Forty-five of the best professional bass anglers from across the country began their four-day competition for a top cash award of $500,000 at the Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart, the world championship of bass fishing, at Lake Murray in Columbia, S.C. on Thursday.
Castrol pro David Dudley of Lynchburg, Va., weighed a five-bass limit for 17 pounds, 14 ounces to take the early lead in the tournament. Dudley now holds a solid 3-pound, 5-ounce lead over Repel pro Cody Meyer of Auburn, Calif., and Chevy pro Bryan Thrift of Shelby, N.C., who both caught five bass weighing 14-9 and are tied for second place.
“I’m on par with what I thought I would need,” said Dudley, the 2003 Forrest Wood Cup champion. “I ended up getting some quality bites today, but it’s still a grind. This is a great lake with a lot of fish in it, but this time of the year it is tough fishing everywhere.”
Dudley said that he boated seven keeper bass throughout the day, but it was sporadic and he seemed to catch about one fish an hour. He said that he caught his fish on three different baits, but was not ready to divulge any specifics.
“If you look back at past Cup history, the tournament is usually won by someone who brings in a giant bag,” Dudley said. “Randall Tharp had a giant bag last year. Jacob Wheeler had a giant bag the year before. If a guy can do that, then go into survival mode for the rest of the tournament and weigh in solid limits, they have a good shot of winning. That’s what I hope to do.
“The main factor for me today was trying to manage my time,” Dudley went on to say. “I had to figure out when to concentrate on my deep-water pattern and when to concentrate on shallow water. There was no flurry. I’m going to approach tomorrow the same way.”
The top 20 pros after day one on Lake Murray are:
1st: Castrol pro David Dudley, Lynchburg, Va., five bass, 17-14
2nd: Repel pro Cody Meyer, Auburn, Calif., five bass, 14-9
2nd: Chevy pro Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., five bass, 14-9
4th: Brad Knight, Wartburg, Tenn., five bass, 13-7
5th: Scott Martin, Clewiston, Fla., five bass, 13-6
6th: Brent Ehrler, Redlands, Calif., five bass, 13-5
7th: Chevy pro Anthony Gagliardi, Prosperity, S.C., five bass, 13-2
8th: Livingston Lures pro Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., five bass, 12-10
9th: Rayovac pro Jacob Wheeler, Indianapolis, Ind., five bass, 12-5
10th: Barry Wilson, Birmingham, Ala., five bass, 11-8
11th: Stetson Blaylock, Benton, Ark., five bass, 10-15
12th: Matt Arey, Shelby, N.C., four bass, 10-9
13th: Matt Herren, Ashville, Ala., five bass, 10-4
13th: Matthew Stefan, Junction City, Wis., five bass, 10-4
15th: Straight Talk Wireless pro Scott Canterbury, Springville, Ala., four bass, 10-0
16th: Steve Kennedy, Auburn, Ala., five bass, 9-13,
17th: Michael Wooley, Collierville, Tenn., four bass, 9-8
18th: Walmart pro Mark Rose, West Memphis, Ark., five bass, 9-7
19th: Castrol pro Phillip Jarabeck, Lynchburg, Va., three bass, 9-4
20th: George Foreman pro Dan Morehead, Paducah, Ky., four bass, 9-3
For a full list of results visit FLWOutdoors.com.
Bryan New of Belmont, N.C., leads the co-angler division with four bass weighing 7 pounds, 9 ounces followed by Chris Burgan of Minneapolis, Minn., in second place with one bass weighing 5 pounds, 4 ounces. Co-anglers are fishing for a top award of $50,000.
The top 20 co-anglers are:
1st: Bryan New, Belmont, N.C., four bass, 7-9
2nd: Chris Burgan, Minneapolis, Minn., one bass, 5-4
3rd: Keith Honeycutt, Temple, Texas, two bass, 5-2
4th: Braxton Setzer, Auburn, Ala., two bass, 4-12
5th: Billy Dehart, Burlingame, Calif., two bass, 4-1
5th: Jason Johnson, Gainesville, Ga., two bass, 4-1
7th: Alan Woodford, Winslow, Ind., two bass, 3-15
8th: Richie Eaves, Nauvoo, Ill., two bass, 3-14
9th: Todd Kline, San Clement, Calif., two bass, 3-7
10th: Cody Kelley, Conway, Ark., one bass, 3-6
11th: Chad Randles, Elkhorn, Nev., one bass, 2-9
12th: Hunter Hicks, Charlotte, N.C., one bass, 2-8
13th: Manuel Cruz, Clifton, N.J., one bass, 2-5
14th: Nick Hensley, Cumming, Ga., one bass, 2-4
15th: Shane Melton, Kokomo, Ind., one bass, 1-15
15th: Justin Sward, Birmingham, Ala., one bass, 1-15
17th: Nick Loeffelman Jr., Valles Mines, Mo., one bass, 1-14
18th: Jim Austin, Lithonia, Ga., one bass, 1-11
19th: Theo Corcoran, Waterford, Mich., one bass, 1-8
19th: Bryan Partak, Marseilles, Ill., one bass, 1-8
A full list of results can be found at FLWOutdoors.com.
Anglers will take off from Dreher Island State Park located at 3677 State Park Road in Prosperity, S.C., at 7 a.m. each morning. Weigh-ins will be held at the Colonial Life Arena located at 801 Lincoln St. in Columbia, S.C., beginning at 5 p.m. daily.
Fans will be treated to the FLW Expo at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center located at 1101 Lincoln St. in Columbia, S.C., on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. prior to the weigh-ins. The Expo includes Ranger boat simulators, the Chevy Truck Tour, the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, enjoy games, activities and giveaways provided by more than 40 sponsors, shop the latest tackle and outdoor gear, and learn more about the sport from more than 100 exhibitors. All activities are free and open to the public.
FLW has teamed up with the South Carolina Barbeque Association to feature the “Bass & BBQ” festival presented by The State. Fans enjoying the FLW Expo can sample barbeque from 35 of the state’s top barbeque teams Saturday and purchase their favorites directly from the teams Sunday. Five dollars will get you five 2-ounce samples on Saturday.
Also on Saturday and Sunday, 500 free rods and reels will be given away each day to the first 500 children 14 years and under who are accompanied by an adult. The rod and reel giveaways are courtesy of WLTX News 19. One lucky fishing fan will win a Ranger Z521C powered by a 250-horsepower Mercury outboard. The Ranger boat giveaway is courtesy of 97.5 WCOS-FM and is free to enter, but the winner must be present at the conclusion of Sunday’s final weigh-in to win.
Prior to Sunday’s final weigh-in, country music superstar Rodney Atkins will perform a free live concert on the Walmart weigh-in stage, starting at 4 p.m. The Curb Records recording artist has six No.1 hits, including “These are My People,” “Cleaning this Gun” and “Take a Back Road.”
Coverage of the Forrest Wood Cup will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on NBC when “FLW” airs Oct. 5 from 2-3 p.m. ET. The Emmy-nominated “FLW” television show is hosted by Jason Harper and is broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world.
For complete details and updated information visit FLWOutdoors.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWFishing.
Image courtesy FLW Outdoors