Youth Build on Pioneer’s Legacy at the FLW Cup

Attending the FLW Cup each year, it continues to impress with robust growth while remaining true to the sport of competitive bass fishing’s deep roots. Youth is truly served with the family atmosphere present throughout their events.

 

FLW was originally named using the initials of Forrest L. Wood, respected founder of Ranger Boats and one of the greatest contributors to the evolution of modern bass fishing. His well-deserved introductions during weigh-ins are very moving tributes to he and wife Nina who seem to never tire visiting with fans, signing autographs and being great role models for all.

 

The support the Woods have provided to anglers, including tournament pros, is beyond computation. No one seems to be happier and prouder of the incredible growth of bass fishing, especially youth participation, than they do.

 

This FLW Cup was another event where youth were served. Just to be one of the 56 qualifiers is a great challenge. The field included the 40 FLW Tour top finishers, six top finishers from each Costa FLW Series Division Championship plus the five next higher finishers, last years winner, that years Angler of the Year, the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League All-American Champion and the Bass Federation Champion.

 

FLW has grown to now become Fishing League Worldwide. They conduct over 250 tournaments and, last year, an angler from South Korea qualified and participated in the FLW Cup. This year, a contestant from South Africa competed.

 

From the start – youth

 

Alabama’s Alex Davis had one of the most challenging days ever, at the start. By noon, he had one small keeper. He’d missed seven blowups on a topwater and three hits on a worm. Searching new water, he got three more. Heading to the weigh in, he stopped by an underwater brush pile. He made one cast to catch his 5th keeper, which was one of his biggest, and was blown away when named the day-one leader with 13 pounds, 1 ounce.

 

Second-day leader Wes Logan, a rookie, brought in 5 weighing 12 pounds, 4 ounces, a two-day total of 23-13 by hitting 50 spots with four different baits. He liked the way fish were setting up for the final day, with the top ten competing.

 

From our observations at the ramp before takeoff, the younger anglers had taken over. Cabela’s Pro, James Niggemeyer, who we knew from following the B.A.S.S. events and John Cox, a former FLW Cup Champion, were the only long-time tournament pros we knew who were still standing.

 

Justin Atkins, last year’s winner, was in 9th place. No one had ever won it twice. Would this be the year? He and Clent Davis, each with 19 pounds even, only made it into the final day by one ounce.

 

The final day

 

On the way to the final day takeoff, driving the curvy road to the marina on Lake Ouachita, interviews, ceremony, family, friends and sponsors excitedly speculating on who will win first prize and $300,000. Being FLW Cup Champion is a life-changing event. Now, ten had that chance.

 

Every day, instead of chasing anglers on the water in press boats, we all can see live coverage on FLW Live. We fans can now enjoy this sport as it happens, worldwide. The excitement, lessons and heartbreak bass fishing provides are the best shows on our screens. Search on YouTube for the FLW Cup and enjoy the archived coverage later—it’s still exciting!

 

2012 Rookie of the Year Clent Davis rejoined the tour this year, cashing $62,000. In checks and qualifying for the year-end championship. Overlooked by most, he knew his only chance was to fish his strengths “offshore fishing submersed brush.”

 

Using a big, 12-inch Mister Twister Mag Buzz Worm, plum color with a swing head, to get it through the brush in 22 to 30 feet of water, he started the fishing world buzzing as camera boats rushed to witness and broadcast the most stunning day in FLW Cup history.

 

His biggest limit of the event weighed 17 pounds, 13 ounces. Don’t be fooled, Ouachita is a great lake. Many anglers saw giant bass following, blasting, even nipping their lures as we were in the “Dog Days of Summer.” As with major golf events, there should be tough conditions to win major championships.

 

It was a surprising and very emotional moment to witness the life-changing event. Clent, his wife, 3-year-old daughter and mother—who Clent acknowledged as the supporter who took him fishing a couple of days a week—stood in shock among the hoopla, looking pleasantly stunned. As a momma’s boy myself, let’s again thank all the mothers who gave us a great life and all who helped us learn to fish!

 

 

 

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