HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Friday has been dubbed the elimination round for FLW's Forrest Wood Cup Tournament. That's because the 50 anglers in the tournament will be narrowed down to just the top 20 for round three Saturday.
A good portion of the 50 anglers made the long boat ride to fish the Elk River Friday, but not the 2016 top ranked fisherman Andy Morgan. He spent a portion of his day down river, fishing around the mouth of the Flint River.
“We’re seeing a bunch of bait back up in this creek. I had a couple of bites up here during practice. I mean, nothing damaging, just fish, but I figured I better make a run, just to make sure I’ve got one to weigh in," says Morgan.
The intense heat doesn't just affect people, it impacts fish patterns too. FLW's web team has been tracking fishing patterns all tournament long, and says the current leader, John Cox, has found the most success getting shallow water bites.
“John found a creek, I mean way up a creek, hardly on the lake it seems like, and he’s got it all to himself and he’s got him some really big fish that haven’t been pestered by anyone else," says Curtis Niedermier, the Editor in Chief for FLW's website.
The Forrest Wood Cup is the "Super Bowl" equivalent of the FLW Walmart Tour and it's the first year it's been hosted at Wheeler Lake, so the spotlight is not only on the anglers, but the Tennessee Valley as a whole.
Half a million people follow FLW's Facebook page and countless more are fans of the professional sport, so FLW tries their best to give real-time updates through their website and social media accounts. “We’re using all these tools to basically collect the story of the tournament from as many angles and perspectives as we can," says Niedermier.
FLW posts countless pictures, videos, and fishing updates to their website as the weekend goes on. “Every one of the 50 anglers in the field has what we call our marshall and the marshall serves two purposes. One is he is sort of help administers the rules and the other is for the media team to help provide information and feedback on what’s going on, on the water," he says.
Another perk to this system is the web team can track different patterns. “We get the first glimpse at what they’re out there on the water and we have before anybody else, how these guys are catching their fish and what everybody’s going to bring in," says Niedermier. “Every year we just try to get bigger and better and get more and more information.”
For minute-by-minute updates, you can visit their website, flwfishing.com.