PSJ angler set to defend Forrest Wood Cup

Randall Tharp

Randall Tharp

Published: Thursday, August 7, 2014 at 09:16 AM.

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.

Defending Forrest Wood Cup champion Randall Tharp of Port Saint Joe, Fla., will be one of the 45 anglers competing in the championship event. Fishing against 179 of the best anglers in the world on the Walmart FLW Tour, Tharp finished the season ranked No. 27 in the Kellogg’s Angler of the Year race and qualified for the fifth Forrest Wood Cup appearance of his career. If he wins, Tharp will be the first angler to ever win the prestigious championship twice.

One of the anglers competing against Tharp is Chevy pro Anthony Gagliardi, who lives on Lake Murray and is considered an early favorite.

“The most exciting thing about this tournament is that it’s being held in my backyard,” said Gagliardi. “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.

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