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COLUMBIA, S.C. (Aug. 13, 2017) – FLW Tour rookie Justin Atkins of Florence, Alabama, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Sunday weighing 22 pounds, 1 ounce – the second-heaviest limit ever weighed in the 22-year history of the Forrest Wood Cup – to earn the win at the 2017 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Murray. Over three days, Atkins weighed in 15 fish totaling 59 pounds, 4 ounces to edge out second-place pro Travis Fox of Rogers, Arkansas, by 2 pounds, 9 ounces and win the $300,000 top cash prize. The tournament featured 53 of the top bass-fishing anglers in the world competing for professional bass-fishing’s world championship.

“When I say I feel like this is what I’m meant to do I don’t mean that in any kind of arrogant way,” said Atkins, who became just the third angler to win the Forrest Wood Cup in their rookie season. “I just went out on a limb of faith this year. I didn’t have the money to fish the full Tour when I started. I had enough money to fish about four events, and I was hoping I would make it. I felt like God had a plan, and that’s what I was supposed to be doing. I just went out there and fished, and today signed off that I was supposed to be there.”

Atkins targeted cane piles throughout the week and the fat blueback herring-eating largemouths that hung around them. He estimated that he had about 60 to 80 waypoints on cane piles he liked, and most of the piles topped out about 8 to 10 feet below the surface, rising up from about 20 or 22 feet deep. The fresher and “bushier” the pile was, the more fish were in it.

“I caught every fish that I weighed in this week on an Ima Little Stick 135 in chrome,” Atkins said. “I fished them on a 7:1 gear ratio Abu Garcia reel with 30-pound-test braid and a 7-foot, 5-inch medium-heavy composite rod. I think the key was being consistent and sticking with the topwater bait. My Humminbird electronics really played a role helping me find the brush and the cane piles. Other guys weren’t able to graph them, but my Humminbird could.

“I still feel like I’m in a dream and going to wake up soon,” Atkins went on to say. “To come out on top and win this tournament really just solidifies that I can fish at this level and I’m supposed to be here. I’m already excited to get the season started next year on Lake Okeechobee.”

The top 10 pros at the 2017 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Murray finished:

              1st:          Justin Atkins, Florence, Ala., 15 bass, 59-4, $300,000

              2nd:         Travis Fox, Rogers, Ark., 15 bass, 56-11, $60,000

              3rd:         Brandon Cobb, Greenwood, S.C., 14 bass, 54-10, $50,000

              4th:         Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., 15 bass, 51-15, $37,500

              5th:         Anthony Gagliardi, Prosperity, S.C., 15 bass, 51-3, $30,000

              6th:         Michael Neal, Dayton, Tenn., 15 bass, 46-11, $24,000

              7th:         Scott Suggs, Alexander, Ark., 15 bass, 43-3, $23,000

              8th:         Scott Martin, Clewiston, Fla., 14 bass, 41-4, $22,000

              9th:         Wesley Strader, Spring City, Tenn., 12 bass, 34-2, $21,000

              10th:       Aaron Britt, Yuba City, Calif., 11 bass, 31-9, $20,000

Full results for the entire field can be found at

Overall there were 41 bass weighing 140 pounds, 5 ounces caught by pros Sunday. Six of the final 10 anglers weighed in five-bass limits.

The 2017 Forrest Wood Cup at Lake Murray in Columbia, South Carolina, was hosted by the Capital City Lake Murray Country Regional Tourism Board. Total attendance for the three-day event was 68,315 fishing fans.

FLW and Visit Hot Springs announced Saturday that Hot Springs, Arkansas, will be hosting the 2018 Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of bass fishing, Aug. 10-12, 2018, on Lake Ouachita. This event marks the fourth time that the Forrest Wood Cup, the sport’s richest prize, has visited Lake Ouachita.

Television coverage of the 2017 Forrest Wood Cup will premiere in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) Sept. 27 from Noon -1 p.m. EDT. The Emmy-nominated "FLW" television show airs on NBCSN, the Pursuit Channel and the World Fishing Network and is broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world.

For a full schedule of events, complete details and updated information visit For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow us on Facebook at and on Twitter at


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (Aug. 12, 2017) – Fishing League Worldwide (FLW), in conjunction with Visit Hot Springs and the State of Arkansas, announced Saturday that Hot Springs, Arkansas, has been named the location and host of the 2018 Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of professional bass fishing, Aug. 10-12, 2018, on Lake Ouachita.

Hot Springs has previously hosted four Forrest Wood Cup championships – one on Lake Hamilton (2005) and three on Lake Ouachita (2007, 2011 and 2015). The 2018 Forrest Wood Cup will again feature the most successful anglers from the FLW Tour, the Costa FLW Series, the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League, YETI FLW College Fishing and The Bass Federation.

“Our whole city is excited by the fact that FLW has chosen Hot Springs for the fifth time as the host for the Forrest Wood Cup,” said Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs. “Hot Springs has established a wonderful relationship with FLW and our audiences for the Cup and other FLW events have been large and enthusiastic. I know the 2018 Cup will find the same level of enthusiasm and warm hospitality that FLW has come to associate with the great fishing in Hot Springs.”

When the Forrest Wood Cup last visited Lake Ouachita and Hot Springs in 2015, seven-year Tour veteran Brad Knight of Lancing, Tennessee, outlasted the competition to earn the first victory of his career and claim the sport’s most coveted trophy. Hometown favorites George Cochran of Hot Springs, and Scott Suggs of Alexander, Arkansas, have also claimed Forrest Wood Cup victories in Hot Springs along with Scott Martin of Clewiston, Florida.

“After another fantastic Forrest Wood Cup experience in 2015, we knew it wouldn’t be long before we returned to Hot Springs and Lake Ouachita,” said Kathy Fennel, FLW President of Operations. “The Hot Springs community is extremely passionate about bass fishing and the great attendance makes it the perfect destination for an exciting and memorable championship event. We expect the 2018 Forrest Wood Cup to be our best yet.”

In addition to the tournament and the international media coverage it will receive, the FLW Expo, which will feature hundreds of exhibitors and activities, will be held at the Hot Springs Convention Center and the live weigh-ins will be held at the Bank of the Ozarks Arena. Visitors from around the globe will not only catch the world's best bass-fishing action, they'll also receive great deals on everything from crankbaits to bass boats at the outdoor show.

The tournament will be featured on the “FLW” television show. The Emmy-nominated "FLW" television show airs on NBC Sports Network, the Pursuit Channel and the World Fishing Network and is broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world.

For the latest Forrest Wood Cup updates, visit