

Brian Latimer

Jody White – Digital Editor

Who wins?

Brian Latimer – He’s from the Carolinas, so he’s got experience fishing in tough, summertime tournaments. He’s also having a great year.

What wins?

Guys will catch them from brush and docks and also find some schooling fish. It may not be all three every day, but it’ll take a variety. 

Bold prediction:

Either one of the FLW College Fishing champions – Adam Puckett or Blake Albertson – will finish in top 10. 

 

Joseph Webster

Kyle Wood – Senior Editor

Who wins?

Joseph Webster – Fresh off the best season of his career, Webster is a prime candidate to win the Cup. He’s great at fishing offshore, skilled in chasing schooling fish and can run the bank with the best of them. His southern roots also have prepped him for handling some of the toughest fishing conditions an angler can face – summertime in the south – and he wouldn’t have it any other way. 

What wins?

A mix of everything Hamilton can offer, from schooling fish in the morning to skipping docks late in the day and everything in between. 

Bold prediction:

While fishing may be tough on Hamilton, there is a decent chance we could see one of the heaviest single-day bags ever weighed in Cup history. Brandon Cobb weighed 19 pounds, 12 ounces on Lake Murray in 2017 to take the 10th spot, while David Fritts holds the record with 23-1 on Lake Ferguson in 1997 – so the bar is pretty high – but there are big fish that roam Hamilton and a 20-pound sack is doable. 

 

Bryan Thrift

Evan Barnes – FLW Tour pro 

Who wins?

Bryan Thrift – He’s hard to beat, in my opinion, and I think it’s going to take a few different ways to catch them on Hamilton, and he’d be my pick for that. Plus, he’s kind of on a heater. 

What wins?

They’re going to have to catch them shallow and deep. Also, I think you’ll have to mix in some schooling fish. I highly doubt someone wins it completely shallow or completely deep. 

Bold prediction:

Fishing will be tougher than what people may expect. I wouldn’t be surprised if only 33 pounds wins it. If we don’t have weather like a storm or a cloudy, windy day, it’s going to be brutal. Though, I will say that somebody will bust a good bag – probably 16 or 17 pounds for sure. 

 

Larry Nixon

Greg Bohannan – FLW Tour pro

Who wins

Larry Nixon – Last time the Cup was on Hamilton, George Cochran won it, and he and Larry are best friends. Larry has fished the lake several times and he’s just due.

What wins?

It’s going to be a simple Texas rig in brush piles – newly placed around specific docks. 

Bold prediction:

Weights will be much better than predicted. Hamilton is fishing much better than it has over the years and we’ll see more fish caught than in past Cups in Hot Springs. 

Tags: article  2019-08-09-flw-cup-lake-hamilton 

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