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Everything you need to know about the Cup – click here
Alex Davis' day-one pattern – click here
Top 5 patterns day 1 – click here
3 p.m. – Big moves going into the final hour
The last 15 minutes have been pretty incredible at Lake Ouachita. The leader, Wes Logan, culled up again by a pound or more. He's calling his limit 12 pounds total. We think he has more. That'll have to be settled at weigh-in.
David Dudley has culled twice. He's only gaining ounces per cull, but it looks like he'll make the cut.
Jeff Gustafson is now up to four fish. He needs one kicker and he might have a chance at the cut.
Bradford Beavers started the day off pretty strong, catching two keepers early. Hours later he has a third and is just outside the cut. One more will put him in.
Cody Meyer is culling now too. He is right on the edge of the cut line.
Zack Birge landed a 1 1/2-pounder to get well within the cutoff. That's two fish in one pocket. You'll see him tomorrow unless something crazy happens.
These are all recent catches. Apparently Ouachita's bass population decided to fire all at once. The result is a mega-logjam right around 10th place. There are at least six pros right now that are so close together that we can't predict who will make it to tomorrow's final round. Adding to the uncertainty is that a storm appears to be brewing north of the lake. That might turn some fish on, or spoil some productive waters.
Unfortunately, that's the last update you'll get today before weigh-in. The pros start checking in at 4 p.m. We're headed for the Bank OZK Arena to prepare for weigh-in. Join us there at 5 p.m. CT to see how day two shakes out.
2:37 p.m. – Birge gets No. 3, Logan loses his rig
It ain't big, but keeper No. 3 ought to make Birge feel a little better about his top-10 chances. Meanwhile, leader Wes Logan broke off his last 3/8-ounce weight and is forced to change up the rig that's gotten him into this position.
Standy by for one last blog at around 3 p.m. CT. That's when we'll be signing off the blog.
2:30 p.m. – Logan extends his lead
A dink goes back in the drink from Wes Logan's boat. The rookie pro just upgraded his catch by at least a pound. We were calling his weight 12 1/4, but Logan says that's a little strong. He thinks 10 1/2. Either way, he's either in first by 2 pounds or by ounces.
Meanwhile Zack Birge, who's been heating up lately but can't seem to connect, is plugging away with his toad. A 3-pounder busted right by his boat, but he couldn't get the fish to commit.
Nick LeBrun has left his lily pads. He's on the move now. One more solid keeper would really help his cause going into Sunday's final round.
Unfortunately, it's been a tough day for Alex Davis. He has just one keeper and is in danger of falling out of the top 10.
2:10 p.m. – Atkins upgrades
Don't count out the champ Justin Atkins. The 2017 Cup winner made a solid 1-pound upgrade to get to 9 pounds on the day and nearly 19 pounds overall. We're calling him at fourth place at the moment.
Clent Davis is also making a move. With just four fish in the livewell today, he's in sixth with 17 1/2 total. We might wind up with two Davis pros in the top 10.
2:00 p.m. – Big things coming?
Zack Birge has had three bites in the last 45 minutes. "Things are looking better," he said. The last one got off when it wrapped him around a stump. Right now, he's slinging a toad. He's currently in seventh with just two keepers in the livewell. One or two more in the livewell could move him right to the top.
Elsewhere, Nick LeBrun, who was in second to start the day, has resigned himself to the small field of lily pads where he started the day. He seems content to wait out the rest of the afternoon there. He's way in the back of the pads going to work. UPDATE: Right after we posted this update, LeBrun lost a small keeper that tangled him up in the pad stems.
South African pro Michael Matthee is trying to make the most of his opportunity this week with a late charge. He's landed two keepers in the last 40 minutes. The latest is a 2 1/4-pound fish.
Wes Logan's last fish came fishign a brush pile. He's heading back to that place right now. Stand by to see if lightning can strike twice.
1:35 p.m. – Logan out front
Wes Logan just bagged a 4-pounder to take the lead. Now, the rookie has about a 11-pounds, 5-ounce limit in his livewell. However, Niggemeyer and LeBrun are still in striking distance at only a few pounds behind with limits yet to be filled.
1:14 p.m. – Canterbury mounts a comeback
Scott Canterbury had a terrible first day. He weighed in only three fish for 4 pounds, 2 ounces to wind up in 41st place. Well, he just came back into an area with better service, so his marshal was able to update us on today. It's going much better. Canterbury has four fish for 8 1/2 pounds. He's only about 2 1/2 pounds away from getting into top-10 range. He has three nice ones in the box, so he's certainly around the right type of fish to make a charge.
His last fish was a doozy. Canterbury was pitching a wacky worm around some docks. The fish bit and broke him off. The pro retied, pitched back and caught the same fish. He even got his hook and worm back. That's better luck than the last time Canterbury lost a dock fish in the Cup – back in 2014, at the Cup on Murray, where he lost a fish that probably would've won the tournament for him.
Is it redemption week? Maybe, but he has a huge mountain to climb to get there. For now, just making the cut would be an impressive comeback.
12:54 p.m. – Niggemeyer still camped out
Jame Niggemeyer hasn't moved from the creek where he started the day. He's been making his rounds in there and is on about lap five.
We just learned that Alex Davis has been battling some electrical issues today. Apparently his batteries didn't charge last night. It doesn't seem to be affecting him too much. His fish just simply haven't fired today.
12:30 p.m. – LeBrun, Davis targeting same area
Alex Davis just pulled up to his offshore grass spot and found Nick LeBrun already fishing it. Apparently they've been sharing water and just now put that together. It's been a tough one for both of them, but LeBrun's 6-pounder changes things big time.
Elsewhere, it's still pretty slow. Todd Castledine checks in with three for 6 pounds. Scott Martin has only one. Clark Wendlandt is trying to get back into this thing. He's culled up to about 9 pounds. Andrew Upshaw has just two for 2 pounds.
You can see the full rundown of estimated weights by clicking on the live leaderboard link up above. It'll be active right up until weigh-in.
As far as conditions, there is a pretty steady breeze blowing across the lake, which adds a little comfort on this hot summer day. The sun is high, and overall it's a pleasant day to check out a bass derby. If you're in or around Hot Springs, come on out and have a bite at the Forrest Wood Cup Bass & BBQ Festival. There's live music, drinks, good food and activities for the kids outside the Cup Expo.
11:58 a.m. – LeBrun storms back with a 6-pounder
Nick LeBrun's day hasn't gone according to script, but he just turned his prospects around with one giant fish. He reportedly landed a 6-pounder. That's two days in a row that he's anchored his bag with a solid kicker. He has just two keepers, but that big fish bumps him up into second place behind James Niggemeyer. Our estimates have them separated by only about a pound.
LeBrun's brute was a schooler that he was able to connect with.
11:30 a.m. – Cobb, Foster get into a flurry
Chad Foster got into a little flurry offshore, before returning to the bank to try his hand at the shallow game. Brand Cobb, meanwhile, lit up the leaderboard with a string of catches that move him clear into third place.
10:42 a.m. – Davis abandons the grass
Alex Davis has left the deep grass bed that was so special to him yesterday. He'll likely make a return trip later on, but for now he's needling some brush and then heading to the bank.
Though there's a light breeze, it's still plenty hot here on Lake Ouachita. It's a great day to come and spend some time at the Cup Expo, which opened at 10 a.m. Come check out some of the sweet fishing tackle in the Hot Springs Convention Center.
10:35 a.m. – Current unofficial top 10
1. James Niggemeyer – 21 pounds, 6 ounces
2. Justin Atkins – 17 pounds, 11 ounces
3. Wes Logan – 16 pounds, 9 ounces
4. Alex Davis – 15 pounds, 10 ounces
5. Jason Lambert – 15 pounds
6. Cory Johnston – 14 pounds, 8 ounces
7. Bradford Beavers – 14 pounds, 6 ounces
8. Nick LeBrun – 14 pounds, 5 ounces
9. Matt Becker – 13 pounds, 7 ounces
10. Zack Birge – 13 pounds, 1 ounce
10:30 a.m. – It's tough, but Brad Knight rescued a goat … seriously
So, there's not a lot to report on right now. The shallow topwater bite is chipping along at about the same pace, with a fish coming in once in a while. And offshore, the bite is really tough. Nick LeBrun and Alex Davis are struggling in the grass.
However, there is a bright side. FLW Tour pro Brad Knight, who's on the water with some media folks, just rescued a goat that was trying to swim across the lake. Yes, for real. He rescued a goat. You can see it on his Instagram page @bradknightfishing. Fittingly, Knight named the goat Andy.
9:45 a.m. – Niggemeyer gets "bonus fish"
James Niggemeyer didn't even need to drop his trolling motor to catch his fourth keeper. He was idling through some timber when he saw a little ripple on the surface caused by some schoolers. He popped up, fired a cast with a Strike King Sexy Dawg and landed his fourth keeper. We're calling his weight at about 9 pounds, 4 ounces, which has him unofficially in first by more than 3 pounds. Niggemeyer called it a "bonus fish," and that seems about right.
9:26 a.m. – Lambert has two, dealing with some company
Jason Lambert found himself an offshore spot up one of Ouachita's feeder rivers. Today, he's got a little more company there. The additional boats make it challenging to even idle around. He says the bite has been "real, real, real slow" even though he's marked a nice group of fish.
Wes Logan, who started strong today, has seen his bite go cold. A prop bait worked along the bank is his go-to pattern. Mostly he's fishing around timber.
Alex Davis is working his deep grass. It's out in the middle of nowhere. Zack Birge and Todd Castledine are fishing the bank nearby.
Cory Johnston is around a lot of fish and plenty of bait. He just can't get the bass to cooperate and bite. He's focused hard on what's happening on the bank, even though there are fish blowing up behind him.
9:18 a.m. – Davis moves to "special" spot
Yesterday, Alex Davis stopped to fish some offshore grass twice with no success. His third stop, he caught a 3-pounder and watched as 20 more keepers followed that fish to the boat. He said yesterday that he was on something special, but wouldn't reveal what it was. Today, he revealed it was the grass – a similar pattern as LeBrun fished.
Offshore grass certainly seems like a pattern that could hold up over the course of a three-day tournament in the South in August. LeBrun hasn't dabbled in that pattern yet this morning. He caught most of his grass fish in the afternoon yesterday though. Stay tuned throughout the day to see if these two can get the grass bite going up in the day.
9:05 a.m. – Niggemeyer moves into the lead
James Niggemeyer seems to be on a slightly better quality of fish this morning than his competitors. Though he has only two in the box, he's got 5 3/4 pounds total, which has him narrowly ahead of Justin Atkins in our unofficial standings. They're only ounces apart though. Niggemeyer is sticking with his shallow topwater approach. He's a shallow-fishing expert, so whatever he's figured out, it's working.
9 a.m. – Nick LeBrun gets on the board
It's not much of a start, but it's a start for Nick LeBrun. After his morning bite faltered, LeBrun managed to land a squeaker spotted bass. The fish ate a swimbait fished on an open jighead.
This morning's action has been much slower overall than day one. The shallow topwater bite is even more sporadic than yesterday, and while the offshore bite started strong this morning, it's also fizzled out.
Expect this one to be an all-day grind.
Despite the tough conditions, the FLW Live broadcast is rolling, and the content is gold. Our top pros are divulging all the details on how they found their fish in practie and how they're managing to catch them now. To tune in, click here.
8:30 a.m. – Davis finally on the board
Yesterday, Alex Davis experienced really good luck. Today has not gone so well. He's missed four blowups on his topwater. The only fish he's managed to land is a 2-pounder that momentarily snagged itself on a stick.
LeBrun is still fishless. He's been in and out of service all morning, so we'll do our best to keep you posted.
Cory Johnston is also fishless. He was winding a buzzbait a little while ago.
Justin Atkins has the hottest hand this morning. His strategy is to snap a spoon around schooling fish.
7:49 a.m. – They're spread out again
For the most part, the entire field is spread out once again on Lake Ouachita. Nick LeBrun has found himself a patch of lily pads, a rarity on this lake it seems, and is camped out there trying to get his first keeper. Just Atkins, last year's champ, is fishing slow offshore and has already boxed three keepers. Wes Logan also has three. Zack Birge is still fishless, running the banks with a Whopper Plopper and scanning for schoolers. Andrew Upshaw has landed himself a schooler. We'll see how that bite holds up this morning. James Niggemeyer stroked a 3-pounder with a buzzbait to get off to a hot start.
7:25 a.m. – Wes Logan is the first on the board; Blakely is a little crowded
The Forrest Wood Cup has been won in the Blakely area before. That's where Brad Knight did it in 2015. Today, Zack Birge, Matt Becker, Michael Matthee and Jason Abram all started there. They're watching for schoolers, but there's not a lot of activity right now, other than a flock of spectators hanging out there.
Meanwhile, Wes Logan was the first person to score on day two. He landed a 2-pounder just a little while after takeoff. James Niggemeyer followed soon after with a 3-pounder that smoked his buzzbait. Justin Atkins also now has a 2-pounder.
7 a.m. – Here we go on cut day
Day two of the 2018 Forrest Wood Cup is underway on Lake Ouachita. Alabama's Alex Davis leads the pack with 13 pounds, 10 ounces. BFL All-American champ Nick LeBrun is only 5 ounces back. But that's not the only challenger Davis will have to deal with. There's a whole roster of hammers stacked up behind him, on a lake that's anything but predictable.
Davis said yesterday that his catch was mostly about luck. He just sort of ran into the right fish. In the process, he thinks he might have figured out something special. We'll find out how special it is.
Today dawned a tad cooler than yesterday, but the sun is out and the forecast calls for highs in the mid-90s, with a chance of some stormy weather later in the day.
So here we go. Today is cut day. Only 10 pros will survive to fish on Sunday, when someone will win $300,000 and be crowned Forrest Wood Cup champion.
Temperature at takeoff: 70 degrees
Forecast high: 96 degrees
Precipitation: chance of storms in the afternoon
Wind: WNW at 2 mph
Folgers Morning Takeoff: 7 a.m. CT at Brady Mountain Resort & Marina, Corp of Engineers Launch Facility
Weigh-in: 5 p.m. CT Bank OZK Arena
FLW Expo: 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CT at Hot Springs Convention Center
FLW Live: 6:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. CT