DULUTH — In Nov. 2009, Kevin Hawk made a fateful decision. Having already qualified for the 2010 Forrest Wood Cup through the FLW Series National Guard Western Division, Hawk decided to relocate from his home in Ramona, Calif., to Buford in an effort to put as much time on Lake Lanier as possible in order to maximize his success at this year’s championship.
As it turned out, it was an ingenious decision.
Using a four-day catch of 50 pounds, 14 ounces, Hawk took home the prestigious 2010 Forrest Wood Cup title — winning by more than 2 pounds.
“My whole goal was to fish the FLW Tour as a co-angler and get as much time on Lake Lanier as I could,” Hawk said.
Hawk also had another important goal.
Heading into the Cup, he made himself a promise that if he didn’t gain a spot in the finals, he would seriously consider retiring from the high-octane world of tournament bass fishing due to money constraints. But not only did he make the finals, he also walked away with $600,000 in prize money — more than enough to keep his fishing dreams alive.
“I came out here to be competitive and it worked out alright,” said Hawk, who landed the majority of his fish all week on two key baits — a 6-inch Robo worm and a 1/2-ounce Fish Head Spin on 10-pound test line.
“My goal was to hit as many spots as possible each day,” said Hawk, who targeted deep brush piles like most pros throughout the week. “I thought if I got enough bites I’d have a real chance.”
Hawk also said the complexion of Lake Lanier played right into his hands.
“The water on Lanier is very similar to the water I fish back home,” he said.
So how does Hawk feel now that he’s put his name solidly in the record books?
“I’ll always remember this moment for sure,” he said.
As for his future plans?
“Right now my plan is to move over to Lake Guntersville, rent a house and move in with my friend (and fellow FLW Tour pro) Justin Lucas,” Hawk said. “It should be a good time.”
After finishing the 2009 Forrest Wood Cup in third place overall, Cody Meyer’s next goal was to win the Cup title outright. But while he fell short of that mark this year, his stellar second-place finish on Lake Lanier more than made up for any disappointment.
“I had a blast this week, I really did. I can’t wait to come back,” said Meyer, who finished with a four-day total catch of 48 pounds, 8 ounces and walked away with $100,000 in prize money.
Like Hawk, Meyer said that Lake Lanier really played to his strengths.
“I fish a lot on Lake Shasta and that’s where I really learned how to (target) spotted bass with a drop-shot,” said Meyer. “About 10 years ago, I had the privilege of watching (legendary pro) Aaron Martens and I really learned a lot (about drop-shot techniques) from him. Fishing for spotted bass on Lake Lanier is very similar. The drop-shot is just deadly here.”
Meyer, who has made two finals in two Forrest Wood Cup appearances, is clearly one of the hottest young anglers on the circuit right now. For the record, Meyer caught the majority of his bass fishing a Jackall Cross Tail Shad.
“I had two dead fish this week and that really hurt me,” he said. “But overall I had a blast.”