By Todd Ceisner
On the drive home from the Toyota Texas Bass Classic last October, Scott Canterbury figured he’d be that guy and stop off to get a Halloween costume he could change into before he got home.
He wound up going with the Darth Vader look and put a pretty good scare into his wife and daughter when he got home earlier than expected.
While he might be able to pull a fast one on the family every now and then, the days of him sneaking up on his competitors on the water are long gone. After notching a 2nd-place finish at this year’s Forrest Wood Cup, the Alabama pro will go into next week’s Sam Rayburn FLW Tour Open in 6th place in points, just 5 points out of 5th, which is the final spot that’s guaranteed early entry into next year’s Cup.
He’s had a career year in terms of earnings in 2012, thanks to his Cup result and four other Top-20 finishes, and he’s made a steady climb to 15th in the BassFan World Rankings. Still, he's hoping the best is yet to come.
“It was a good season,” he said. “I think I fished really good this season and made some good decisions. I made some bad decisions, too. I found some fish and made the wrong decision on where to start, but as far as my fishing, I think I did really well.”
‘It Just Hasn’t Been My Time’
Canterbury’s no stranger to the top of the leaderboard. Last year, he won the Lake Eufaula Southeast EverStart. In addition, he’s led FLW Tour events after 3 days on three separate occasions. Each time, though, he’s been unable to close the deal and walk away with the trophy. He’s confident things will fall into place for him at some point and he’ll be able to hoist the big winner’s check overhead.
“I’ve been ready for 4 years,” he said. “It’s not easy, that’s for sure. All you can do is keep putting yourself in contention and hopefully when I have the opportunity, I’ll be ready for it. You never know when that win’s going to come. It’ll come when it’s least expected.”
It almost happened this past April at the Beaver Lake Major. He parlayed a 19-11 day-3 stringer into a 12-ounce lead heading into the final day, but slipped to 4th in the end as David Dudley went on to claim one of his two wins this season. Despite dropping out of the lead, it was a career-best effort at Beaver for Canterbury (his previous best was 64th) and it let him know that he’s getting closer to that ultimate prize.
“When it’s my turn and the Lord says it’s my turn, it’ll happen,” he said. “Until then, I’m blessed to be able to make a living fishing and doing what I love to do. You never know when it’s going to happen against our competition.
"It’s hard to get a win. Some guys seem to have that knack for knowing how to win. I know how to win. It just hasn’t been my time. I’ve won a lot of tournaments in my time and know what it takes to win. When it’s your turn, it’ll happen on the final day.”
Even at the Cup this year at Lake Lanier, he would've been on the winning fish had Jacob Wheeler not cracked the shallow-water code in the Chattahoochee River that carried him to the victory. Once Wheeler weighed 21-15 on day 1, it was essentially a race for 2nd.
“Going into the Cup, we all thought between 50 to 53 pounds would win the tournament,” he said. “I thought I had enough weight to win until the first day and Jacob came in with 21 or 22 pounds. That was pretty amazing and it was his tournament to win after that. He was blessed, but I was blessed, too. I had a great tournament and everything worked out for me.
“I lost one fish the whole tournament and it was on the last day and it may have only given me an ounce or 2. In no way would it have changed the outcome. Finishing 2nd, I was tickled with that.”
Concerned About Future
Like many of his fellow FLW Tour pros, Canterbury was taken aback when the 2013 FLW Tour schedule was released and it consisted of just six events.
He likes the variety of venues that was put out – he’s never been to Grand Lake – but he doesn’t see how FLW can remain a viable top-flight tournament organization by offering only a half-dozen events at its highest level of competition.
“The schedule’s fine with me,” he said. “I’m not one to get to into the schedule because wherever we’re going, someone’s going to win. I certainly hope (the Opens will) be back because there’s no way that anybody other than six guys that win will make it next year. There’s just no way the field can make a living with just six tournaments. It’s just not possible.
"I understand some of the things that have gone on and why FLW did what they had to do. I just hope that they work to solve the problems.”