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
PARIS LANDING, Tenn. - Under normal circumstances a pro doesn’t get overly excited about placing 48th in a tournament, but you would have thought that Anthony Gagliardi had won the way he reacted after Friday’s second-round weigh-in here on the shores of Kentucky Lake in the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Evinrude.
Though the Chevy pro didn’t make the cut and won’t fish Saturday, he did learn that he had qualified for the Forrest Wood Cup, a goal that had seemed virtually impossible to him in February. Because of an inadvertent rules infraction, Gagliardi was disqualified from the first Walmart FLW Tour event of the year – at Lake Okeechobee – and faced a steep uphill climb through the season to earn a berth in the championship. It takes place August 14-17 on Lake Murray near Columbia, S.C. It will mark Gagliardi’s 10th appearance as a pro in the Forrest Wood Cup.
“Release, relief, elation combined with just about every other emotion you could imagine – that’s what I feel right now,” says Gagliardi. “To be honest about it, I thought my season was pretty well laid out for me when I learned I was disqualified. I planned to fish every tournament and do the best I could, but I didn’t feel any pressure because I felt it [qualifying for the Forrest Wood Cup] was such a long shot. But then I had a good tournament at Hartwell [seventh place], and as it went along I started thinking that it was possible. And that’s when I started feeling the pressure.”
After Hartwell, the FLW Angler of the Year in 2006 finished 30th at Sam Rayburn, 13th at Beaver Lake and 46th at Pickwick Lake in early June. By then, it was apparent that Gagliardi’s season was riding on this, the last qualifying tournament of the year.