Whenever the FLW Elite anglers meet, Rhea County fishermen have three names in mind — Andy Morgan, Wesley Strader and Michael Neal.
The three Rhea County natives consistently rise to the top among some of the best bass anglers in the world. This weekend all eyes are focused on Kentucky Lake — and especially on Andy Morgan who could end the tournament with a back-to-back “Angler of the Year” title.
Kentucky Lake is the final stop for the FLW Tour regular season. Andy Morgan and Cody Meyer began the tournament separated by a mere 8 points for the AOY title. Experts say that barring a seemingly inconceivable collapse by both anglers in the final event, either Morgan or Meyer will be crowned FLW Angler of the Year.
FLW just began awarding a hefty cash prize for AOY in 2012. However the the title has always held an unparalleled prestige especially among the anglers themselves.
“I just go fishing and bring my best five bass to the scales,” Morgan said. “The more you try to focus on winning the points and beating the other four or five guys up there, the more it hurts you. You better focus on catching fish and earning some money in that event, or you’re going to fail in both respects.”
On Thursday, Day One of the tournament, Morgan came in 10th place with 21 lbs. 4 ounces, outdistancing 25th place Cody Meyer who had 19 pounds, 4 ounces.
Michael Neal finished Day One in 6th place (22-4), about two-and-a-half pounds behind the leader, Brett Hite.
Strader came in midways in the field at 62nd place with 16 pounds, 10 ounces.
After today’s competition the field is cut to the top 20 pros. On Sunday only the Top 10 get to fish with the winner determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from all four days.
You can get all the details, including live weighs-in streamed at www.flwoutdoors.com.
PRE-TOURNAMENT REPORT by Michael Neal
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