Run-and-gun Thrift leads Eufaula

Chevy pro Bryan Thrift holds up his kicker from his 16-pound, 15-ounce limit that gave him the lead after a tougher day two on Lake Eufaula. He carries a two-day total of 37-5 heading to the third day of competition.

EUFAULA, Ala. - Leave it to Bryan Thrift to find a happy medium between fishing fast and fishing offshore. While the North Carolina native is known for running and gunning around shallow docks, he's taken a similar approach, albeit offshore, on Alabama's Lake Eufaula this week. As a result, he's leading the fourth Walmart FLW Tour qualifier of the year at the tournament's halfway point. Thrift spent 12 hours each of the three practice days idling around, looking for the first place bass would retreat to after the spawn. The only fishing he did in practice was to sample the shad-spawn bite early each morning. After that, it was back to the offshore grind. It was laborious, boring and hot, but the hard work has paid off. "I have 60 or 70 one-stop places and I'm fishing at least 50 spots throughout the day," said Thrift, who has two previous top-10 finishes at Lake Eufaula. "I'm pulling in and making four or five casts, and then I'm moving somewhere else. All of the big fish that I have caught over the last two days have been biting on the first or second cast." Thrift elaborated on his program, but wouldn't name the bait he's using. "Every stop I make, there is something down there - hard spots, standing timber, brush piles - something that is up off of the bottom a couple of feet. If you make the right cast and they are there, they're going to bite it." These spots vary in depth from 6 to 15 feet, but he's definitely off the bank. In some areas, he's just a few yards off, others a few hundred. "Sooner or later, you pull up on the right area and catch a good one. I think I can keep it up for the next two days, but it's so random. I only caught seven keepers today." When it was said and done, Thrift weighed 16 pounds, 15 ounces, giving him a two-day total of 37 pounds, 5 ounces. Anchoring his day-two stringer was a 5 1/2-pounder that bit early. "That was a difference maker and I've been fortunate enough to catch three of those this week. The last few tournaments I had been catching a bunch of fish but no big bites. I'm just glad to finally get a few of those big bites." Several things are working in Thrift's favor. The water continues to warm as the air temperature has pushed into the mid-80s the past few days. Additionally, Eufaula's clarity is improving and the water level is dropping - all variables that point to an exodus from shallow to deep. Still, Thrift doesn't like the randomness of his pattern. "There's really no rhyme or reason to it. I can't tell which spots I'm going to get a bite out of. I caught that 5 1/2-pounder today where I never had a bite yesterday. The spot where I caught two 5-pounders yesterday, I never had a bite today. You just have to keep running and have the confidence that sooner or later you are going to pull up on the right place and make that right cast and catch a good one." Haynes second Randy Haynes sits in second place with a two-day total of 34 pounds, 14 ounces.After dominating EverStart events and other regional tournaments on the Tennessee River, Randy Haynes is developing quite the reputation as an offshore stick. He's a little out of his element this week on the Chattahoochee, but thus far is adjusting well. After catching 17-3 on day one, Haynes caught 17-11 on day two for an opening round weight of 34 pounds, 14 ounces. "I'm just not dialed in quite right," said Haynes, the EverStart Series Pickwick Lake champion. "I can see a school of six or seven fish but I'll only catch one or two and that's it, it's over. I just don't think the majority of fish are out there yet." Haynes said he currently has six main spots and tries to find new schools every day. "I'm happy with my weight, but I missed a few and I couldn't cull out a 2 1/4-pounder. That was pretty frustrating." Haynes said he's not really looking at his graphs, instead just picking up a plug and going down the river bars. "I'm mainly fishing in seven to 15 feet of water. This is the first time I've been here so I'm not sure how it acts." Haynes' crankbaits of choice are Strike King 6XDs and 5XDs in a variety of colors. Kenney up to third JT Kenney reels another one to the boatLike Haynes, Kenney is fresh off some EverStart success, his being a second-place finish at last week's Wheeler event. Like Haynes, Kenney is exclusively fishing offshore. His limits have weighed 17-13 and 16-9. "It's classic structure fishing," he explained. "They're all around something, holding tight. Whether it's a brush pile, standing timber or a drop they're around something. On the Tennessee River you'll sometimes just find a school of fish on a flat. Not here, they're always on something. You'll mark a school of six or seven and catch two and that's doing good." Kenney said he has so much confidence in his Lowrance electronics that he won't even cast on a spot until he sees a fish. In fact, he has nicknamed his beloved graph "Larry." "The great thing about Larry is that he don't lie. I went to several spots today, probably idled for over an hour and never made a cast. That's how confident I am." Most of Kenney's best places are in approximately 18 feet. He found a spot late today that he didn't catch any on, but likes so much he'll start on it tomorrow. "I'm catching them on three things - a Strike King 6XD crankbait, a five-wire rig and a Carolina rig. I start with the crankbait and the five wire and finish up with the Carolina rig." Lucas falls to fourth Justin Lucas celebrates after the battle.The cloud cover that aided Justin Lucas' shallow bite on day one was inexistent on day two. As a result, he caught only one keeper shallow. And the deep bite wasn't all that much better. "I thought I'd still start shallow on shady banks, but the same pocket I caught that 16 pounds in just over an hour only produced one keeper today. So then I left to go offshore a little earlier." Lucas was eager to visit his best offshore spot, a spot he termed "magic" yesterday. "I really thought it was the kind of spot you dream about. It's produced six fish for me, but all of them have been big." Lucas also had 3-pounder on bed that he thought ate his bait. He swung on it and the fish was hooked outside the mouth, which meant he had to release it. All in all, it was a frustrating day and the Guntersville, Ala., pro isn't sure how he's going to adjust. "I have zero plan right now, other than I'm obviously going to hit my deep spot again tomorrow. At this point you've got to throw it all out the window and start over. Maybe tomorrow I'll throw a frog, do my swimmin' deal and cover a lot of water." Lucas' three keepers weighed 11 pounds, 3 ounces, giving him 33-9 for the tournament. Martin fifth Fifth-place pro Scott Martin stayed shallow and caught an opening-round total of 31 pounds, 15 ounces.Although his weight decreased from 18-4 to 13-11, Scott Martin still rose from seventh to fifth place after day two. Unlike the pros above him on the leaderboard, Martin is fishing exclusively shallow. "In practice I developed a pretty good shallow bite so I'm sticking with it," said the 2011 Forrest Wood Cup champion. "I've become a better deep-water fisherman, but my comfort zone is still shallow." Martin said he has several shallow patterns going. He's throwing a swimbait some, flipping a Bruiser Baits Avenger with a Trokar TK130 hook, throwing bladed baits in the grass, working docks and checking a few clusters of spawning bluegills, which are attracting wolfpack bass. "I'm only catching eight or nine keepers a day, but the potential for big fish is there. I still might try fishing deeper, but I just don't think they're really out there yet. But everyday more and more are going out there. So for now, I'm fishing the conditions, which is really fun." Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 pros on Lake Eufaula after day two: 6th: Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tenn., 31-13 (two-day total) 7th: Kelley Jaye of Dadeville, Ala., 31-7 8th: Joe Don Setina of Pittsburg, Texas, 31-4 9th: John Devere of Berea, Ky., 30-7 10th: Stetson Blaylock of Benton, Ark., 30-5 Johnson retains co-angler lead Co-angler Jason Johnson is right back where he wants to be - leading a major tournament with one Co-angler leader Jason Johnson holds up a 3-pound Lake Eufaula largemouth. day of competition remaining. Last month at Beaver Lake, Johnson also led heading into the final day only to slip to fourth. On Lake Eufaula, he's caught limits weighing 15-3 and 9-10, which gives him a two-day total of 24 pounds, 13 ounces and a 6-ounce lead. "Today was a lot tougher," said Johnson. "I'm probably prouder of that 9 pounds than I was of yesterday's 15. I was paired with (Gary) Yamamoto today and were fishing super shallow - less than 2 feet in most places." Johnson stuck with his same two baits - a Gambler Southern Swim Jig tipped with a Gambler EZ Swimmer and a drop-shot with a Roboworm. "I only caught five keepers today; four came on the drop-shot, but my big fish, a 3-pounder, came on the swim jig." Johnson calls Lake Lanier home, which is part of the reason he's so deft with a drop-shot. "I drop-shotted last tournament at Beaver the whole time too. I've just got so much confidence in it. When I'm fishing shallow, I just shorten up my leader." Johnson will fish day three with Thrift, where he should have ample opportunity offshore. "I got to seal the deal this time. My cut days are usually my worst days so I'm hoping to change that tomorrow." New to second In second place on the co-angler side is Bryan New who sits just 6 ounces out of the lead to start the final day of co-angler competition. Bryan New caught a 10-pound limit Friday and rose to second place with a two-day total of 24 pounds, 7 ounces. New fished with veteran pro Guido Hibdon and was given a lesson on finesse fishing. "Guido had already culled one before I caught my first keeper," said New, who manages pro Brent Long's new shop, Lake Norman Bait and Tackle. "I don't want to say I'm happy with 10 pounds today, but I'll take it." New started the day with a shaky head and a Charlie's Worms finesse worm. Watching Hibdon convinced him to switch to a Charlie's Worms Salt Bang-O. He ended up culling twice - each of his best five was identical in size. Late in the day he lost a better fish as it wrapped around a dock pole and came off. "I've got to shake that off and catch them tomorrow." Clark third Randy Clark sits in third place among the co-anglers with a total weight of 21 pounds, 11 ounces. The Third-place co-angler Randy Clark holds up his two biggest bass from day two on Lake Eufaula. Pascagoula, Miss., native serves as an advisor of sorts to the younger Martin. Tomorrow, he'll have the chance to win a title of his own. Green, Peek round out top five Ronnie Green of Tampa, Fla., caught four bass weighing 8 pounds, 7 ounces to bring his opening-round total to 18 pounds, 14 ounces, which puts him fourth heading into the final round. Co-angler big stick Richard Peek, a former FLW Tour champion, rounds out the top five with 17 pounds, 14 ounces. Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers after day two: 6th: Jeff Sprague of Point, Texas, 17-11 (two-day total) 7th: Justin Jones of Apex, N.C., 15-10 8th: John Devries of Fishers, Ind., 15-4 9th: James Mignanelli of Harmony, Pa., 15-0 10th: Tony O'Neal of Thomaston, Ga., 14-14 Day three of the FLW Tour on Lake Eufaula will begin Saturday at 6:30 a.m. from Lakepoint Resort State Park located at 104 Lakepoint Drive in Eufaula.

Tags: headline-story 

/news/2015-05-23-brown-rallies-for-seminole-win

Brown Rallies for Seminole Win

When the Rayovac FLW Series event on Lake Seminole started on Thursday, hot, slick conditions prevailed. The air temperatures pushed into the 90’s, water temperatures hovered between 80 and 85 degrees – summertime was on. Or was it? READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-23-jeter-takes-co-angler-crown

Jeter Takes Co-Angler Crown

Call it a local’s sweep at the Rayovac FLW Series on Lake Seminole. While local pro Clint Brown of Bainbridge, Ga., won the boater Division, his Bainbridge neighbor, Greg Jeter won the Co-angler Division to make it a local twofer. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-23-lake-seminole-day-3-midday-update

Lake Seminole Day 3 Midday Update

Second place pro Clint Brown was gaining some serious ground on Reneau as Brown had boxed four solid keepers for about 11 pounds on his very first spot – all caught from protected backwaters with a topwater. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-22-reneau-grabs-lead-on-seminole

Reneau Grabs Lead On Seminole

Though Reneau has weighed in 15-1 and 20-7 over two days for a total of 35 pounds, 8 ounces, he says he is only getting about six bites per day. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-22-top-5-patterns-from-seminole-day-2

Top 5 Patterns From Seminole Day 2

A shake-up occurred on day two of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Evinrude on Lake Seminole. Day one was all about slow, summertime fishing in the lake’s deep timber. Overnight a frontal passage dropped water and air temperatures and left a north wind howling down the lake. As a result, the timber bite cooled off and those fishing shallower waters climbed up the leaderboard. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-22-lake-seminole-day-2-midday-update

Lake Seminole Day 2 Midday Update

The hot summer at Seminole turned back into spring this morning as a cold front blew through the area dropping air temps some 10 degrees with a blustery north wind. Sweatshirts were needed again as the cold air felt more like April than May. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-21-enfinger-leads-on-seminole

Enfinger Leads On Seminole

Enfinger said he got off to a “fast start” this morning, sacking a limit by 10 a.m., but he only upgraded twice after that, catching about eight keepers on the day. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-21-top-5-patterns-from-seminole-day-1

Top 5 Patterns From Seminole Day 1

Bradley Enfinger took the day-one lead at the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Evinrude on Lake Seminole fishing suspended bass in timber. Others in the top-5 fished both wood and grass on day one. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-21-lake-seminole-midday-update

Lake Seminole Midday Update

Lake Seminole is known to be more of a quality lake than a quantity lake and that trait showed on the morning of day one as anglers who were catching fish were not necessarily getting many bites, but 3-pound pluses seemed to be the norm for the ones hauled in over the gunnel. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-19-ledges-lift-wilson-to-top

Ledges Lift Wilson to Top

Tim Wilson of Gas City, Indiana, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 29 pounds, 10 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Choo Choo Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Guntersville. For his victory, Wilson earned $5,584. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-19-two-in-a-row-for-fox

Two in a Row for Fox

Dwight Fox of Gainesboro, Tennessee, weighed four bass totaling 16 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Mountain Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Cumberland. For his victory, Fox earned $4,463. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-19-bluff-walls-carry-meredith

Bluff Walls Carry Meredith

GROVE, Okla. – Mitch Meredith of Hulbert, Oklahoma, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 18 pounds, 4 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Okie Division tournament of 2015 on Grand Lake. For his victory, Meredith earned $7,165. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-19-tidwell-slows-down-for-title

Tidwell Slows Down for Title

MCCORMICK, S.C. – Brian Tidwell of Seneca, South Carolina, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 17 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League South Carolina Division tournament of 2015 on Clarks Hill Lake. For his victory, Tidwell earned $3,021. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-19-ginter-gets-the-win

Ginter Gets the Win

CELINA, Ohio – Gary Ginter of Maplewood, Ohio, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 13 pounds, 4 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Buckeye Division tournament of 2015 on Grand Lake. For his victory, Ginter earned $3,963. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-19-jig-does-the-trick-for-roselle

Jig Does the Trick for Roselle

MARBURY, Md. – Mike Roselle of La Plata, Maryland, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 13 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Shenandoah Division tournament of 2015 on Potomac River. For his victory, Roselle earned $6,235. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-17-thrift-by-3

Thrift by 3

The “numbers game.” It’s a term that Bryan Thrift used to describe his fishing on Lake Eufaula back in 2013 when he finished runner-up to Randy Haynes in a Walmart FLW Tour event. The method to his numbers madness was to hit as many solitary objects – stumps, brush piles, rocks, logs – on the bottom of Lake Eufaula as humanly possible in an eight-hour tournament day. When Thrift saw that Lake Eufaula was back on the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour schedule for May of this year, he grinned that patented Bryan Thrift grin because he already knew how to crunch the numbers at Eufaula. And Thrift is still grinning. After sacking up a final-day catch of 15 pounds, 5 ounces to top off 69-14 for the week, Thrift made the numbers work for his fourth FLW Tour win. He added another $125,000 to his bank account. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-17-lake-eufaula-day-4-coverage

Lake Eufaula Day 4 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Eufaula presented by Quaker State. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-16-morrow-thrift-neck-and-neck

Morrow, Thrift Neck and Neck

Georgia pro Troy Morrow brought in 15 pounds, 4 ounces on the third day of competition at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Quaker State on Lake Eufaula to increase his tournament total to 54-13. Morrow maintains his lead for the second consecutive day, but he won’t sleep comfortably tonight with North Carolina hammer Bryan Thrift just 4 ounces off the lead with 54-09. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-16-top-5-patterns-from-lake-eufaula-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from Lake Eufaula Day 3

Troy Morrow is leading the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Quaker State on Lake Eufaula. However, with one day left to fish, he has a big problem going into the last day: Bryan Thrift. The Shelby, N.C., pro is just 4 ounces behind Morrow. Here’s how Thrift and the rest of the top five caught their fish. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-16-lake-eufaula-day-3-coverage

Lake Eufaula Day 3 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Eufaula presented by Quaker State. READ MORE »