By Todd Ceisner
BassFan Editor


(Editor's note: This is part 2 of a 2-part Q&A series with the 10 FLW Tour anglers who will fish their first Forrest Wood Cup at Lake Murray later this month. To read part 1, click here.)

Randy Haynes
BF: What's one thing you will be curious about once official practice starts?
Haynes: "Are the fish going to be deep where I can catch them. That's all I practiced while I was there so that's going to be the biggest thing for me. I was pretty disappointed. It was rough. It was the first time I'd been to a herring lake at this time of year and it was pretty tough on me."

BF: Will this tournament be won off a particular area doing one thing or will the winner have to move around and use several techniques to have success?
Haynes: "I think it'll mainly be doing one thing unless it's (Bryan) Thrift who has a shallow deal in the morning and deeper stuff in afternoon."

BF: What do you think will be the most challenging aspect of this tournament?
Haynes: "It's just going to be new to me being that it's a herring lake and the time of year it is. Being from the Tennessee River, when you think summer you automatically think deep, but that's not the case on some of these lakes. That's going to be a challenge for me. For me to win and separate myself I need to fish off the bank. I can't beat the bank and win against guys like Andy Morgan and those guys. I just can't do it."

Michael Wooley
BF: What's one thing you will be curious about once official practice starts?
Wooley: "I'm going to be curious if the fish I found (in pre-practice) will still be there. I feel like they'll be there. I caught them really deep and with it being summer, I don't think it will change from that standpoint."

BF: Will this tournament be won off a particular area doing one thing or will the winner have to move around and use several techniques to have success?
Wooley: "It's probably going to be a deal where you'll be moving around and having a combination of shallow and deep. I fish deep pretty much year around and I didn't find many quality deep fish. I don't know if they're shallow, but the guy who catches the better bites will probably be doing both."

BF: What do you think will be the most challenging aspect of this tournament?
Wooley: "The initial anticipation being that it's such s big tournament. It'll be a little more nerve-wracking being it's my first time.

FLW/Gary Mortenson
Photo: FLW/Gary Mortenson

Matt Stefan is curious to see if the lake level drops at all by the time official practice starts on Aug. 10.

Matt Greenblatt
BF: What's one thing you will be curious about once official practice starts?
Greenblatt: "I'm curious to see how the bite is on the upper end of the lake where the bluebacks come into effect. With the blueback herring, it has always been about chasing them and I'm just not that familiar with how they act. As far as I can tell, it's hit and miss so I guess I'm curious about the herring and how they act."

BF: Will this tournament be won off a particular area doing one thing or will the winner have to move around and use several techniques to have success?
Greenblatt: I don't think it'll be a deal where you can sit on a spot and hammer on one spot. I remember when we were here in 2011 for the Elite Series, Casey Ashley passed me running around so many times. I just don't think you'll be able to sit down and hammer out limits and part of that is the influence of those blueback herring. It'll be a lot of moving around and timing and having a bunch of spots to go to."

BF: What do you think will be the most challenging aspect of this tournament?
Greenblatt: "Fishing for half a million. I don't care who you are, it plays in your mind. If you're there and you're within range on the final day, it'll be on your mind. I fished with the Elite Series so big crowds and all that don't bother me. I think it'll be the building pressure of the event. On day 1, you're trying not to put yourself out of it and on day 2, you're trying to get to day 3. Then the pressure starts to build. If you climb that mountain on day 2, that's when people will start to feel it, and if you make it to day 4, the doors are wide open."

Matt Stefan
BF: What's one thing you will be curious about once official practice starts?
Stefan: "Part of me says they might school up more. It'll have been three or four weeks since I was there, but I feel the schooling activity will ramp up as summer progresses. My other curiosity will be water levels. I don't think the lake fluctuates that much, but it'll be interesting to see if it drops a foot or so. I caught a couple that were really shallow, but at the same time I felt like the water was a little bit higher than it usually is."

BF: Will this tournament be won off a particular area doing one thing or will the winner have to move around and use several techniques to have success?
Stefan: "If my prediction that it'll be won on schooling fish is right, I'll guess it'll be a handful of baits or a spot. Otherwise it'll be a junk-fisherman's paradise. From what I saw, you can't say, 'I'm going to go to my limit spot and put some fish in the boat.'"

BF: What do you think will be the most challenging aspect of this tournament?
Stefan: "Not necessarily because it's a big tournament, but the biggest thing for everyone will be the mental aspect of it. You won't be getting a lot of bites, but you might catch a 5 and a 4 and still only have four fish for that day and still be in it. That will be crucial keeping your head in it and concentrating start to finish and not getting down if you have a slow start to a day. It's going to be tough on everyone."

Phil Jarabeck
BF: What's one thing you will be curious about once official practice starts?
Jarabeck: "I'm more curious if it'll be deep or shallow. Having never fished it before, I've heard both things depending on who you talk to. It seems that pretty much every year, there's been a strong game up shallow this late in the year if you look back at the Cups at Ouachita, Lanier and the Red River. Not that it's always won shallow, but a lot of Top 10s come shallow."

BF: Will this tournament be won off a particular area doing one thing or will the winner have to move around and use several techniques to have success?
Jarabeck: "I think it'll be a moving around deal. I'm not real familiar with the lake, but it's not like Kentucky or Pickwick where you can get on a school and smoke 'em, and it's not a current lake so you might have to rotate shallow and deep or docks and trees or whatever it may be. I think you will have to bounce around and get bites doing multiple things."

BF: What do you think will be the most challenging aspect of this tournament?
Jarabeck: "It's the biggest stage in bass fishing so just the mental game of staying focused will be important. I'm going to focus on staying calm and relaxed and going out and having fun. I won't be focused on what other people are doing. I'm just going out to find fish and try to catch the best five."

End Part 2 of 2