With the 2012 Forrest Wood Cup slated for Aug. 9-12 on Lake Lanier in Duluth, Ga., the clock continues to tick toward the start of one of the most prestigious and exciting bass-fishing championships in the nation. In an effort to provide bass-fishing fans with a little more perspective and background on the competition, FLWOutdoors.com is launching a five-part series/overview of each of the 46 qualifying pros – one of whom will walk away with the title of Forrest Wood Cup champion.
With a guaranteed first-place prize of $500,000 on the line, there is clearly plenty at stake this summer in Georgia. So without further ado, let’s meet the contenders.
(Editor’s note: Forrest Wood Cup competitors will be featured in alphabetical order. This is the first in a five-part series.)
2012 Forrest Wood Cup contenders
Matt Arey – Shelby, N.C. Matt Arey finished the 2012 FLW Tour Major season ranked ninth overall, his highest finish on the FLW Tour to date. Arey currently boasts 14 top-10 finishes in FLW events, which includes five final-day appearances on the FLW Tour alone (two as a pro and three as a co-angler). Arey has one victory to his credit, a first-place finish in the Co-angler Division at the 2006 Forrest Wood Cup on Logan Martin Lake. Arey began fishing FLW events in 2003 and has accumulated more than $275,000 in winnings since that time. Arey ultimately qualified for this year’s Cup via the FLW Tour and will be making his fifth FWC championship appearance overall.
Adrian Avena – Vineland, N.J. Adrian Avena got his start in FLW competition with the National Guard FLW College Fishing circuit. Avena competed in the FLW College Fishing Northern Conference Championships in 2009 and 2010, finishing in ninth and sixth place respectively. Since then, Avena has competed on the BFL, EverStart and FLW Tour circuits. This season represents his very first foray as a pro on the FLW Tour and he acquitted himself quite well, finishing the season ranked 23rd overall. Avena, who is making his first trip to the Cup, qualified via the FLW Tour. In addition, Avena boasts over $80,000 in career earnings, seven top-10 finishes and two victories (a 2011 EverStart Series win on Lake Champlain and a 2010 BFL co-angler title on the St. Clair River) since the 2009 season.
Chris Baumgardner – Gastonia, N.C. Snickers pro Chris Baumgardner boasts nearly $820,000 in career earnings since he began his FLW fishing career back in 1995. Since that time, Baumgardner has scored 20 top-10 finishes, including nine on the FLW Tour alone. He amassed two of those FLW Tour top-10 finishes during the 2012 season, which helped propel him to his seventh qualifying appearance at the Forrest Wood Cup. The North Carolina native also has two victories to his credit, a 2007 FLW Tour win on the Potomac River and a 1995 BFL South Carolina Division title. Baumgardner qualified for this year’s Cup via the FLW Tour, finishing the season ranked 17th overall.
Cody Bird – Granbury, Texas. Cody Bird began his FLW career in 1998 and since that time the Texas native has amassed over $571,000 in winnings. He boasts 21 top-10 appearances, including six on the FLW Tour. Bird ranked 33rd overall during the 2012 FLW Tour season and will be making his fourth Forrest Wood Cup appearance. The Texan has one career victory to his credit, a 1998 EverStart title on the Arkansas River. Bird ultimately qualified for this year’s Cup via the FLW Tour.
Stetson Blaylock – Benton, Ark. Since he began his FLW career in 2004, STP pro Stetson Blaylock has accrued 24 top-10 finishes and amassed nearly $575,000 in winnings. One of the hottest “young guns” in the sport today, Blaylock wasted little time making his FLW mark, cranking out five top-10 finishes in 2006, three in 2007 and six in 2008 before turning pro on the FLW Tour in 2009. Blaylock has five career FLW wins to his credit, including a FLW Tour victory on Lake Norman in 2009. The Arkansas native finished the FLW Tour season ranked 21st overall and will be making his seventh Cup appearance, third as a pro. Blaylock qualified for this year’s Cup via the FLW Tour.
Terry Bolton – Paducah, Ky. Off! pro Terry Bolton is quietly approaching $850,000 in total career earnings after another stellar season on the FLW Tour, finishing the year-end standings in 26th place overall. Bolton, who began fishing FLW events back in 1995, has registered an astounding 40 top-10 finishes, including eight on the FLW Tour. He has two victories to his credit, a 2005 EverStart Series win and 2000 BFL title, both coming on Kentucky Lake. Bolton, who qualified for this year’s Cup via the FLW Tour, will be making his 11th year-end championship appearance.
Glenn Browne – Ocala, Fla. Dr. Pepper Ten pro Glenn Browne began his FLW career back in 1998. Over that time he has recorded 22 top-10 finishes, including nine on the FLW Tour. Browne finished the 2012 FLW Tour season ranked 45th overall and will be making his sixth Forrest Wood Cup appearance. The Florida native boasts three career victories, a 2010 FLW Tour win at Fort Loudoun-Tellico lakes, a 2007 EverStart Series title on Lake Okeechobee and a 2000 BFL win at Lake Toho. Browne qualified for this year’s Cup via the 2010 FLW Tour Opens.
Scott Canterbury – Springville, Ala. Straight Talk pro Scott Canterbury began his FLW fishing career in 2003 and since then, the Alabama native has racked up nearly $550,000 in career earnings. Canterbury currently boasts 27 top-10 finishes, including eight on the FLW Tour. The Straight Talk pro finished the 2012 FLW Tour season ranked 24th overall and has now qualified for the Forrest Wood Cup four times. Canterbury owns one tournament title, which came during a 2011 EverStart event on Lake Eufaula. Canterbury qualified for this year’s Cup via the FLW Tour.
Jason Christie – Park Hill, Okla. After dominating the Walmart BFL Okie Division for the better part of a decade, Rayovac pro Jason Christie really began to make his big-league mark in 2007. During that season, he netted his first EverStart Series win on Lake of the Ozarks. From 2008 through the current season, Christie set forth a blistering pace, recording nine top-10 finishes at FLW Tour events. Christie grabbed his first FLW Tour victory on Lake Hartwell in 2011 and now boasts 33 top-10 finishes in total as well as eight career victories. The Oklahoma native will be making his fourth Forrest Wood Cup appearance after finishing the FLW Tour regular season ranked 39th overall. Christie, who is just shy of the $625,000 mark in career earnings, qualified for this year’s Cup via the FLW Tour.
Luke Clausen – Spokane, Wash. One of the most storied anglers in the sport today, Chevy pro “Lucky” Luke Clausen boasts a long history of stellar accomplishments. In 2004, Clausen took home a first-place check for $500,000 after winning the Forrest Wood Cup. In 2006, he won the Bassmaster Classic. And, as of today, Clausen’s career FLW earnings check in at over $1.45 million. Clausen now boasts 15 top-10 finishes (nine on the FLW Tour alone) and three career FLW victories, including a 2011 FLW Tour win on the Potomac River. Clausen will be making his eighth Forrest Wood Cup appearance after qualifying for this season’s championship via the FLW Tour. The Washington native finished the 2012 FLW Tour season ranked sixth overall.
For more information about the upcoming 2012 Forrest Wood Cup, click here.