Four North Carolina anglers and three South Carolina anglers will be among the 53 total anglers competing for the FLW Cup’s $300,000 grand prize on Lake Murray Aug. 11 - 13. It’s a homecoming of sorts for Anthony Gagliardi of Prosperity, S.C., who won the Cup the last time it was held here in 2014.
Four of the anglers, Matt Arey of Shelby, N.C., Shane LeHew of Catawba, N.C., Brandon Cobb of Greenwood, S.C., and Gagliardi qualified for this year’s Cup by finishing in the top 35 the 2017 FLW Tour standings. Another, Bryan Thrift of Shelby, N.C. qualified as the 2016 FLW Tour Invitational Winner. Joel Richardson of Kernersville, N.C. qualified by winning the 2016 Costa FLW Series Championship, and Brandon Beavers of Ridgeville, S.C. qualified as a non-champion, top 5 next highest finisher in the Costa Series.
The tournament’s anglers will take off each morning at 7 a.m. from Dreher Island State Park at 3677 State Park Road in Prosperity, and they will weigh in at the Colonial Life Arena on 801 Lincoln Street in Columbia at 5 p.m. each day.
Lake Murray is a 50,000 acre impoundment known for the blueback herring bite, although most local anglers say this hasn’t been much of a factor so far this year. Aside from largemouth bass, a small number of spotted bass are caught each year on this lake, but anglers do not expect them to play a role at all in this tournament.
When the blueback herring bite on open water isn’t working for anglers, they have docks, weeds along the banks, and brush piles to concentrate on.
But there is more to the FLW Cup than the anglers who will be fishing. An expo will take place each day for visitors to see a wide variety of fishing and outdoor related products and vendors. The Expo will begin at 10 a.m. each day at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center on 1101 Lincoln Street in Columbia.