UPCOMING EVENT: Walmart Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Okeechobee

Thrift charges out of gate at Forrest Wood Cup

2007 FLW Tour Rookie of the Year Bryan Thrift of Shelby, N.C., takes the day one lead in the Forrest Wood Cup with 15-7.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - As of 7 o'clock this morning, all of the pretournament rhetoric, smoke screening and unintentional sandbagging came to an abrupt end as the 2007 Forrest Wood Cup qualifiers took to Lake Ouachita and did what they do best: catch bass. With temperatures in the mid-90s and a thick layer of humidity slithering through the Ouachita Mountain valley, it was classic summertime fishing at its finest. If you have ever wondered how the best pros in the world deal with such conditions, this event is a good lesson. Simply put: With a million bucks on the line, no one is holding back. Despite a lot of pretournament moaning, 34 limits passed through the scales in the Pro Division. As expected, the local contingent represented Arkansas well, but interestingly, there are a few California addresses in the top 10, too. The Wal-Mart FLW Tour's 2007 Gain Rookie of the Year, Bryan Thrift of Shelby, N.C., set the bar early in the weigh-in with a five-bass limit weighing 15 pounds, 7 ounces, which held up as the day-one lead. Thrift made it clear that his catch was a total surprise. He only caught six keepers during the day, but a majority of them were larger than he expected. "I've had several 8- to 10-pound days in practice, but nothing like this," Thrift said of his day-one catch. "Some of those 2-pounders turned into 3-pounders, and I got one about 6 pounds to go with them." Thift said he fished the lake "from one end to another," spending only a few minutes at each spot. "I've got a shallow pattern that I'm trying to make last as long as I can in the mornings," he said. "I'm running spot to spot and only making four or five casts per spot. My morning deal has been better for quality, but today that kind of changed. I caught three shallow and then moved out deep where I caught the 6-pounder." When Thrift works his deep-water pattern, he says he does fish a little longer - 15 to 20 minutes per spot - but he's still trying not to stay in one place too long. "I'm just trying to keep moving and not get stale," he added. "I seem to fish better when I'm on the move." He did note that both his shallow and deep patterns were grass-oriented patterns. Though Thrift is responsible for introducing the bass-fishing world the ChatterBait, he did confirm that he is not using one here. "Coming here, my plan was to catch them stroking the ChatterBait through the deep grass," he said. "It did work a couple of days, but with it being so hot, those fish are not reacting to it right now. I'm having to drag plastics around to get my bites." Suggs second Folgers pro Scott Suggs of Bryant, Ark., is one of the hands-down favorites this week Folgers pro Scott Suggs shows off one of his Ouachita bass before weighing in on day one.at Ouachita, and he showed why today with a five-bass limit weighing 14 pounds, 14 ounces for second place. As further proof of the number of fish he is on, his co-angler, David Hudson of Jasper, Ala., is leading the Co-angler Division with 11 pounds, 9 ounces. Despite the amount of money on the line, Suggs was very candid about his pattern. "I'm spending three-quarters of the day in deep-standing timber," he said. "It's actually where grass and timber kind of come together, but I'm focusing mostly on suspended fish in the standing trees." Suggs also noted that he saw at least one other competitor fishing the same way he was and that the other competitor is also in the top 10. As for Suggs' chances at the million dollars from this point in time, he's not calling his shots yet, but he does seem to exude a great deal of confidence in being dialed in on exactly what his fish are doing. "I'm fishing for all I can get tomorrow," he said. "I'm not going to mess with that conservation game and play with chances of missing the cut. I've done that and gotten burned in the past. I would stop at 10 or 11 pounds, should I catch that tomorrow, but I'm not going to be playing around with the math on anything less." Sappington third M&MM&M's pro John Sappington of Willard, Mo., holds down the third-place position after day one with 13 pounds, 13 ounces. Sappington, the 2002 championship winner on the FLW Tour, revealed that he worked three different patterns to catch 10 keepers today. One is a shallow grass pattern that has produced small fish for him and is "going away," due to the rapidly falling water levels. The other is a deep grass pattern, but the last one has a familiar ring to Suggs' primary pattern in that Sappington mentioned the words "standing timber." "I've got nine rods out on the deck, and I'm fishing a lot of different baits on these fish," he said. "I don't know that I've quite got them dialed in just yet; I feel like I'm playing catch-up to them every day. Each day I have to adjust and change up lures or areas to get them to bite." Salewske fourth Rusty Salewske of Alpine, Calif., has started the event in fourth place with Rusty Salewske of Alpine, Calif., has started the Forrest Wood Cup in fourth place with five bass weighing 13 pounds.five bass weighing 13 pounds. Although Salewske did not want to reveal the finer details of his pattern, it is somewhat obvious that his Western fishing roots are paying off. "I feel pretty comfortable on this kind of water - deep and clear," he said. "It's not like when I go to Okeechobee and everyone's catching 9-pounders, and I don't know what to do. This kind of water fits me better." Salewske did say he is fishing down to 30 feet of water and that he's not in the grass, but that deep grass does need to be close by to make his pattern work. "I've got one good spot that produced most of my fish," he said. "I caught my limit by 10:30 and then backed out of the area a bit. Hopefully that one spot will hold up. I do have other areas that I did not fish today, but this one place has all the right ingredients." Roberston fifth After starting the Forrest Wood Cup in fifth place, Darrel Robertson gets interviewed by FOX camera crews. As a former championship winner on the FLW Tour, Darrel Robertson of Jay, Okla., is no stranger to winning big-money tournaments, and he made an early move on a second title today with five bass weighing 12 pounds, 10 ounces. "This lake has plenty of bass in it," he said. "My thoughts on it are that this time of year, they feed almost exclusively at night. I feel like there are plenty of bass down there looking at my lures, but they just will not bite." Robertson did make just five bass try an afternoon meal today. "I've got about eight little key spots that I'm fishing with a worm," he said. "Some are just grass, and some have grass and timber. I'll fish each one for about 20 minutes, then move on to the next one, and I just rotate them like that all day." Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 pros in the 2007 Forrest Wood Cup after day one: 6th: Greg Pugh of Cullman, Ala., five bass, 12-5 7th: Mark Davis of Mount Ida, Ark., five bass, 12-0 8th: Kevin Vida of Clare, Mich., five bass, 11-14 9th: Jason Borofka of Salinas, Calif., five bass, 11-8 9th: Shad Schenck of Waynetown, Ind., five bass, 11-8 The second day of the Forrest Wood Cup begins at 7 a.m. on Friday at Brady Mountain Resort, located at 4120 Brady Mountain Road in Royal, Ark.

Tags: headline-story  rob-newell 


Devere Takes BFL Wild Card Win

The decision of what to fish come tournament time can be difficult for most. For others – like Mike Devere – relying on a single bait that you have confidence in is all you need. Devere’s one bait, one rod method was strong enough to carry him to victory by nearly 2 pounds in the BFL Wild Card held on Lake Hartwell. READ MORE »


Top 10 Patterns from the Ohio River

Here is a closer look at how the rest of the top 10 fished in the Championship, which was hosted by the Paducah Convention & Visitors Bureau and the City of Paducah Oct. 28-31. READ MORE »


Hanselmania 4.0

Saturday, in Paducah, Ky., on the shores of the Ohio River, Ray Hanselman rewrote history for the second time this season. After winning all three 2015 Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division events, which had never been done before, Hanselman came to Kentucky and won the Rayovac FLW Series Championship. READ MORE »


Rayovac Championship Day 3 Coverage

The final day of the Rayovac FLW Series Championship on the Ohio River will largely be fished on the Tennessee River, as all but two anglers rolled up it to chase smallmouths. READ MORE »


Hanselman on the Verge of Four-Peat

Day two of the Rayovac FLW Series Championship on the Ohio River was fished primarily on the nearby Tennessee River and resulted in a major shuffling of the leaderboard. In the end, Ray Hanselman rose from second to first and will lead the top 10 into the final day with 30 pounds, 14 ounces. READ MORE »


Top 5 Patterns from the Ohio River Day 2

After two days of competition, Ray Hanselman leads the Rayovac FLW Series Championship on the Ohio River, but as the leaderboard has reflected, the river’s hefty smallmouths are certainly capable of producing some fireworks and providing some surprises. READ MORE »


Rayovac Championship Day 2 Coverage

Down at Paducah, the start of day two of the Rayovac FLW Series Championship was just about perfect – a light wind, temps in the low 40s and no fog. That’s not the case elsewhere. READ MORE »


Barnes Blasts 21 on the Ohio

On day one of the Rayovac FLW Series Championship on the Ohio River David Barnes Sr. of China, Maine, hauled exactly 21 pounds of smallmouth across the stage to take the lead on a day that was tough for many. READ MORE »


Top 5 Patterns from the Ohio River Day 1

Shortly after David Barnes electrified the Rayovac FLW Series Championship weigh-in with his leading weight of 21 pounds of smallmouths, Ray Hanselman followed suit with an all-smallmouth limit weighing 19 pounds. READ MORE »


Rayovac Championship Day 1 Coverage

Updates from day one of the Rayovac FLW Series Championship on the Ohio River. READ MORE »


McCaig Wins Neely Henry Regional

There are times that a little local knowledge helps you in a bass tournament, and then there are times it does not. And sometimes, it pays to ignore past experiences altogether, as Mark McCaig figured out en route to winning the Oct. 22-24, 2015 Walmart Bass Fishing League Regional presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Neely Henry out of Gadsden, Ala. By disregarding what his local experience might have suggested he do and approaching the tournament a little differently, the Oxford, Ala., boater posted a three-day total weight of 45 pounds, 7 ounces to take home the $20,000 winner’s purse as well as a 2015 Ranger Z518C with 200-hp outboard. READ MORE »


Goodwin Wins at Lake of the Ozarks

Day-two leader Shonn Goodwin of Moore, Okla., held on to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League Regional presented by Mercury at Lake of the Ozarks Oct. 22-24 by bringing four bass to the scale on the third and final day. Those fish weighed 8 pounds, 11 ounces. His three-day total of 14 bass weighed 43-13. For the win, Goodwin earned $20,000 and a new Ranger bass boat. READ MORE »


Walters Wins Wateree BFL Regional

Todd Walters relied on a combo pattern to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League Regional on Lake Wateree. The North Carolina boater fished rocky cover upstream and brush piles in the lake's clear lower end. The two-part program produced a three-day winning weight of 47 pounds, 4 ounces, which was 11 pounds better than second place. READ MORE »


Uribe By An Ounce

After Jody Jordan brought 24 pounds, 5 ounces to push his total past 66 pounds on the final day the crowd waited with bated breath for day two leader Joe Uribe Jr. to bring his fish to the scale. As Uribe transferred his third bass from the bag to the scale, he shook his head and whispered back “you’ve got it,” to the watching Jordan. READ MORE »


Anderson Wins KY Lake Regional

You might say there weren’t any surprises at the 2015 Walmart Bass Fishing League Regional presented by Lowrance on Kentucky Lake Oct. 15-17. The techniques of the top 12 pros who fished the final day were typical of the Tennessee River in fall: surface fishing with frogs and Zara Spooks and winding Rat-L-Traps and ChatterBaits. The winners weren’t surprising either: Ryan Sykes of Hamilton, Ohio, won the co-angler division for the second consecutive year, and Tennessee pro Brent Anderson earned his sixth win on the Kentucky/Barkley system since 2009. READ MORE »


Grover Takes Co-angler Title on Clear Lake

Rick Grover of Trabuco Canyon, Calif., pulled in 55 pounds, 5 ounces of bass for the Rayovac FLW Series co-angler win on Clear Lake. All told, it was worth a new Ranger Z117 with a 90-horsepower outboard and $5,000. READ MORE »


Clear Lake Midday Update Day 3



Uribe Takes Lead and AOY at Clear Lake

Joe Uribe Jr. jumped into the lead going into the final day of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Evinrude on Clear Lake. Uribe caught 20 pounds, 13 ounces on day two for a total of 44 pounds, 8 ounces and was the only pro to weigh more than 20 pounds both days. READ MORE »


Top 5 Patterns from Clear Lake Day 2

When the scales had closed after the second day of the Rayovac FLW Series Western Division tournament presented by Evinrude on Clear Lake, no doubt more than a few anglers breathed a sigh of relief that they were still in contention. READ MORE »


Clear Lake Midday Update Day 2

Day two of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Evinrude on Clear Lake has been a little slower than day one. READ MORE »