UPCOMING EVENT: Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Ouachita

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: gary-mortenson  headline-story  2010-03-24-lake-norman 

/news/2016-02-10-dudley-links-up-with-livingston-lures

Dudley Links Up with Livingston Lures

Livingston Lures has added three-time Walmart FLW Tour Angler of the Year David Dudley to its pro-staff. The Virginia pro joins two-time FLW AOY Andy Morgan and former FLW Rookie of the Year Stetson Blaylock on the Team Livingston roster. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-10-power-pole-extends-partnership-with-flw

Power-Pole Extends Partnership with FLW

FLW announced yesterday that JL Marine Systems, manufacturer of Power-Pole shallow-water anchor systems, has signed a sponsorship extension for the 2016 season. This will be the sixth consecutive season that the two organizations have partnered. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-09-flw-college-fishing-western-conference-opens-season-on-shasta-lake

FLW College Fishing Western Conference Opens Season on Shasta Lake

REDDING, Calif. – FLW College Fishing is headed to Lake Shasta Feb. 20 for the first of three regular-season stops in the Western Conference. A full field of college teams will be competing for a top award of $2,000 and a berth in the FLW College Fishing National Championship. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-09-lake-shasta-set-to-host-costa-flw-series-opener-presented-by-minn-kota

Lake Shasta Set to Host Costa FLW Series Opener Presented by Minn Kota

REDDING, Calif. – The Costa FLW Series is headed to Lake Shasta Feb. 18-20 for a tournament presented by Minn Kota when as many as 300 pros and co-anglers will take to the water for the first stop of 2016 in the Western Division. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-09-montgomery-targets-prespawn-bass-for-win

Montgomery Targets Prespawn Bass for Win

Local angler Scott Montgomery of Eufaula, Ala., weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 1 ounce, Saturday to win the first FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Bulldog Division tournament of 2016 on Lake Eufaula. For his victory, Montgomery took home a check for $4,127. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-09-top-10-patterns-from-lake-okeechobee

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Okeechobee

Oklahoma’s Bradley Hallman sewed up his first Walmart FLW Tour victory at the season-opener on Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats by pitching and punching reed heads in the South Bay area with a Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver. Hallman stuck with his program despite up-and-down air temperatures, high winds and all the curveballs Mother Nature could throw at him. Here's how the rest of the top 10 got it done. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-08-top-10-baits-from-lake-okeechobee

Top 10 Baits from Lake Okeechobee

The Walmart FLW Tour presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Okeechobee went from a tight race to a runaway in a hurry when Bradley Hallman just wouldn’t stop catching the big ones. As for the lures he used, and those put to work by the rest of the top 10, some Okeechobee staples were applied as well as a few oddball baits. If you’re thinking of heading down to the Big O or anywhere else in Florida soon, you might want to acquire a few of the lures they fished. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-07-hallman-wins-walmart-flw-tour-on-lake-okeechobee-presented-by-ranger-boats

Hallman Wins Walmart FLW Tour on Lake Okeechobee Presented by Ranger Boats

CLEWISTON, Fla. – Pro Bradley Hallman of Norman, Oklahoma, brought just two bass to the scale Sunday totaling 6 pounds, 8 ounces, but it was still enough to earn the win at the Walmart FLW Tour at Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. Hallman’s four-day cumulative total of 16 bass weighing 71 pounds, 2 ounces earned him the win by an impressive 14-pound, 14-ounce margin over second-place pro Alex Davis of Albertville, Alabama, and $100,000 in the tournament that featured 169 of the best bass-fishing anglers in the world competing in the first FLW Tour event of the regular season. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-07-big-hall-man-on-okeechobee

Big (Hall)Man on Okeechobee

It was the Bradley Hallman show all week long at Lake Okeechobee at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats. Though, the Norman, Okla., pro struggled on day four and brought in only two fish for 6 pounds, 8 ounces, he pulled off the wire-to-wire victory in his first event on Tour. The 13-pound, 9-ounce lead that Hallman built up through the first three days of competition was enough that he didn't actually have to weigh his fish today. Hallman's tournament total of 71 pounds, 2 ounces far exceeded the 56-04 caught by runner-up Alex Davis. For the win, Hallman earned $100,000. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-07-lake-okeechobee-day-4-coverage

Lake Okeechobee Day 4 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-06-top-5-patterns-from-lake-okeechobee-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from Lake Okeechobee Day 3

Across the board, weights fell off on day three of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats and hosted by Roland and Mary Ann Martin's Marina and Resort and the Hendry County Tourism and Development Council. No one in the top 20 crossed the 20-pound mark. Cloud cover, which prevented the water temperature from rising much above 65 degrees, and low water clarity might both have slowed the replenishment of bass moving into spawn. Tournament leader Bradley Hallman experienced a bit of a stall in the action as well, bringing just four fish to the scales, but he still managed to increase his lead to 13 pounds, 9 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-06-hallman-extends-lead-on-day-three-at-walmart-flw-tour-on-lake-okeechobee-presented-by-ranger-boats

Hallman Extends Lead On Day Three At Walmart FLW Tour On Lake Okeechobee Presented By Ranger Boats

Anchored by an 8-pound, 10-ounce kicker, pro Bradley Hallman of Norman, Oklahoma, brought four bass to the scale Saturday totaling 14 pounds, 3 ounces to extend his lead to more than 13½ pounds heading in to the final day of competition at the Walmart FLW Tour at Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. Hallman’s... READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-06-can-anyone-catch-hallman-

Can Anyone Catch Hallman?

Despite catching only four keepers on day three, Norman, Okla., pro Bradley Hallman extended his lead at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Okeechobee. With a day-three weight of 14 pounds, 3 ounces and a tournament total of 64-10, his margin over second-place angler Alex Davis is now 13 pounds, 9 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-06-montgomery-wins-flw-bass-fishing-league-bulldog-division-opener-on-lake-eufaula

Montgomery Wins FLW Bass Fishing League Bulldog Division Opener on Lake Eufaula

EUFAULA, Ala. – Local angler Scott Montgomery of Eufaula, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 1 ounce, Saturday to win the first FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Bulldog Division tournament of 2016 on Lake Eufaula. For his victory, Montgomery took home a check for $4,127. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-06-okeechobee-day-3-coverage

Okeechobee Day 3 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-05-top-5-patterns-from-lake-okeechobee-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Lake Okeechobee Day 2

Fueled by 25 mph north winds, the Lake Okeechobee washing machine cleansed some livewells today, keeping them free of the 20-pound limits that are so common here when the weather is sunny, 75 and calm. However, a few 20-plus-pound limits still snuck through the rinse cycle to grace the scales. The biggest limit once again belonged to Bradley Hallman of Norman, Okla. He added 25 pounds, 7 ounces to the 25 he caught on day one. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-05-oklahoma-s-hallman-extends-lead-at-walmart-flw-tour-on-lake-okeechobee-presented-by-ranger-boats

Oklahoma’s Hallman Extends Lead at Walmart FLW Tour on Lake Okeechobee Presented by Ranger Boats

CLEWISTON, Fla. – Pro angler Bradley Hallman of Norman, Oklahoma, brought a five-bass limit weighing 25 pounds, 7 ounces to the scale Friday to extend his lead on day two of the Walmart FLW Tour at Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. Hallman will bring an 8-pound, 8-ounce advantage into day three of the four-day competition that features 169 of the top bass-fishing anglers in the world competing for a top cash award of up to $125,000. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-05-cales-earns-co-angler-win

Cales Earns Co-angler Win

Co-angler Tim Cales of Sandstone, W.Va., earned his second win with FLW after sacking up 30 pounds, 11 ounces over two days in the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Okeechobee. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-05-hallman-way-in-front

Hallman Way in Front

Bradley Hallman is doing his best to make the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats a one-man show. But Alabama pro Alex Davis hopes to spoil Hallman’s hopes of a wire-to-wire victory. Today, Hallman weighed in 25 pounds, 7 ounces to raise his two-day total to 50-07. He’s led the tournament each day thus far. Davis weighed in 20-15 to move from third to second but is still 8 1/2 pounds behind the leader. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-05-okeechobee-day-2-coverage

Okeechobee Day 2 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »