COLUMBIA, S.C., July 30, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart, the world championship of bass fishing, will return to Lake Murray and the Columbia, S.C. area Aug. 14-17 to crown bass fishing's top angler of 2014. Hosted by Capital City/Lake Murray Country Regional Tourism, the tournament will feature 45 of the world's best bass pros and co-anglers casting for the sport's biggest awards – $500,000 cash in the pro division and $50,000 cash in the co-angler division.
"The most exciting thing about this tournament is that it's being held in my backyard," said Chevy pro Anthony Gagliardi of Prosperity, S.C., who will be making his 10th Forrest Wood Cup appearance. "I disappointed myself the last time that the Cup was held here in 2008 and I didn't think that I would ever have this opportunity again. To get another chance to possibly win $500,000 in front of my hometown crowd is a dream come true."
Gagliardi said that he expects this tournament to play out very similar to the last time the Forrest Wood Cup was held on Lake Murray and that the tournament could be won with a variety of different tactics, allowing competitors to fish to their strengths.
"Some guys will be catching fish shallow, some guys will be catching them out deep," Gagliardi said. "I think that the majority of the field will most likely be fishing a combination of both. There will be a lot of junk fishing going on. You can look at the results from the last time and get a really good idea of how this one will play out."
The 2008 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Murray was won by California pro Michael Bennett, who "junk-fished" for the first two days of competition, moving down the bank casting to "junk" – lay-downs, trees, grass, docks or anything else that could hold fish. Bennett then moved shallow for the final two days of competition and fished a topwater frog around docks with grass to seal his win and earn the title of Forrest Wood Cup champion.
"I think that if a guy can catch 11 pounds a day, he'll make it through to the weekend top-20 cut," Gagliardi said. "I think the winner is going to have a four-day total right around 60 pounds.
"Every time we bring the show to town we always get a great crowd," Gagliardi went on to say. "I've gotten an overwhelming amount of 'good lucks' and well wishes from everybody in the community, and I think the fans are really going to be in for a treat. If you were at the last one, the Cup is going to be even bigger and better this time."
Gagliardi's sentiments were shared by his fellow competitor Castrol pro David Dudley, the 2003 Forrest Wood Cup champion.
"I'm most excited to be competing for a half a million dollars," the Lynchburg, Va., native said. "Winning the Forrest Wood Cup in 2003 helped to anchor my career. I want it again. No one has ever won the Cup twice, and I would love to become the first angler to accomplish that feat."
Dudley agreed that the winning competitor would most likely be fishing a mixture of both shallow- and deep-water patterns.
"This tournament could literally be won any way," Dudley said. "I think the tournament is going to fish very similar to 2008, and it is going to be a grind. The winner will probably average right around 14 pounds per day."
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.
FLW is the industry's premier tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money nationwide in 2014 over the course of 229 tournaments across five tournament circuits, four of which provide an avenue to the sport's richest payday and most coveted championship trophy – the Forrest Wood Cup. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated "FLW" television show 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 more information about FLW visit FLWOutdoors.com and look for FLW on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.