Columbia Lands Major Fishing Tournament

Forrest Wood Cup Also Features Music, Expo, Barbecue
By Free Times
Wednesday, August 13, 2014 |
By Jonathan Braden

One of the country’s premier bass tournaments will be on Lake Murray this weekend, but you don’t have to be an avid fisherman to find reasons to check out the event.

In addition to the fishing, there will be a bass and barbecue festival, giveaways, free country music concerts and an expo with more than 100 vendors.

“There’s fun for the entire family,” says Joe Opager, spokesman for the Fishing League Worldwide, which runs the Forrest Wood Cup, its most prestigious tournament.

Fishing fans, though, will especially enjoy the weekend. The Forrest Wood Cup, sometimes referred to as the Super Bowl of fishing, will feature 45 of the world’s best bass pros and co-anglers competing for the biggest purses in fishing: $500,000 in the pro division and $50,000 in the co-angler division. (A co-angler is an amateur paired with pro.)

The pros will fish the 47,500-acre Lake Murray from Thursday through Sunday, taking off at 7 a.m. from Dreher Island State Park each day.

At 5 p.m., they’ll show off their catches at live weigh-ins, hosted at the Colonial Life Arena. The pro with the heaviest four-day haul wins.

“Lake Murray is a fantastic fishery,” Opager says. “Most tournaments held in the middle of August are extremely tough, but we are confident that our anglers will have plenty of space and opportunity to work and that we’ll still see some quality fish on the stage at Colonial Life Arena.”

The quality of Columbia’s facilities and sites, including Lake Murray, was a big reason the Fishing League Worldwide decided to bring the tournament back to the area, Opager says. It was last held at Lake Murray in 2008, and it generated $16.1 million for the area, says Jayne Baker, public relations manager with the Capital City/Lake Murray Country tourism organization.

In addition to the lake and Colonial Life Arena, the tournament will utilize the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, where the Fishing League Worldwide expo will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday.

“This market has everything needed to host a tournament of this magnitude,” Opager says.

The bass fishing community of Lake Murray also made returning to Columbia an easy decision, he says.

During the past 24 years, Baker says, her organization has promoted Lake Murray as a popular tournament fishing destination, work that continues to pay off.

“Our relationship with FLW Outdoors continues to be one of our most valuable tools in promoting our area for fishing,” Baker says.

Most of the free activities begin Friday and continue through the weekend. Saturday and Sunday, Fishing League Worldwide and the South Carolina Barbeque Association will host a Bass & BBQ festival at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.

The free live concerts also begin Saturday when country musician Jeremy McComb performs (2 p.m.). Fellow country musician John Wesley Satterfield will take the stage Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m., and Rodney Atkins will perform at 4 p.m. before Sunday’s final weigh-in.

Kids can win free fishing gear all weekend long, too. Saturday and Sunday, the first 500 children 14 and under who are accompanied by an adult will receive a free rod and reel.

Private and public dollars, including state, county and municipal funds, are helping put on the tournament.

Schedule


For complete details, visit forrestwoodcup.com

Thursday, Aug. 14
Take-Off (7 a.m.)
Dreher Island State Park
Weigh-In (5 p.m.)
Colonial Life Arena

Friday, Aug. 15
Take-Off (7 a.m.)
Dreher Island State Park
Weigh-In (5 p.m.)
Colonial Life Arena
Saturday, Aug. 16
Take-Off (7 a.m.)
Dreher Island State Park
Bass & BBQ Festival (10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.)
Columbia Metropolitan
Convention Center
Weigh-In (5 p.m.)
Colonial Life Arena

Sunday, Aug. 17
Take-Off (7 a.m.)
Dreher Island State Park
FLW Expo (10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.)
Columbia Metropolitan
Convention Center
Weigh-In (5 p.m.)
Colonial Life Arena

Let us know what you think: Email editor@free-times.com.

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