UPCOMING EVENT: Rayovac FLW Series - 2015 - Lake Champlain

It’s now Thrift’s title to lose

Pro Bryan Thrift of Shelby, N.C., recorded a staggering 45-pound, 10-ounce total to take the overall lead heading into the final day of FLW Tour competition on Lake Norman.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Heading into the Lake Norman event, most pros predicted that it would take approximately 12 pounds a day to walk away with the tournament title. However, after the third day of competition, it appears that those initial assessments were woefully inaccurate as Bryan Thrift continues to turn in a performance for the ages. By the end of day-three weigh-in, Thrift had recorded a staggering 45-pound, 10-ounce total - arguably one of the greatest three-day tournament fishing efforts ever turned in on Lake Norman. And what's more frightening for his opponents is that he's not showing any signs of slowing down. "I've done everything I expected it would take to win this tournament but (Thrift) is really running away with this right now," said FLW Tour pro Andy Montgomery, who currently sits in third place with a 38-pound, 15-ounce total catch heading into the final day of competition. "It's absolutely amazing to me that having a 13-pound average isn't enough to win on this lake. Bryan's averaging more than 15 pounds a day right now. And that's just unheard of on this lake." Thrift says that even he's amazed by his dominating performance to date. "I honestly didn't think that it was even possible to have a 15-pound average on this lake," Thrift said. "I thought I could come in here and catch 9 pounds a day and was hoping to catch 12. But to do what I've done for three days is just ridiculous. One day this is going to end and I won't do as well. But hopefully it's not tomorrow." Like most of the field, Thrift said he's primarily targeting boat docks. However, the difference seems to be Thrift's intimate knowledge of the lake as well as his flawless execution. "I just keep fishing the high-percentage areas where I've caught big fish in the past," said Thrift, who hails from Shelby, N.C. "I'm targeting docks, brush piles and rocky banks. And I'm using shallow running crankbaits and 1/2-ounce jigs - but most of my bigger fish are coming on crankbaits. Everything is going really well for me right now. So far, I have missed a fish this entire tournament." Thrift said he was also pleased that Montgomery, his long-time friend and fishing partner, managed to make the top-five cut as well. "Andy and I have been friends for 10 years. We've spent so many hours on the lake together," said Thrift. "I'm glad to see that it's finally starting to pay off for us." With $125,000 on the line for first-place, Thrift acknowledged that it was finally starting to sink in that he had a real chance at capturing his very first FLW Tour title. "When I caught my last fish today, I kind of started getting nervous for the first time," he said. "But I don't want to get too excited because this lake can humble you in a hurry." Trancygier maintains grip on second place Pro Rusty Trancygier of Hahira, Ga., used a three-day catch of 40 pounds, 8 ounces to qualify for today's top-five cut in second place. Rusty Trancygier of Hahira, Ga., used a three-day catch of 40 pounds, 8 ounces to qualify for today's top-five cut in second place. However, despite his stellar three-day outing, he knows that he's going to have to turn it up a notch to catch Thrift in the finals. "I caught three fish in the first 20 minutes and a ton of keepers today," said Trancygier. "But I kept pounding my area all day because I knew that (Thrift) would catch them and I wanted to stay as close as I could. Overall it was a great day. It went exactly as I had planned, but I just couldn't ever get that big bite." Trancygier said that's he's targeting backwater pockets and coves with a combination of Lucky Craft crankbaits and Mann's Baby 1-minus spinnerbaits. As for his prime fishing locations, he said that he's relying specifically on one productive area that he's known about for quite some time. "I fished this spot a few years ago and it worked out well," he said. "There are a lot of fish there and I know I can catch them. I'm going to do the same thing tomorrow - at this point, it's the only thing I got going." Montgomery ends day in third place Pro Andy Montgomery of Blacksburg, S.C., qualified for the FLW Tour finals on Lake Norman in third place with a 38-pound, 15-ounce catch.Although Andy Montgomery of Blacksburg, S.C., knows he has an uphill road to the title after qualifying for the Lake Norman finals in third place, he said he is still enjoying every minute of the tournament. "Bryan and I have been fishing together for 10 years and we've probably spent 150 days on this lake fishing together as well," said Montgomery. "So it's pretty neat to go into the finals in first and third place. "Bryan knows every part of this lake that I know and I know exactly what he knows," Montgomery continued. "We're both fishing boat docks but he's fishing more of a pattern right now. It's just amazing what he's doing. I think right now the rest of us are basically fishing for second place." Montgomery said that his daily strategy includes fishing pole docks for spotted bass in the morning. Then later, when he nails down a limit, Montgomery then targets float docks to augment his sack with kicker largemouth bass. "I caught five largemouth bass the first day but only two on days two and three and that's the difference between bringing back a 12-pound stringer and a 14-pound stringer," said Montgomery. Montgomery said he continues to attack the lake fishing a 1/2-ounce Shooter Lures jig. Best of the rest Pro Rusty Salewske of Alpine, Calif., qualified for the Lake Norman finals in fourth place, with a total catch of 36 pounds, 3 ounces.Rusty Salewske of Alpine, Calif., qualified for the Lake Norman finals in fourth place, with a total catch of 36 pounds, 3 ounces. Meanwhile, Brian Travis of Conover, N.C., gained the fifth and last qualifying spot in the finals with a total three-day catch weighing 35 pounds, 6 ounces. Day four of FLW Tour Pro Division competition on Lake Norman resumes during tomorrow's takeoff, scheduled to take place at 7:15 a.m. at Blythe Landing, located at 15901 N.C. Highway 71 in Cornelius, N.C.

Tags: headline-story  gary-mortenson 

/news/2015-07-31-champlain-midday-update-day-2

Champlain Midday Update Day 2

While day one of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Plano on Lake Champlain was wracked by high winds and rain in the morning, day two has been almost as good as Champlain can be. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-30-cioppa-leads-on-champlain

Cioppa Leads On Champlain

David Cioppa of Hopkinton, Mass., weighed 22 pounds, 13 ounces late in the weigh-in to grab the lead after the first day of the Rayovac FLW Series event on Lake Champlain. Cioppa weighed all largemouths and says that he caught the entirety of his weight by about 9 a.m. from one location in the northern end of the lake. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-30-top-5-patterns-from-champlain-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Champlain Day 1

Lake Champlain was rough and wild on day one of the Rayovac FLW Series event presented by Plano, and a bunch of the anglers still got it done in a big way. David Cioppa caught largemouths in the Inland Sea, but the rest of the top guys spread out all over the massive lake. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-30-champlain-midday-update-day-1

Champlain Midday Update Day 1

Takeoff was placid enough, with a beautiful sunrise and a light breeze in the slightly protected corner that is Plattsburgh. By about 6:30 a.m., day one of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Plano on Lake Champlain was already beginning to get rough. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-21-top-picks-from-icast

Top Picks From ICAST

A few days of walking the floor at ICAST is enough to exhaust a body, but it isn’t enough to know exactly what’s worthwhile. For that, you need some time to reflect and probably a few tournament seasons to fly by to see what rises up. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-20-renfrew-fished-to-win

Renfrew Fished to Win

Ian Renfrew of Phoenix, New York, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Northeast Division tournament on Oneida Lake presented by Navionics. For his victory, Renfrew earned $4,695. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-20-docks-and-rocks-key-for-synders

Docks and Rocks Key for Synders

Rus Snyders of Nashville, Tennessee, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 6 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Music City Division tournament on Old Hickory Lake presented by Navionics. For his victory, Snyders earned $2,703. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-20-jig-crankbait-carry-powroznik

Jig, Crankbait Carry Powroznik

Ryan Powroznik of Prince George, Virginia, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 17 pounds, 15 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Piedmont Division tournament on the James River. For his victory, Powroznik earned $7,507. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-20-persistence-pays-for-arning

Persistence Pays for Arning

Ray Arning Jr. of Walnut Hill, Illinois, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 13 pounds, 5 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Illini Division tournament on Rend Lake presented by Navionics. For his victory, Arning earned $5,804. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-17-new-rod-roundup

New Rod Roundup

Rod companies continue to impress each year with a new crop of lighter, faster and more affordable (sweet!) rods. On the subject of price, these days, a tournament pro or an average angler could be fishing with rods that cost less than $100 apiece, but without giving up anything in the realm of quality. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-17-new-terminal-tackle

New Terminal Tackle

Don’t skimp where it counts the most – terminal tackle. Hooks, weights, jigheads and the like are the keys to taking all those new soft baits and swimbaits to the fish, hooking them and getting them in the boat. Here’s the best stuff we saw on the floor at ICAST 2015. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-flw-announces-2016-tour-schedule

FLW Announces 2016 Tour Schedule

FLW announced the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour regular-season schedule today in a live press conference held at the 2015 ICAST show in Orlando, Fla. With the help of six veteran Tour pros, the company unveiled each of the six events, one-by-one, to a crowd of observers gathered around the FLW booth. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-6-new-reels-to-try

6 New Reels to Try

Whether you need to replace an old reel or you’re just looking to add to the arsenal, here are some of the latest and greatest from ICAST. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-6-new-lines-from-icast-2015

6 New Lines from ICAST 2015

Line might just be the most important part of the package when it comes to landing fish. From presenting the bait to getting them in the net, your line is involved the entire way. If you’re looking for something new to try, the following lines are worth a shot. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-icast-best-of-show-winners-

ICAST Best Of Show Winners

One of the highlights of ICAST is the annual “Best of Show” awards. Not everything at ICAST is of interest to bass anglers, but the below might end up being staples for a long time to come. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-10-new-frogs-and-toads

10 New Frogs and Toads

These days, frogs and toads aren’t just mimicking frogs and toads. They’re designed to be perfect imitations of rats, bream and various oddball creatures. New models at ICAST this season offer anglers some of these “alternative” species, as well as new sizes, colors, action types and degrees of realism. Here are 10 new models that we feel are of greatest interest. Click here for complete 2015 ICAST coverage. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-7-terrific-topwater-baits

7 Terrific Topwater Baits

If you don’t like fishing topwater, just give up fishing already. These seven new baits will help you get your surface-fishing fix next season. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-critters-and-craws

Critters and Craws

Nearly everyone already has a tackle box overflowing with soft baits. That said, there are always more to try. If you’re looking for something new, the following might do the trick. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-15-new-hard-baits-for-2015

New Hard Baits for 2015

It doesn’t take long to find yourself overwhelmed on the show floor of ICAST. Hundreds of companies are here unveiling cool, new products. When it comes to the hard bait category it can be daunting to sift through all the new stuff. Its early, but here are a few things that might be worth adding to the tackle box. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-15-icast-2015-fishing-accessories

ICAST 2015 Fishing Accessories

Check out these tools and accessory items that fill a variety of roles when on the water. We’ll update the list later tomorrow too. Click here for complete 2015 ICAST coverage. READ MORE »