Photo by Jody White - A former FLW Tour Angler of the Year, Anthony Gagliardi is no stranger to the top of the standings. Back in five-bass competition on a consistent basis, the South Carolina pro is thriving, with a 10th-place showing to start the season at Okeechobee, a 29th at Smith and a runner-up finish on the home pond at Murray.
Gagliardi has finished in the top five in the FLW Tour standings three times before, and he nearly always qualified for the FLW Cup, so the idea that he’d win another AOY isn’t wild, especially given a little home cooking.
Obviously a great bet in the Carolinas and on clear, southern fisheries, Gagliardi has had a long enough career that you can find a bad event or a good event for about any situation you want. Of course, that’s not a knock – even Bryan Thrift doesn’t catch them literally every time. If forced to pick a stumbling block going forward, it might be the St. Lawrence. Though you’d think he’d be great when it comes to smallies, Gagliardi didn’t make the Knockout Round in the Bass Pro Tour event on Sturgeon Bay in 2020 and he’s got a bit of a checkered past up north. Still, he’s wildly good and likely won’t be the only pro slightly on their heels when smallmouth season fully engages.