Photo Jody White - Back in 2014, a lost 5-pounder late on the final day by Scott Canterbury opened the door for Anthony Gagliardi to overtake him by an ounce and win the FLW Cup on Lake Murray. Gagliardi now knows what it feels like to be on the other end.
Already with the biggest bag of the tournament sitting in his livewell the final day, the local favorite had one 3-pound, 9-ounce bass he wanted to cull out. He hooked the fish to do it, a 5-pounder that would’ve made weigh-in razor close. Unfortunately for him, he accidently left his Power-Poles down, the fish wrapped around one and it broke off.
Then again, if not for a “shank” on Day 1, Gagliardi might not have needed that fish at all to win.
Despite having a home on the lake, Gagliardi admits he doesn’t fish Murray all that often during this time of the year. So any advantage he had was definitely muted.
“I practiced herring-spawn stuff, and I didn’t find them,” says Gagliardi. “I had a handful of spots I’d caught them before, but they weren’t there in practice. I found some bedders. So that’s what I did the first day.”
Yet, he also caught a lone fish Day 1 on a herring-spawn pattern. So he decided to “keep them honest” and start on it Day 2.
“I caught a limit quick, and then I went to another spot and culled a couple times,” says Gagliardi. “I went sight fishing for a few hours and didn’t do any good. Then I went back to the herring and caught my two biggest. That just pointed me in the right direction. So that’s all I did from then on.”
Cycling through main-lake points, Gagliardi says he threw a lot of different things, but a Berkley PowerBait Power Swimmer on a 1/16-ounce head was his biggest player, with a Sebile Magic Swimmer and a double soft-jerkbait rig with Berkley PowerBait Jerk Shads also getting the call often. He threw the swimbait on a 7-foot Level medium-action spinning rod and Abu Garcia Revo MGX reel rigged with straight braid to short Gamma fluorocarbon leader.
While the switch allowed him to increase his weights every day, it ultimately couldn’t help him overcome that start.
“My Day 1 was a flop,” says Gagliardi. “It was teed up for me, and I just shanked it into the water.”