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DNR News

August 13, 2014

Prosperity man nabs top prize at Forrest Wood Cup held on Lake Murray

How much is enough? It only took a single ounce for Prosperity resident and Chevy pro Anthony Gagliardi to edge Straight Talk pro Scott Canterbury and win the 2014 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart and hosted by Capital City/Lake Murray Country with 51 pounds, 2 ounces. Gagliardi hoisted the Cup before a packed house at Colonial Life Arena.Anthony Gagliardi

Just 11 ounces separated first and fifth places. For fans of this sport, a weigh-in like this delivers memories not soon forgotten. “It just falls in line with everything else that happened this year,” he says. “I made it into the Cup by 1 ounce. It’s just fitting.”

Gagliardi was a statistical improbability from the start; and not the start of the tournament – the start of the season. His season began as horribly as an angler could imagine when he was disqualified at the Walmart FLW Tour opener at Lake Okeechobee due to an inadvertent rules infraction.

Suffice it to say that at that point qualifying for the Forrest Wood Cup seemed an impossible dream. But it was a dream Gagliardi refused to relinquish.

“This is just a testament of faith and stick-to-itiveness,” he notes. “All that stuff, this was just a year that I probably needed from a personal standpoint and an emotional standpoint. I think I proved to myself that no matter what happens now, that staying positive will always bring about the best outcome.”

A win anywhere would no doubt equally merit that sentiment. However, Gagliardi says that doing so in front of his home crowd magnified the moment.

In addition to the impressive piece of hardware he now owns, Gagliardi won $500,000 – yet another reason to love his home waters.

On days one and two, Gagliardi caught bass on a 5-inch Basstrix swimbait in scaled sardine paired with a 3/8-ounce Buckeye swimbait head over shallow grass points where bass were chasing blueback herring in about 5 feet of water. He also caught fish the first three days in the Saluda River on a Zoom Ol’ Monster worm Texas rigged on a 4/0 hook with a 1/4-ounce weight.

On the final day, he committed to casting Zoom Flukes and Yamamoto D Shads (white and olive shad colors) on a 4/0 weighted-shank hook with 10- and 12-pound-test Gamma fluorocarbon line. Fishing in about 15 to 20 feet down near the dam, Gagliardi opted for a single bait, rather than the “double fluke” rig often used on blueback lakes.

Gagliardi placed seventh on days one and two with 13-2 and 10-3, improved to third on day three with 13-25 (his biggest limit of the tournament), and sealed the deal today with a limit of 13-14.

Blowouts are cool – at least to the winner – and no doubt it feels good to race across the finish line with competitors a distant dust cloud away in the rear-view mirror. But a photo-finish win is a win nonetheless, and often such victories hold the greatest backstories.

The Top 10

1: Anthony Gagliardi, 51-2

2: Scott Canterbury, 51-1

3: Brent Ehrler, 50-11

4: Casey Ashley (resident of Donalds, SC), 50-7

5: Steve Kennedy, 50-7

6: Matt Herren, 48-0

7: Bryan Thrift, 44-6

8: Michael Wooley, 43-4

9: Scott Martin, 35-13

10: Jacob Wheeler, 33-7


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