UPCOMING EVENT: Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Okeechobee

Thrift dominates in victory

Bryan Thrift of Shelby, N.C., proudly displays his first-place trophy after winning the FLW Tour event on Lake Norman.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - What a day for Bryan Thrift. Using a staggering four-day catch of 58 pounds, 5 ounces, Thrift cruised to an FLW Tour title on Lake Norman. While that alone would be enough cause for celebration, there were plenty of other remarkable feats that materialized with victory.

For starters, Thrift outfished his nearest competitor by nearly 9 pounds, took over the 2010 FLW Tour Angler of the Year race and now boasts three consecutive top-five finishes in his last three FLW Outdoors events - FLW Tour Lake Norman (first); FLW Tour Table Rock Lake (fourth); and FLW Series Eastern Division on Lake Eufaula (second) - all in the month of March alone.

Throw in the fact that he won on his hometown lake, in front of family and friends, and has a new child on the way and it's pretty clear that Thrift is living a dream come true.

"I've had a lot of top-10 finishes on the Tour (10 to be exact), so to finally get a win is really special," said Thrift, who hails from Shelby, N.C. "When I fished here last year, I didn't even get a check, so I got a little revenge today. We all thought 12 1/2 pounds a day would be enough to win the tournament. So this definitely exceeded my expectations."

Bryan Thrift of Shelby, N.C. displays his first-place check after capturing the tournament title on Lake Norman.Thrift, who recorded nearly 15 pounds a day for four consecutive days, was nearly at a loss for words trying to explain his blistering hot streak over the past month.

"I don't know what's going on really," said Thrift. "I just have a lot of confidence right now. Last year, I didn't have that same confidence level."

Thrift, who has spent years fishing Lake Norman, argued that he had an acute advantage over the majority of the field due to his local experience. Because the fish were largely in prespawn mode, the advantage that sight-fishermen normally would have was nullified. As such, Thrift was able to capitalize on his knowledge of prespawn fishing patterns, attacking docks housing underwater brush piles and targeting rocky banks holding staging bass.

"I probably fished 100 docks a day," said Thrift, commenting on his run-and-gun type of fishing style this week. "I mostly used a 1/2-ounce jig in a crawdad color, square-bill crankbaits and a few Senkos. But I probably only went back to the same water about 30 percent of the time all week. If I caught a 3-pounder in an area, I went back. But otherwise I fished new water."

During the final day of competition, Thrift started at the lower end of the lake throwing a crankbait. Then, once he got his limit, he started targeting bigger largemouth bass to augment his sack.

"I was extremely happy at about 9 a.m.," he said. "I had a limit and tried to (cull), but I never could find the big bites. I actually started to get nervous because I thought (second-place qualifier) Rusty Trancygier was capable of busting a 15-pound bag."

However, in the end, nobody came close to Thrift's four-day total. And that was just fine with him.

"It feels good. It's really nice to finally get this win," he said. "Now we can ease our minds and go out and buy some diapers and stuff."

Salewske mounts spirited challenge

Rusty Salewske of Alpine, Calif., finished the FLW Tour event on Lake Norman in second place.While most of the talk this week centered around the success of the local North Carolina contingent, Rusty Salewske of Alpine, Calif., quietly turned in one heck of a fishing performance - and one heck of a comeback as well.

Languishing in a tie for 69th place after the first day of competition, Salewske moved up to 17th place on the second day. Finally, on day three, Salewske managed to put all the pieces of the puzzle together, turning in a 13-pound, 9-ounce bag to grab the fourth qualifying spot heading into the finals.

While Salewske's four-day weight of 49 pounds, 7 ounces came up short, the California native still walked away with a second-place finish as well as a check for nearly $39,000.

"I can't even believe I ended up in second place. I just kind of hung in there," said Salewske. "I had 13 pounds again today, and that surprised me. I didn't think I had that much. It's my best finish on the Tour, so I'm happy."

Salewske, who targeted "dirty" water all week, said he used a combination of square-bill crankbaits and jigs to land the majority of his catch.

"The key was the dirty water," said Salewske. "It didn't really matter where I fished as long as the water was dirty and reasonably close to deep water. But I was catching them on docks, lay-downs, boulders, trash - you name it. I also figured out that once you caught a fish (on structure), you couldn't go back to that spot. That was it. But you could throw immediately toward something else a foot away and still catch them."

Salewske also said that had a few things gone differently, he just might have been holding up the trophy after today's weigh-in.

"I lost so many fish that first day. I probably could have brought back 17 pounds if everything went right," he said. "But, hey, that's life."

Montgomery's bite fizzles in finals

Andy Montgomery of Blacksburg, S.C., used a total catch of 49 pounds, 3 ounces to walk away with third place overall at the FLW Tour event at Lake Norman.Thrift's longtime friend and fishing partner Andy Montgomery of Blacksburg, S.C., used a total catch of 49 pounds, 3 ounces to walk away with third place overall as well as more than $29,000 in prize money.

Although Montgomery was considered one of the few anglers who could possibly derail the fishing freight train known as Bryan Thrift, Montgomery's big-bite pattern went south when it mattered most in the finals.

"I caught five spots, but the key (to winning) is catching largemouth bass, and I didn't catch any today," said Montgomery. "It was brutal out there for me today. I didn't catch my fifth fish until 2 p.m. It was just brutal. I really burned it up today. I probably fished over 100 docks. But I got in a bad habit of (fishing) history instead of running patterns. But my hat's off to Bryan. He's done one heck of a job this week."

Montgomery said that his daily strategy included fishing pole docks for spotted bass in the morning. Later in the day, Montgomery would then target float docks to augment his sack with kicker largemouth bass. Montgomery's bait of choice was a 1/2-ounce Shooter Lures jig.

While Montgomery didn't walk away with the title, he said he enjoyed the experience of fishing one of his all-time favorite lakes.

"It was a great week," said Montgomery. "I had a lot of fun, and I'm really happy for Bryan."

Travis nets fourth place

On the strength of a total catch of 44 pounds, 5 ounces, Brian Travis of Conover, N.C., finished the FLW Tour Lake Norman event in fourth place, cashing in on over $19,000 in winnings.On the strength of a total catch of 44 pounds, 5 ounces, Brian Travis of Conover, N.C., finished the FLW Tour Lake Norman event in fourth place, cashing in on over $19,000 in winnings.

"If I had to have a finish like this, I couldn't have asked for a better place to have it than right here on Lake Norman," said Travis. "I really had a lot of fun this week. I've got no complaints."

Travis said that his key bait this week was a homemade jig in a green-pumpkin color coupled with a Zoom chunk.

"I mostly targeted staging bass on brush piles in 8 to 10 feet of water," said Travis. "During the finals, I had a good game plan. I was going get a limit and then run up the lake and fish for largemouth. But I think the cold front that moved in last night really shut down my fish. But I'll tell you what, I'll take a top-five finish here any day."

Trancygier falls to fifth place

Although Rusty Trancygier of Hahira, Ga., started the day in second place overall, he experienced plenty of problems during the final day of competition. In the end, Trancygier only managed a catch of 2 pounds, 8 ounces in the finals, which dropped him to fifth place overall.

"They dropped the water on me 3 to 4 inches, and it was a real struggle to get in my area," said Trancygier. "And that was basically the only good area I had. Because of the low water levels, it took me a long time to get in and get out, and I probably shouldn't have stayed there as long as I did."

Throughout the week, Trancygier targeted backwater pockets and coves with a combination of Lucky Craft crankbaits and Mann's Baby 1-minus spinnerbaits. However, not being able to successfully take advantage of his main spot - known as the "Lily Pond Hole" - sealed his fate in the finals.

"I knew there were plenty of fish there, so I was really committed to that area," he said. "It just didn't work out today. But I had a great time."

For his efforts, Trancygier walked away with nearly $17,500 in prize money.

FLW Tour action resumes at Ft. Loudoun-Tellico lakes in Knoxville, Tenn., April 21-24.

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

/news/2016-07-28-early-reports-from-wheeler

Early Reports from Wheeler

Starting this Sunday, the 50 Forrest Wood Cup competitors will hit Wheeler Lake bright and early for the first of three days of official practice. It’ll be the first time the anglers have been allowed on the Tennessee River reservoir since the pre-practice cut off date of July 17. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-27-celebs-seminars-on-deck-for-the-cup

Celebs, Seminars on Deck for the Cup

The 2016 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart in Huntsville, Ala., on Aug. 4-7 will be crawling with some of the best bass anglers in the industry – both active pros and bassin’ legends. Fans in attendance will have the opportunity to personally wish their favorite anglers good luck before takeoff, snag a picture and an autograph from an industry superstar, or sit in on a seminar. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-27-bass-and-bbq-festival-set-for-forrest-wood-cup-expo

Bass and BBQ Festival set for Forrest Wood Cup Expo

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – FLW is adding some Alabama flavor to the 2016 Forrest Wood Cup with its Bass & BBQ Festival as part of the FLW Expo outside the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, Alabama, August 6 and 7. The BBQ Festival, presented by WQRV 100.3 The River, will feature four award-winning BBQ teams offering delicious fare to visitors at the Forrest Wood Cup. A portion of all... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-27-bk-s-year-as-the-champ

BK’s Year as the Champ

Brad Knight plans on getting a good night’s sleep before this year’s Forrest Wood Cup on Wheeler Lake begins on Aug. 4. Sounds pretty straightforward, but there have been times during the past 12 months when dozing off wasn’t so easy for the defending Cup champion. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-top-10-patterns-from-the-1000-islands

Top 10 Patterns from the 1000 Islands

High wind and fluctuating water temperatures made things a little difficult for the anglers, but the top-10 pros adapted and utilized the whole playing field to exploit everything from deep smallmouth to shallow largemouth. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-mccartney-o-keefe-tie-for-win-at-flw-bass-fishing-league-great-lakes-division-event-on-mississippi-river-presented-by-navionics

McCartney, O’Keefe Tie For Win at FLW Bass Fishing League Great Lakes Division Event on Mississippi River Presented By Navionics

LA CROSSE, Wis. (July 25, 2016) – Mark McCartney of Davis Junction, Illinois, and Nick O’Keefe of La Crosse, Wisconsin, each weighed three bass totaling 11 pounds even, Saturday to win the third FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Great Lakes Division tournament of 2016 on the Mississippi... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-mccartney-o-keefe-tie-on-the-mighty-miss

McCartney, O'Keefe tie on the Mighty Miss

Mark McCartney of Davis Junction, Illinois, and Nick O’Keefe of La Crosse, Wisconsin, each weighed three bass totaling 11 pounds even, Saturday to win the third FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Great Lakes Division tournament of 2016 on the Mississippi River presented by Navionics. For his win, McCartney earned $5,540 after bonuses, and O’Keefe took home $3,540. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-country-music-superstar-dustin-lynch-to-perform-free-concert-in-huntsville-presented-by-wdrm-102-1

Country Music Superstar Dustin Lynch to perform Free Concert In Huntsville presented by WDRM 102.1

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Country music superstar Dustin Lynch will perform a free concert on the Walmart weigh-in stage at the Propst Arena in the Von Braun Center in Huntsville on Sunday, August 7, starting at 4 p.m., prior to the final weigh-in of the world championship of professional bass fishing, the 2016 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart. The concert is presented by WDRM... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-canterbury-s-next-challenge-

Canterbury’s Next Challenge

At the time of writing, Canterbury had been picked by every pundit and 50 percent of players overall, which is a decent bump over Morgan at 47 percent. The dollars attached obviously make a difference, but there’s no doubt that everyone expects great things. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-jay-kendrick-the-rookie-

Jay Kendrick – The “Rookie”

A rookie by designation if not by experience, Forrest Wood Cup contender Jay Kendrick finished 34th in the standings in his first year on the Walmart FLW Tour to clinch a spot in the championship. What makes it even more fortuitous for him is that because the Cup is taking place on Wheeler Lake, he’ll be able to stay at his own house for the event, which is just about 30 minutes from takeoff at Ditto Landing. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-fan-freebies-and-contests-at-the-cup

Fan Freebies and Contests at the Cup

One pro angler is going to win $300,000 at the Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart Aug. 4-7 on Wheeler Lake in Huntsville, Ala. That’s good for him. For fans, the chance to win is pretty good too. FLW and its partners and sponsors have lined up a sweet selection of giveaway prizes for the Cup and the accompanying FLW Expo, ranging from a tricked-out bass boat to a fishing trip with Jimmy Houston. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-24-1000-islands-top-10-baits

1000 Islands Top 10 Baits

The top pros from the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands kept it pretty simple to catch both largemouths and smallmouths from this massive fishery that includes the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario. Drop-shots, spinnerbaits and jigs all saw action and got it done from the lake to the river. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-24-penn-state-taps-docks-at-chautauqua-

Penn State Taps Docks at Chautauqua

The Penn State University duo of Clayton Frey of York, Pennsylvania, and Derek Horner, of State College, Pennsylvania, won the FLW College Fishing Northern Conference event at Chautauqua Lake Saturday with five bass weighing 13 pounds, 3 ounces. The victory earned the club $2,000 and qualified the team for the 2017 FLW College Fishing National Championship. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-23-thompson-co-angler-champ-on-1000-islands

Thompson Co-angler Champ on 1000 Islands

The 1000 Islands is a great place to take a vacation, especially if you are from the south and want to escape the heat. That is exactly what co-angler Joe Thompson of Clayton, Ga., did and wound up capturing the top spot in the co-angler division bringing home a Ranger Z117 with a 90 hp motor. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-23-penn-state-university-wins-flw-college-fishing-northern-conference-event-on-chautauqua-lake

Penn State University wins FLW College Fishing Northern Conference Event on Chautauqua Lake

CHAUTAUQUA, N.Y. – The Penn State University duo of Clayton Frey of York, Pennsylvania, and Derek Horner, of State College, Pennsylvania, won the FLW College Fishing Northern Conference event at Chautauqua Lake Saturday with five bass weighing 13 pounds, 3 ounces. The victory earned the club $2,000 and qualified the team for the 2017 FLW College Fishing National... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-23-michigan-s-dobson-leads-wire-to-wire-wins-costa-flw-series-event-at-1000-islands-presented-by-mercury

Michigan’s Dobson leads wire-to-wire, wins Costa FLW Series Event at 1000 Islands presented by Mercury

CLAYTON, N.Y. – Scott Dobson of Clarkston, Michigan, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 12 ounces Saturday to win the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event at 1000 Islands presented by Mercury with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 68 pounds, 8 ounces. For his win, Dobson earned $82,669, including a new Ranger Z518 with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-23-dobson-dominates-1000-islands

Dobson Dominates 1000 Islands

Scott Dobson didn’t expect it to come so quickly, but 30 minutes is all it took for him to find the winning pattern during his first day of practice for the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands. That pattern would lead him to three consecutive limits of more than 20 pounds, including today’s final-round bag worth 21-12 – the day’s biggest limit, yet his smallest of the tournament. His three-day total weight of 68-8 earned him a check for more than $37,000 along with a Ranger Z518C with a 200-hp engine for being Ranger Cup qualified. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-22-1000-islands-top-5-patterns-day-2

1000 Islands Top 5 Patterns Day 2

Strong winds limited competition to only the St. Lawrence River on day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands, but that was no problem for the majority of the top 10. Even though most of them fished Lake Ontario on day one, they were able to adjust and stay on the fish today. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-22-dobson-extends-lead-at-1000-islands

Dobson Extends Lead at 1000 Islands

A windy day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event on the 1000 Islands didn’t stop day-one leader Scott Dobson of Clarkston, Mich., from sacking up the biggest bag of the day. Dobson threw down an impressive 22-pound, 3-ounce limit to extend his lead to 5 pounds over Cal Climpson – a noted Lake Ontario maestro. Dobson’s two-day total stands at 46-12, and with lighter winds tomorrow some big bags are expected. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-22-lake-ontario-out-for-day-2

Lake Ontario Out for Day 2

It is never good when you wake up the morning of a tournament and every flag you see is standing straight out at 3 a.m., but that was the case this morning for day two of the Costa FLW Series event on the 1000 Islands. READ MORE »