We've all seen this scenario play out a few times this year. Brent Ehrler is somewhat out of the picture the first day. Then he moves up on the second day. Then by the third day he's leading. All that's left is the win.
Today he got a step closer to becoming the first angler to win two Forrest Wood Cup championships. He now stands with a three-day total 39 pounds, 3 ounces. He has a narrow lead on the other five competitors. Cody Meyer is second, just 8 ounces behind, and even sixth-place angler, local favorite Troy Morrow, is just one 4-pound spot away from catching up.
Ehrler remains very humble about his chances. In fact when we interviewed him yesterday, he said Wired2Fish pro Scott Suggs would probably be the first to win it twice since FLW is going back to Hot Springs next year. But today he was confident he could win, but it wouldn't be easy.
"You know, I actually kind of struggled today," Ehrler said. "It took me all day long to get five, but I was real fortunate to get around some good fish. Based on what I've seen, I could catch some real big ones. I think it's possible to catch a big bag. But honestly, it's not easy. It's been taking me all day to catch my limits."
Rounding out the top five were Meyer in second with 38-11, Larry Nixon with 37-7, Kevin Hawk with 36-1, Ronald Hobbs Jr. with 35-3, and Troy Morrow with 35-1.
Probably the angler who will feel the sting the most from this event is Tom Mann Jr., who finished seventh by a mere 7 ounces. Tom fished a great event but his low weight on day one was his undoing. He fought the local jinx and should be very proud of how well he did in a brutally tough event.
It will be anyone's game tomorrow and should make for a very exciting finale on Sunday.
On the co-angler side. Dearal Rodgers of Camden, S.C., won the title and $65,000 for his efforts for a three-day total of 27 pounds, 3 ounces. He was emotional but got to celebrate with his wife and two children on stage.
"It's been a long time coming," Dearal said. "I've worked hard. This is $1 for each time I've woke my wife up in the morning when I've gotten up to go fishing. This is for her."
Here are a few quotes from some of the other pros:Wesley Strader
- "I've been fishing deep brush piles and deep trees, and that's not something I'm used to doing. I litterally had to bite my tongue to make myself stay out there, so I'm proud of myself for doing that."Tom Mann Jr
. - "I wanted to keep the momentum from my year coming into this event because momentum is so important in any sport you compete. I feel like if I can make the cut, I've got a chance. I know what can happen and what's out there. There are a lot of 4-pound spots out in Lake Lanier, so anything can happen."Bryan Thrift
- "I caught the biggest spot of my life yesterday fishing a Berkley Hollow Belly swimmbait on a Damiki Dark Angel rod and Abu Garcia Revo just cranking it through the trees."Clark Wendlandt
- "I only had three fish yesterday, and I thought that would really cost me. I didn't go out deep and do the spotted bass thing. I fished shallow, and that's the way I like to fish. I lost a couple fish yesterdary, but that's part of fishing. You've got to land them all to win."Rusty Salewske
- [When asked by Charlie Evans why he thinks he didn't make the cut] "I didn't catch enough fish Charlie."