John “Tin Man” Cox
2016 FLW Forrest Wood Cup Champion
CAREER EARNINGS: $1,107,024
CAREER TOURNAMENT WINS: 5
CAREER TOP 10 FINISHES: 29
TOTAL EVENTS FISHED: 119
CUP APPEARANCES: 6
YEARS AS FLW TOUR PRO: 8
In the world of professional bass fishing , FLW pro John Cox is at the pinnacle and arguably the best angler in the sport after being ranked #1 in the world for over 12 months.
John Cox has been an FLW pro for eight years. He has reeled in five tournament wins with 24 top 10 finishes and five cup appearances. He’s the complete package – fierce competitor with multiple championships, ambassador to the sport, and family man.
In 2016, John Cox made history as the first pro angler to bring home the coveted FLW Forrest Wood Cup in an aluminum boat.
• 2016 FLW Forrest Wood Cup Champion
• 2016 FLW Lake Hartwell Champion
• 2015 FLW Angler of the Year Runner up
• 2015 FLW Tour Lake Eufaula 10th Place
• 2015 FLW Tour Beaver Lake 6th Place
• 2015 FLW Tour Lewis Smith Lake 10th
• 2014 Wolfson Children Hospital Tournament 1st Place
• 2014 FLW Tour 5th place (Sam Rayburn)
• 2014 FLW Tour 5th place (Lake Hartwell)
• 2013 Forrest Wood Cup Qualifier (Red River, Louisiana)
• 2012 FLW Tour Open Points Runner-Up
• 2012 FLW Open Runner Up (Lake Okeechobee)
• 2011 Forrest Wood Cup Qualifier (Lake Ouachita)
• 2011 FLW Tour First Place (Red River,Louisiana)
• 2010 FLW Series Runner Up (Lake Okeechobee)
• 2010 Angler of the Year (FLW Eastern Series)
• 2010 Fisher of Men National Points Champion
• 2009 B.A.S.S. Weekend Series Points Champion
• 2008 B.A.S.S. Weekend Series Points Champion
• 2005,07,09,10,12,13 Fishers of Men Points Champion
BUILDING A CHAMPION: THE JOHN COX STORY
Known as the “Tin Man,” Cox competes from a Crestliner aluminum bass boat.
He began fishing from tin boats when his mother, Marie Cox, bought a johnboat for him 19 years ago when he was 12 years old. He and his friend Jeremy Schwartz were soon entering johnboat tournaments from the 12-foot craft, which was powered by an electric motor.“I’d come home from school every day and practice for our johnboat tournament on the weekend,” Cox said.
A lifelong resident of Debary, Fla., Cox lived two minutes from the St. Johns River while growing up. The johnboat tournaments often took place on Rodman Reservoir and smaller waters near home.
“My parents would drop us off Friday,” Cox said. “We’d fish all day and spend the night at the ramp in a tent. Then we’d fish the tournament on Saturday. My parents would pick us up after it was over.”
When Cox was 14 his mother bought him a very used 15-foot fiberglass boat with a 70 hp outboard for $700. Cox sold his johnboat, which provided just enough money for a trolling motor on the fiberglass rig. The new boat allowed him to expand his horizons and compete in larger open tournaments.
In 2006 Cox won a 21-foot Triton Bass boat powered by 225 horses by finishing third at a Bassmaster Southern Tour event on Lake Eufaula. His friend Jeremy Schwartz took a job and was no longer available to fish team tournaments with him. Cox found a willing replacement in Keith Parson.
Cox and Parson fished tournaments together for the next 14 years, and some of those years were quite profitable. In 2010 their winnings totaled nearly $80,000. It was enough to bankroll a shot at the FLW Tour, which Cox had qualified for by winning the FLW Series Point Championship in 2010.
Cox entered as a boater, while Parson entered as a co-angler. The first two FLW events were a disaster for them. They had only enough money left to compete in the third tournament on the Red River. They each won their respective divisions at the Red River and collected a total of $120,000.
“That kept us going,” Cox said.
In 2013 Cox signed on to fish tournaments with aluminum Crestliner boats powered by Mercury outboards. He had come full circle to his johnboat days.
It wasn’t exactly smooth sailing for Cox over the next few years. He had to do odd jobs to supplement his tournament winnings, which included painting, cleaning apartments and a little guiding.
Cox’s primary goal for competing in the 2017 Bassmaster Southern Opens was to win one of them and qualify for the Bassmaster Classic, which he has done.
“What really set me off is when B.A.S.S. announced that the  Classic will be at Lake Hartwell,” Cox said. “That happens on the same week I won an FLW Tour event at Hartwell last year.”
Cox hasn’t written off fishing the Elite Series should he qualify for it. It will come down to which schedule is more favorable to him.
“I like fishing new places, but I do much better on lakes that I’ve been to several times,” Cox said. “It’s almost like having a home field advantage.”