Anthony Gagliardi tried to stay locked in on his primary game plan today, but once 3 p.m. rolled around and he still needed a couple fish to finish his limit, he opted to scrap it in favor of some shallow water. His decision panned out as he caught a 5-04 kicker shallow late in the day.
"It was tough to say the least," he said. "I knew when I started out on the spot I started on yesterday and only caught two 14-inchers I knew at that point it was going to be a tough day. I managed to catch one more there so I left with three and had those in the box until 3 o'clock. That's when I caught that big one at the end of the day."
He said he had a couple chances to finish his limit, but the fish wouldn't totally commit to his bait.
The call to go shallow late in the day ran contrary to what he would typically do under similar conditions, but with his offshore spots not producing, he had other plan Bs.
"Normally, that would be the case with me, too, but I kind of lost confidence in it," he said. " I'd done it enough and even around 10 to noon it should be good then. It's not like it'll all of sudden turn on at 2. If they're not biting at noon, they're probably not biting at 2."
His best fish today was a 3 1/2-pounder he caught up one of the rivers off a spot he looked at but didn't fish yesterday.
"That was a key decision that helped me," he said. "I caught today with four fish what I had about yesterday with five. I'm fairly happy with today, but I left the door open with not having that fifth fish. I'd really like to have that one just because a 2-pounder would put me near the lead. There is no doubt that the fish are here to do it. There are giants that live here. You just have to come across the right ones." Read more
Gagliardi said he'd hoped to leave his first spot today with a couple keepers. He wound up taking a limit by 8:15.
"I lost a couple 4-pounders so I had a chance to better myself a little bit," he said. "I left everything, but I still have a feeling I can get some more bites in there."
He said his long history on Murray isn't a hindrance this week.
"I'm not fishing any memories," he said. "I'm fishing stuff that's been good recently, either from pre-practice or earlier this week. I'm fishing stuff that has or had fish on it. I have a lot of those places. I fished in a lot of different areas of the lake and I skipped over some spots."
After boxing that early limit, he bounced around the lake trying to identify other spots that he could pick over tomorrow.
"I never really came across a place like that where it was happening," he added. "It's probably going to be really key for me to get some quality bites early on." Read more
(Photo by Brian Lindberg) Anthony Gagliardi can still remember the words as they left FLW Director of Tournament Operations Bill Taylor’s mouth and traveled via cellphone signal with a piercing acuity:
“Well, Anthony, I hate to do it, but I’m going to have to disqualify you from the Okeechobee Tour event …”
The words were like barbed wire ripped across Gagliardi’s back.
“It’s still sickening to go back and think about that moment,” Gagliardi recalls. “That was a bad time; I mean a really bad time, the absolute lowest point of my career, without a doubt. Honestly, the thought of throwing in the towel on the whole season did cross my mind.”
Thankfully, he didn’t. The Chevy pro instead did the almost unthinkable, accomplishing a virtual mission impossible: He qualified for the Forrest Wood Cup – being held on his home fishery of Lake Murray – in just five tournaments after being disqualified from the season-opening Tour event on Lake Okeechobee. Read More