The Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of professional bass fishing, will return to Lake Murray Country, Aug. 11 to 13, to crown bass fishing’s top angler of 2017.
Hosted by the Capital City Lake Murray Country Regional Tourism Board, the tournament will feature 53 of the world’s best bass-fishing professionals casting for the sport’s biggest award – $300,000 cash.
Anglers of local interest taking part in the tournament include: Darrel Robertson, Jay/Grove, Zach Birge, Blanchard, Oklahoma, and Jeremy Lawyer, Sarcoxie, Missouri.
The Forrest Wood Cup has taken place at Lake Murray, the Jewel of South Carolina, twice, in 2008 and 2014.
Michael Bennett of Lincoln, California, won the 2008 Forrest Wood Cup fishing with a frog. Bennett ran all around the lake, targeting shade and a variety of shallow cover, fishing new water each day.
The 2014 Forrest Wood Cup went to local favorite Anthony Gagliardi of Prosperity, South Carolina, who fished points and some upriver brush the first couple of days, but relied mostly on offshore schooling bass to earn the win.
“The key factor in this year’s event will be catching a five-pounder every day,” Gagliardi said. “The lake is fishing really good – similar to 2014 – but there are also some differences.
"There is a lot more grass and vegetation this year. The fish are a little bigger, and there won’t be co-anglers fishing in this tournament. But the patterns will be similar to 2014, and guys will be doing a lot of the same things to catch fish.”
Blueback-chasing schoolers and shallow bluegill eaters dominated the 2014 event, and topwater baits were the predominant tactic, but a few other patterns emerged, including drop-shotting, dragging on offshore structure and fishing a mayfly hatch far up the Saluda River.
“I think that guys fishing shallow will have a good chance, but the offshore guys should do well, too,” Gagliardi continued. “Everybody is going to be able to fish to their strengths and I think that it is likely that we will see a 20-pound limit or two.”
At the 2014 Forrest Wood Cup, Gagliardi earned the win over Quaker State pro Scott Canterbury of Odenvile, Alabama, by just one ounce. Canterbury – known for being one of the best shallow-water power fisherman on Tour – will also be one of the 53 anglers competing this year and is considered by many competitors to be a favorite in the event.
“I’ve finished in second place at the Forrest Wood Cup twice in my career, including at Lake Murray in 2014,” Canterbury said. “It’s a title that has eluded me and to win it would mean everything for my career. I really enjoy fishing at Lake Murray and I can’t wait to get out there.”
Anglers will take off from Dreher Island State Park located at 3677 State Park Road in Prosperity, at 7 a.m. EDT each morning at the Folger’s Morning Takeoff. Each day’s weigh-in will be held at the Colonial Life Arena located at 801 Lincoln St., in Columbia, beginning at 5 p.m.
Fans will be treated to the FLW Expo at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center located at 1101 Lincoln St. in Columbia, each day from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. prior to the weigh-ins.
The Expo includes games, activities and giveaways provided by more than 40 FLW sponsors, the opportunity to shop the latest tackle and outdoor gear from more than 100 exhibitors, Ranger boat simulators, a casting pond and a trout pond for children, as well as the opportunity to meet and interact with top professional anglers, including Hank Parker, Jimmy Houston and Byron Velvick.
FLW’s namesake Forrest L. Wood, the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, will also greet fans.
On Saturday and Sunday the first 500 children 14 and under each day who are accompanied by an adult will receive a voucher to redeem for a free Kid Caster’s no-tangle, rod-and-reel combo courtesy of WLTX 19 after the evening’s weigh-in.
Also on Sunday one lucky fishing fan will win a brand new Ranger Z521C bass boat with a 250-horsepower Evinrude outboard motor courtesy of 97.5 WCOS radio. The Ranger Boat giveaway is free to enter but the winner must be present at the conclusion of Sunday’s final weigh-in to win.
Also on Saturday and Sunday, FLW fans will be treated to the Bass & BBQ Festival in conjunction with the FLW Expo. FLW and the South Carolina BBQ Association have partnered to feature award-winning BBQ teams offering delicious fare to visitors at the Forrest Wood Cup Expo. A portion of all proceeds will be donated to local South Carolina charities.
Country music superstar Easton Corbin will perform a free concert on the weigh-in stage at Colonial Life Arena on Sunday starting at 4 p.m., prior to the final weigh-in. The concert is presented by 97.5 WCOS radio. With two No. 1 singles, multiple awards and nominations, plus performances on some of the biggest stages in the world, Mercury Nashville’s Corbin has made a lasting impression on the country music landscape. He is lauded for his traditional country sound, authentic lyrics and mastery of understatement.
The Folger’s Morning Takeoff, FLW Expo, Bass & BBQ event, live concert and weigh-ins are all free and open to the public.
Television coverage of the 2017 Forrest Wood Cup will premiere in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) Sept. 27 from Noon to 1 p.m. EDT. The Emmy-nominated "FLW" television show airs on NBCSN, the Pursuit Channel and the World Fishing Network 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 a full schedule of events, complete details and updated information visit FLWFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWFishing.