In a normal five-fish-limit tournament, five fish for 21-1 would be nothing to shake your head at, especially when your kicker is a 7-15, and the biggest bass caught in your group. Still, Anthony Gagliardi finds himself sitting in 15th place and 9-12 below the Toro Cut Line.
“If I didn’t catch that 7-15, I could be in a whole lot of trouble,” Gagliardi admitted. “Flipping these laydowns, I’m not going to catch a ton of fish to be able to keep pace with these guys. But I knew I was bound to catch a big one doing this, and I was right.”
While his focus is advancing to the Knockout Round, it’s easy for Gagliardi to find a silver lining in his performance thanks to his Berkley Big Bass of the Day. The South Carolina pro was fishing laydowns in Period 2 when he set the hook on the 7-15 lunker.
“I came up to a laydown I had marked during practice that had some depth to it,” Gagliardi recapped. “I knew when I pulled up it was going to be good. I made a pretty long cast beside the laydown and the fish got it on the fall.”
Gagliardi was using a Berkley PowerBait MaxScent Creature Hawg with a 5/16 tungsten weight to go along with a Level 7-foot-6 Heavy Flippin’ Stick and 50-pound Gamma Torque braid to catch the near-8-pounder. He knows he has work to do if he wants to advance to the Knockout Round, but if his 7-15 holds on for the big bass in his group, Gagliardi admits he wouldn’t be too upset heading home early if it meant he had $25,000.
“Most of the time, that ride home after you get knocked out isn’t a fun one,” Gagliardi said. “But if I’m going home with $25,000 in my pocket, I’m going to be just fine. Don’t get me wrong, I want to win, but it’s nice to have a backup plan.”