UPCOMING EVENT: Rayovac FLW Series - 2015 - Lake Erie

Thrift clips locals at Big O

OKEECHOBEE, Fla. - This time last year, young Bryan Thrift of Shelby, N.C., fished his first Stren Series event as a co-angler on Lake Okeechobee and finished 11th. Then he went to the next Stren Series (formerly EverStart Series) Southeast Division event on Santee Cooper in March and won it. Thrift traveled to the third event of the season at Lake Eufaula and won again, collecting unprecedented back-to-back co-angler wins in the Stren Series. He finished the season with a 69th-place finish at West Point and a second in the Southeast points race; Thrift decided it was time to step up to the pro side in 2006. Today, on the Stren Series stage in the Wal-Mart parking lot, Bryan Thrift, fishing his first event as a pro, found himself locked up squarely between the local Lane brothers - Bobby and Arnie. Arnie Lane had just weighed in an impressive 16 pounds, 14 ounces to take the lead.Pro Bryan Thrift of Shelby, N.C., wins the Southeast Division Stren Series on Lake Okeechobee with a two-day total of 36-9. Whispers among locals in the crowd indicated that Bobby Lane had a big sack, too. It looked to be a showdown between the Lane brothers. But not before a shy Thrift took the stage and dropped 22 pounds, 7 ounces on the scales, anchored by two giant bass, both in the 8- to 9-pound class. Thrift knocked Arnie off the lead, and then Bobby mounted a crowd-rousing charge with 18 pounds, 9 ounces - but it wasn't enough. Bobby Lane came up just 5 ounces short of his first Stren Series win and Thrift won his third Stren Series title in just five tournaments. For the record, Thrift amassed a two-day total of 36 pounds, 9 ounces for the win. "I must be nervous or cold, because I can't quit shaking," Thrift told the crowd with a trembling voice after he was declared the winner. "I can't believe this is happening." Could the Chatterbait be the next hot item on Lake Okeechobee? HereFor four days, Thrift fished a 3/8-ounce Chatterbait (made by Rad Lures in South Carolina) in various colors in the Moonshine Bay area of Okeechobee. He fished the bait on 30-pound-test braided line. Thrift targeted a mix of hydrilla and reeds with the unique swimming jig that features a bill-like blade in the front, which produces an erratic action. "The best places were where the reed line and hydrilla created a seam," Thrift explained. "There were holes and gaps in the hydrilla where it met the reeds, and that's where all my big bites came from. I'd swim the Chatterbait over the holes, kind of slow-rolling it, ripping it and pausing it over each hole - that's when the big ones would crush it." Thrift also noted that all his big fish came first thing in the morning each day. "The big-fish bite was definitely early," he said. "Last night, I told my friends that if I didn't have a big one by 8:30, it would be over for me." This morning, Thrift did not have a big bite by 8:30. In fact, he didn't have any bites by 8:30. "By nine o' clock, I thought I was toast," he said. "Then I made a little move across the bay and caught both of my big ones within 10 minutes - those were my first two fish." Thrift collected a fully rigged Ranger Boat plus $10,000 for his win. Needless to say, it looks like FLW Outdoors has a new fishing phenom on its hands. Bobby Lane runner-up Thrift's win was Bobby Lane's dagger in the heart. After starting the day with a 2-Bryan Thrift looks on as Bobby Lane mounts his final charge. Lane finished second with a two-day total of 36-4pound lead, Lane had one of those flawless fishing days where everything comes together perfectly and points toward a win. "I thought it was my day, I really did," lamented Lane, who had a two-day total of 36 pounds, 4 ounces. "I'm happy for Bryan - that was an incredible stringer of fish. The frustrating part is not knowing what I could have done different." Lane fished in the Moonshine Bay area and caught most of the fish he weighed on Berkley Bungee Hogs, Sweet Beavers and Gambler B.B. Crickets. He flipped and pitched all the plastics on 20-pound-test Vanish and 65-pound-test SpiderWire with 1 1/2-ounce Tru-Tungsten weights. Lane used a two-pronged approached that involved flipping thick matted vegetation and fishing sparse, isolated cattail clumps. "When I flipped the thick, matted stuff, I used the 1 1/2-ounce weight, SpiderWire and the Crickets and Beavers," he said. "When I fished the isolated clumps, I made casts and long pitches with a lighter 3/8-ounce weight and Bungee Hog on the Vanish Fluorocarbon." Lane collected $10,000 for second place. Arnie Lane third Pro Arnie Lane of Lakeland, Fla., shows off his 8-5 bass. He finished third with a two-day total of 27-15Bobby's brother, Arnie Lane, also of Lakeland, Fla., proved that fishing talent runs in the Lane family. Arnie snuck up through the standings in Bobby's shadow this week and almost put a love-you-like-a-brother whooping on him at the very last minute. His weight of 16 pounds, 14 ounces was anchored by an 8-pound, 5-ounce bass. His two-day total of 27 pounds, 15 ounces put him third, worth $9,000. Arnie also spent the tournament in Moonshine Bay, alternating between flipping thick mats and casting worms to isolated cattail clumps. "I flipped a Gambler Ugly Otter under a 1-ouce Bass Pro XPS Tungsten weight in the mats," he said. "And I cast a 7-inch Gambler ribbon-tail worm to the isolated cattails." "The real key for me was the isolated stuff," he added. "The more isolated a mat or clump of cattails, the better." McMillan battles boat trouble for fourth After hitting a floating log and damaging his outboard motor Friday, Jimmy McMillanPro Jimmy McMillan of Belle Glade, Fla., finished fourth with a two-day total of 25-14. of Belle Glade, Fla., was forced to borrow a boat for today's competition. But McMillan's motor woes were not over as he had motor trouble again today, which cost him a majority of his fishing time. "We only got to fish about two and a half hours today," McMillan said. "I would have liked to try my flipping places for an hour or two today, but given all the motor trouble, I'm happy to have what I caught." Despite the complications, McMillan managed to catch 10 pounds, 4 ounces today for a two-day total of 25 pounds, 14 ounces worth $8,000. McMillan fished in South Bay using a 3/8-ounce Bass Pro Shops XPS rattling lipless crankbait in a gold color. "I was fishing around cattail clumps," he said. "It was basically a reaction bite. I'd cast past a clump and try to rip the bait into the clump to get the fish to react on it." McMillan also extended a personal thanks to fellow competitor and friend Carmen Patti (fifth) who gave McMillan and his co-angler a ride back in today. "Carmen spent a lot of his valuable tournament time helping us out, and I can't thank him enough for that," he added. Patti takes fifth Pro Carmen Patti of Davie, Fla., finished fifth with a two-day total of 20-14Carmen Patti of Davie, Fla., finished fifth with a two-day total of 20 pounds, 14 ounces worth $7,500. Patti also fished the South Bay area with a Bass Pro Shops XPS rattling lipless crankbait around isolated willow bushes and cattails to catch his bass. Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 pros in the first Stren Series Southeast event of the season: 6th: Roger Crafton of Boca Grande, Fla., 20-0, $6,500 7th: Rick Ankenbauer of Clearwater, Fla., 19-8. $5,500 8th: Billy Bowen of Ocala, Fla., 15-2, $5,000 9th: Ronald Brown of Mount Pleasant, S.C., 15-0, $4,500 10: Kindle Nelms of Lake City, Fla., 9-1, $4,000

Tags: headline-story  rob-newell 

/news/2015-08-28-top-5-patterns-from-lake-erie-day-2

Top 5 Patterns From Lake Erie Day 2

Pennsylvania pro Dave Lefebre and Ohio pro Jared Rhode tied for the day-two lead in Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division action on Lake Erie with 43 pounds, 9 ounces. Both pros caught their fish on drop-shots. Here are the details of the rest of the top five. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-28-lefebre-rhode-tied-at-the-top

Lefebre, Rhode Tied at the Top

Notching his second day of 20-plus pounds, FLW Tour pro Dave Lefebre tallied 43 pounds, 9 ounces and tied day-one leader Jared Rhode for the day-two top spot at the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie. Lefebre caught his 22-3 limit on Rapala DT-10 crankbaits, while Rhodes tempted his 19-15 catch with drop-shots. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-28-lake-erie-day-2-midday-update

Lake Erie Day 2 Midday Update

With winds shifting from yesterday’s northerly blow to a warmer southerly direction, day two of the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie brought calmer conditions with greater ability to methodically work key spots. Offshore, waves ran 1 to 2 feet, with leeward areas behind the Lake Erie Islands nearly flat. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-27-rhode-cracks-23-10-for-erie-lead

Rhode Cracks 23-10 for Erie Lead

Jared Rhode played his cards and the gamble paid off better than expected, as the pro from Port Clinton, Ohio, took the day-one lead at the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie with a limit catch weighing 23 pounds, 10 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-27-top-5-patterns-from-lake-erie-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Lake Erie Day 1

Taking off this morning, the FLW Tour pro from Erie, Pa., knew the day’s north wind would keep him from making a long run to a big-fish spot close to his home. However, keeping it local and fishing a little past Pelee Island to the west delivered a solid second-place catch. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-27-lake-erie-day-1-midday-report

Lake Erie Day 1 Midday Report

Winds have subsided considerably since practice, but Lake Erie’s still showing her temperamental side to Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division anglers fishing the last divisional event out of Sandusky, Ohio. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-25-top-10-patterns-from-the-forrest-wood-cup

Top 10 Patterns from the Forrest Wood Cup

If you don’t believe that summertime bass fishing in the dog days of August is all over the map, just take a look at the top 10 patterns from the best bass pros on earth at the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. Brad Knight captured the Cup by mining one small creek end for four days. But beyond that, the rest of the top 10 patterns ran the gamut, from targeting schoolers over 40 feet to wolf packs of bass on the bank to brush piles to grass to mud flats and everywhere in between. Here’s a rundown. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-23-knight-slays-ouachita

Knight Slays Ouachita

Lancing, Tenn., pro Brad Knight won the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart on Lake Ouachita with a four-day total of 51 pounds, 12 ounces. In front of a standing-room-only crowd at Bank of the Ozarks Arena in Hot Springs, Ark., Knight weighed in 11-07 on day four to surpass Jacob Wheeler, who started the day with a 12-ounce lead. Fishing in just one area all four days, Knight locked up the first win of his FLW career. He earned $500,000 for his victory and pushed his career earnings total to more than $688,000. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-23-forrest-wood-cup-day-4-coverage

Forrest Wood Cup Day 4 Coverage

Daily updates from the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-22-wheeler-back-in-front

Wheeler Back in Front

Jacob Wheeler loves Lake Ouachita. It’s where he fished his first Forrest Wood Cup in 2011, and it’s where he’ll take the tournament lead into the final day of competition at the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart and hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. Wheeler, the 2011 Cup champion, led this tournament on day one and slipped a couple spots on day two. He now has a very slim 12-ounce lead over Tennessean Brad Knight. The anglers will square off tomorrow on Ouachita starting at 7 a.m. against the rest of the top 10 pros for the top prize of $500,000. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-22-top-5-patterns-from-the-cup-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from the Cup Day 3

Jacob Wheeler may have regained his lead in the Forrest Wood Cup on day three, but Brad Knight is right on his heels. Going into the final day, the two pros are separated by just 12 ounces. The margin is tight, and what’s going to make the final day fun to watch is the difference in the two anglers’ strategies. Wheeler is running a topwater pattern on the main lake, and fishing new water is part of his plan. Knight, however, has caught almost all of his weight from one 250-yard stretch of bass-rich creek channel. He literally knows every target he is fishing by heart. On the surface, Knight’s area looks to be the better bet. But he has shared the general area with Brandon Cobb and Mark Daniels Jr. for three solid days. And the bad news, at least for Knight, is that both Cobb and Daniels will be sharing the water with him again on the final day as both made the top-10 cut. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-22-forrest-wood-cup-day-3-coverage

Forrest Wood Cup Day 3 Coverage

Daily updates from the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-21-ramie-races-into-the-lead

Ramie Races into the Lead

On the back of a 17-pound, 14-ounce limit, which is the biggest of the tournament thus far, Ramie Colson Jr. jumped from seventh place to take over the lead at the halfway point of the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart. Colson’s two-day total is 31 pounds, 1 ounce, which puts him almost 3 pounds ahead of Tennessee’s Brad Knight. The Forrest Wood Cup, which is hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, moves into its top-20 round on Saturday. The top 10 pros after Saturday’s weigh-in advance to Sunday’s final round for a shot at the $500,000 top prize. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-21-top-5-patterns-from-the-cup-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from the Cup Day 2

At times, bass fishing can be a lot like real estate, where the three most important rules are location, location and location. The 2015 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita presented by Walmart is starting to become a bit of a real estate game where location is the primary consideration in who climbs the leaderboard. And those mining the backs of creeks and tributaries are on the prime pieces of real estate. Consider that after day two, four of the top five pros are concentrating their fishing efforts in the back ends of creeks or rivers. All of these areas fit a classic late-summer, early-fall pattern where shad pack into the back of creek ditches that meander through shallow flats. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-21-forrest-wood-cup-day-2-coverage

Forrest Wood Cup Day 2 Coverage

Daily updates from the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-20-wheeler-hunting-history

Wheeler Hunting History

It’s never been done before, and it hasn’t happened yet, but Jacob Wheeler is in prime position to become the first two-time Forrest Wood Cup champion in history. Wheeler, of Indianapolis, Ind., brought in a 16-pound, 2-ounce limit of Lake Ouachita bass on the first day of the Cup, which is presented by Walmart and hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-20-top-5-patterns-from-the-cup-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from the Cup Day 1

After day one of the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita, several things have come to light. For one, this event is not likely to produce a runaway win for anyone like it did when Scott Martin won here in 2011. Second, when the pros said Ouachita was going to be stingy, they meant it – only 29 of the 50 pros checked in limits today. Third, firm patterns are hard to come by on Lake Ouachita in August. Jacob Wheeler took the lead on day one in the event that’s presented by Walmart and hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. With the help of a 5-pound bass, Wheeler weighed in a limit of 16 pounds, 2 ounces, but he had to sample a lot of different areas for his catch. Here’s how the rest of the top five got it done. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-20-forrest-wood-cup-day-1-coverage

Forrest Wood Cup Day 1 Coverage

Daily updates from the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-17-elkins-looked-deep-on-erie

Elkins Looked Deep on Erie

Matt Elkins of Spencerville, Ohio, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 22 pounds, 6 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Michigan Division tournament on the Detroit River. For his victory, Elkins earned $5,337. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-17-manson-targets-shad

Manson Targets Shad

Scott Manson of Covington, Ohio, weighed four bass totaling 8 pounds, 10 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Buckeye Division tournament on the Ohio River. For his victory, Manson earned $5,205. READ MORE »