Bass pro Davy Hite said that when the FLW Forrest Wood Cup championship kicks off this week at Lake Murray, the winning fisherman is not likely to be a one-trick pony.
“I think it will take a very versatile fisherman to win,” said Hite, a former winner of the FLW Tour’s championship who lives in Ninety Six. “I think it’s going to be a tough tournament. This time of year is not the best time to be fishing.
“You’ll have some fish really deep and some on the bank. There might be some fish out in 60 or 70 feet of water, then you go down a bank and see one cruising in six inches of water.”
The tournament will run from Thursday, Aug. 14, through Sunday, Aug. 17. The 45-man field will be cut to 20 after Friday’s second day of competition. The winner will receive $500,000.
Anglers will take off from Dreher Island State Park at 7 a.m. the four mornings of competition. Weigh-ins will begin at 5 p.m. daily at the Colonial Life Arena. The FLW Expo for fans will be held at the Metropolitan Convention Center in Columbia on Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Lake Murray is Hite’s home water, and he’s probably as knowledgeable as anyone about the 50,000-acre Midlands reservoir.
"If I was fishing the tournament, I would have to try and have an early morning pattern, then a pattern for the rest of the day. You have to be versatile to win,” he said. “I talked to a few of the fishermen when they were down here practicing, and they told me pretty much what I expected to hear.”
Hite believes that the best bass bite will likely be in the upper end of the lake, but that there’s likely to be too much pressure up there for the rivers that feed Murray to produce a winner.
“I don’t think anybody is going to win fishing a single bait, and I think it will be won down the lake,” he said. “Up the lake, the fishermen will beat each other up, even with only 50 boats. If you get on really good fish up there, they’ll get beat on, and by the third day, a shallow pattern up there won’t hold up.
“I don’t think somebody is going to find a pattern up the lake that he can have to himself. Even if just two people get on a good stretch, you’re talking about two limits each for three days, and at five fish apiece, that’s 30 fish. It will be hard to keep that going.
“You’re going to have to stay positive and understand that it’s not gonna take 20 pounds a day to win.”