Four anglers from the Carolinas are currently in the top 10 of the 2017 FLW Forrest Wood Cup after the first day of competition on Lake Murray. Justin Atkins of Florence, Alabama leads the field with 21-5, even after being penalized for having one dead fish.
Anthony Gagliardi of Prosperity, SC is in second place. Gagliardi weighed in five live fish that tipped the scale at 21-1, which is his biggest bag from any tournament day of this season. Brandon Cobb of Greenwood, SC is in third with 19-12, and would have fared even better if two of his fish had not died before the weigh in. Anglers are penalized for dead fish with weight reductions of their overall weight.
Bryan Thrift of Shelby, NC is in fourth place. Thrift caught five fish that weighed 19-4, and Catawba, NC’s Shane Lehew finished day one in tenth place with 15-7 after being penalized for one dead fish among his five-fish limit.
Matt Arey of Shelby, NC is in sixteenth place with 12-3, and Joel Richardson of Kernersville, NC is in eighteenth place with a weight of 10-15. Bradford Beavers of Ridgeville, SC is in thirtieth place with 9-7. Beavers caught only four fish, and one was dead at the scales, costing him a penalty.
Thirty of the 53 anglers fishing today caught a limit of five fish, and every angler caught at least one fish. Of the 207 fish brought to the weigh-in, 191 were alive, meaning that 92.2 percent of them were released to fight another day.
The tournament resumes tomorrow at 7 a.m. out of Dreher Island State Park, and Saturday’s weigh-in will take place at the Colonial Coliseum at 5 p.m. All 53 anglers will fish on Saturday, and the top 10 after Saturday’s weigh-in will move on to fish Sunday.
Day one was tough for some anglers, but for those at the top, it was just another day of fishing. Mark Rose, a mainstay on the FLW Tour for many years, and an 11-time Cup participant, managed only two fish that weighed 1-8. Rose gave credit to the anglers in the top 10, and said he just didn’t get it done today.
Offshore fishing near schooling herring seems to be the key so far, and a good portion of the top 10 are anglers who utilized that tactic at least some. Many anglers in this field have no experience fishing this way. Herring are not native to most of the lakes fished on the Tour, so this gives local anglers a leg-up. They’ll need to capitalize on that advantage tomorrow to make it into day three.
For more information on how the day went, and for a full schedule of events at Saturday's Expo, visit FLW Fishing.