Brandon Cobb didn’t feel like he had a good fishing day coming off Lake Murray on Saturday afternoon.
The Greenwood angler, who posted a five-fish 19-pound, 12-ounce total in the first day of the FLW Forrest Wood Cup action on Friday, said so after nearly matching that weight with a Day 2 weight of 19-4 at the weigh-in at Colonial Life Arena.
“Today actually seemed bad,” he explained. “I know that 19 pounds doesn’t sound bad, but I kind of got in a bad rotation today. I got behind Justin (Atkins, the leader going into Day 2 of the tournament), and I got behind somebody else, I don’t know who it was, but I felt like I was fishing spots just after they left. I felt like I was in the right place at the wrong time all day today.”
Cobb said he eventually found some spots and caught fish that he felt made up for that. But while he said he caught about 25 fish on the first day, he could only get seven to bite on Saturday.
Those seven counted enough to knock his roommate for the tournament, Atkins, out of the lead. Atkins, who opened the Forrest Wood Cup with a 21-5 weight on the first day, followed up with a 15-4 on Saturday, which puts him more than a pound behind Cobb, but has the Florence, Ala., angler in second place.
Unlike Friday’s cloud cover, Saturday’s sunny conditions had anglers looking for bass in all the wrong places.
“This morning when it was sunny, I was trying to target fish over in some pines, and then at one point, there come up a school and I wasn’t ready for them,” Atkins said. “I was completely missing the deal on them. But it’ll be better tomorrow.”
Prosperity’s Anthony Gagliardi also couldn’t match his first day total of 21-1, but his Saturday weight of 15-0 placed him in third and has him poised for a chance to defend his prowess on his home lake. The 2006 Angler of the Year won the 2014 Forrest Wood Cup at Lake Murray and said he hopes fish will bite Sunday.
“I didn’t have near as many bites as I had yesterday,” he said of his Saturday venture. “I saw a lot of good fish, about the same number as I saw yesterday, but I just couldn’t get them to bite. I had some good casts, but I had probably three casts on top of fish that I felt like I should have got to bite, and just didn’t.”
Most of the top 10 Day 1 finishers followed up with significant weights Saturday.
Rogers, Ark., angler Travis Fox came in at 16-13, which put him in fourth with a two-day total for 35-0.
2017 Angler of the Year Bryan Thrift added 14-9 to his Friday total of 19-4 to give him a fifth-place weight of 33-13.
Eight of the Day 1 top-10 finishers made the 10-angler cut for the final day. Larry Nixon, who was in the sixth slot Friday, and Shane LeHew (10th) made way for Scott Suggs and Wesley Strader, who made the ninth and 10th slot, respectively. Suggs’s two-day total was 28-8 and Strader’s 28-4.
Cobb said after Saturday’s fishing, he had no idea he’d be atop the leader board going into Sunday’s $300,000 challenge.
“It’s really crazy,” Cobb said. “I knew what Justin had and I knew what I had, and I thought I’d come in third, but to be ahead, it hasn’t really set in.
“But I love August fishing. And I love high-pressure tournaments.”
All leaders brought in five fish
(Day 1, Day 2)
1. Brandon Cobb
2. Justin Atkins
3. Anthony Gagliardi
4. Travis Fox
5. Bryan Thrift
6. Scott Martin
7. Michael Neal
8. Aaron Britt
Yuba City, Calif.
9. Scott Suggs
10. Wesley Strader
Spring City, Tenn.