That statement has nothing to do with his fishing ability. Just three months ago, Cox was ranked No. 1 in our sport after two incredible seasons of vying for the FLW Tour Angler of the Year title.
What makes Cox’s Forrest Wood Cup win so historic is he did it not from a fully-loaded, 75-mph rocket we call a modern fiberglass bass boat, but instead from an aluminum boat. In doing so, he became the only pro to ever win a modern world championship in bass fishing from a metal boat.
Much as he did when he won his first FLW Tour event on the Red River in 2011, Cox was able to get his aluminum boat into stretches of Lake Wheeler others simply couldn’t. He had an entire backwater pattern all to himself, and while things got pretty close after a hiccup on day three and some late surges from the likes of Michael Neal and Jeremy Lawyer the final day, Cox showed yet again he’s arguably the best shallow-water angler out there. And now he has a giant, shiny trophy to prove it.
So, now that he’s a world champion, he’s got to be back at No. 1 in our rankings, right? Nope. He’s close, as he bumped back up to fourth after his monumental victory this weekend. However, his mediocre finish at Kentucky Lake earlier this summer is enough to weigh down his two-year average just enough to keep him from being No. 1 … not that he probably minds right now.
It’s noteworthy that Cox now makes up a foursome of FLW Tour anglers who are clearly above the rest of the field. Andy Morgan, Scott Martin, Bryan Thrift (fresh off his fourth-place finish at the Cup) and now Cox are ranked first through fourth, respectively. After that, there is only one other FLW Tour angler in our top 20 (Jacob Wheeler at No. 9). The rest are all Elite Series pros.
Scott Canterbury was also in the top 20 prior to the Cup, but his mid-tier finish dropped him to 22nd. He wasn’t the only high-ranking FLW Tour pro to slide after the championship, as Stetson Blaylock slid to 27th and Wesley Strader slipped all the way to 40th.
Michael Neal made Cox sweat a little the final day, as he was one of the few to locate fish offshore – not surprising considering his background. Neal is now ranked 82nd. Then there is Todd Auten, who really made Cox worried after day three. However, his fish deserted him on the final day. Still, the quiet man from South Carolina moved up to 140th.