Anthony Gagliardi didn’t even have time to savor his Forrest Wood Cup victory on Lake Murray before the naysayers started showing up. He isn’t a good sportsman, say some. His victory should be nullified, say others.
The smear campaign started soon after an alleged incident on the water that was reported on a couple of Web-based bass forums. People jumped to conclusions without knowing the facts, but these days that’s pretty standard operating procedure for some who have nothing better to do than put a negative spin on everything. Read More
When the Forrest Wood Cup came to Lake Murray in August 2008, a pre-tournament storm front threw everything into flux. The schooling bite that some competitors were banking on faded early in the tournament as the falling water temperatures pulled more fish up shallow, including the fish Michael Bennett eventually won with.
In that tournament, Anthony Gagliardi was pretty much all in on the offshore herring bite and when it dropped off so, too, did his chances of competing for a win at his home lake.
He put his eggs in several different baskets last week as the Cup returned to Murray. Not only did he target bass that were pushing bait to the surface over deep water and shallow points, he fished brush that he'd planted in inconspicuous spots in the Little Saluda River. His multi-faceted game plan allowed him to be consistent across all 4 days of the tournament and gave him different options when conditions changed.
He made the weekend cut in 7th place, then moved up to 3rd after day 3 before seizing the victory with a 13-14 stringer on the final day that gave him a 51-02 total and a dramatic 1-ounce win over Scott Canterbury, who's been the runner-up in two of the last three Cups.
"It still hasn't sunk in yet," Gagliardi said Monday afternoon.
He's got plenty of time to allow his triumphant comeback from a DQ at the season opener to wash over him – the next Tour event won't be until next March in Florida. After the win, he reflected on what he learned from having gone through what he did this season.
"I'm super hard on myself when I don't perform or do as well as I think I should," he said. "I get down really easy and it's hard for me to get out of that sometimes. My wife is always trying to encourage me and trying to pull me out of those little slumps. Read more
Photo by Brian Lindberg Never has there been a better ending to a season that began with devastation.
At this point, we all know Anthony Gagliardi's story. He was disqualified from the season opener on Lake Okeechobee. His odds of making the Forrest Wood Cup were slim to none. But Gagliardi overcame those odds. At a near record-setting pace, Gagliardi clawed back for five tournaments, sneaking into the Cup field by one place in the Angler of the Year standings.
It was a storybook tale, and tonight, Gagliardi wrote the final chapter.
In front of a packed hometown crowd at Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, S.C., Gagliardi stunned the bass-fishing world with a final-day limit of 13 pounds, 14 ounces that bumped his tournament total to 51 pounds, 2 ounces - just 1 ounce more than Straight Talk pro Scott Canterbury's final weight. For his victory, Gagliardi was handed a $500,000 check from Forrest L. Wood.
From out to in by one place; from the middle of the pack to champion by 1 ounce - Anthony Gagliardi is the 2014 Forrest Wood Cup champion.
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Chevy pro Anthony Gagliardi of Prosperity, S.C., crossed the stage with a five-bass limit weighing 13 pounds, 14 ounces Sunday to claim the title of Forrest Wood Cup Champion at the Forrest Wood Cup at Lake Murray presented by Walmart. Gagliardi, with a four-day total of 19 bass for 51-2, won by a narrow 1-ounce margin over Straight Talk Wireless pro Scott Canterbury of Springville, Ala., and won the $500,000 prize in professional bass fishing’s world championship that featured 45 of the best professional anglers from across the country casting for the sport’s top cash award of $500,000.
“This is unbelievable,” said Gagliardi, who overcame an early-season disqualification at the first FLW Tour event of the year on Lake Okeechobee and managed to qualify to compete in the Forrest Wood Cup in just five events. “To win the Forrest Wood Cup, no matter where it is, is the most prestigious event that I could win in our sport. But to do it here, in front of all of these people who were rooting for me, it really just makes it so much more special. Read More - Results - Video of Win
Everybody has a fish story. Some are better than others, but it's going to be hard to top the one Anthony Gagliardi has about his 2014 season. Wait until you hear the ending.
Six months ago, he was left questioning whether it was worth fishing the remainder of this year's FLW Tour schedule. In February, he was disqualified for a rules violation that occurred in practice at Lake Okeechobee and figured then his odds of qualifying for the Forrest Wood Cup at Lake Murray (his home lake) were too long to overcome.
After deciding to continue fishing the rest of the schedule, he stormed through the final five events and snuck into the Cup field by 1 point.
This week, he had to deal with the pressures of being the hometown local favorite at the Cup. Sure, he got to sleep in his own bed, but he also had hundreds of places he could've fished and years of experience on the sprawling impoundment, which can sometimes be a detriment. He avoided those pitfalls this week and after day 3, he was in 3rd place, less than 2 pounds off the lead.
On Sunday, he punctuated his incredible comeback in storybook fashion, edging Scott Canterbury by the slimmest of margins – 1 ounce – to capture the Forrest Wood Cup and $500,000 prize in front of an adoring crowd at the Colonial Life Arena in Columba, S.C. The margin of victory would've been 5 ounces had it not been for a dead fish in Gagliardi's bag, but based on the season he had it seemed fitting that the outcome be as close as possible. Read Full Story Bassfan.com