Smoke on the water: Fishing is my passion, my job

Chevy pro Bryan Thrift waves to the crowd.

I know a lot of the more popular fishing blogs out there try and use controversy to get more views. Well, since this is my blog and we're doing things my way, we're not going that route. I'm going to shoot you straight and say what's on my mind. If that's appealing to you check back around the middle of each month for a new blog. I just finished the 2013 tournament season and overall I'm pretty pleased with how it went. I've fished ever since I was a young boy and I love it as much now as I did back then. But my mentality has changed since fishing is how I provide for my family. From that financial perspective, 2013 was a good year; I can't complain. I've been fortunate enough to make a living professionally now for seven years. I came close to winning the Forrest Wood Cup again this year, but I honestly didn't feel like I had found enough fish. Finishing third is not eating me up - especially since Randall went out and caught a big bag the final day. When I took third last year at Lanier I was probably on a stronger pattern and I didn't execute like I should have. As long as I can get a top-10 and make a big chunk of money at the end of the year I'm happy with it. Bryan Thrift splits the morning air with a pitch.Looking back to day four, I simply ran out of fish. I kind of knew my best spot was running dry but I was too chicken to leave. If I could do it all over, I would have ran down to Pool 3. I had a good spot there - it was another little brush pile on a break. I'm not going to say it was enough to beat Randall but it was probably a better idea than beating a dead horse. If Randall would have caught only 9 or 10 pounds I would really be kicking myself. The bottom line is that it's hard to do well in a tournament when you're banking on just one spot. Most of the top finishers were frog fishing in the pads. I love frog fishing, but I didn't do hardly any of it during this year's Cup. This may sound strange, but I've got this bad mental problem where I try and figure out what everyone else is going to do and then I try and do the complete opposite. If everyone else is sight-fishing, I'm going to try at least a dozen things before I sight-fish. At the Cup, I probably threw a frog for a total of 30 minutes in three days of practice. I've always been like this too. If everyone is fishing the same way, it's hard to separate yourself and I believe I'm better off looking for something that no one else is looking for. Sometimes it works and sometimes I get burned. That's essentially what happened at the Cup. I love to fish fast and cover water, but that brush pile I found in Caspiana was loaded with big ones and they would only eat a shaky head. The first day I threw up on the drop and then worked the bait down towards the pile. But eventually I learned that the fish were biting on the initial fall. In fact, I never caught a big one while I was working the bait. I was using a 6 1/2-inch Finesse Miki on the shaky head. I like it because it has a big, cupped tail. Once the shaky head makes contact with the bottom it sticks straight up and has a lot of natural action. The plastic is so soft that the bait almost moves on its own. I'd fire right in there and they'd immediately swim off with it. I'd make the same cast 50 times and on the 51st time the bass would bite as soon as the shaky head hit the bottom. That was a neat deal. It goes to show that you never know what fish are going to do; I don't care who you are. In mid-September, I had the chance to fish Clear Lake out in California as my tackle sponsor Damiki was doing their annual photoshoot. While I love fishing in the Carolinas, Clear Lake is just awesome. When you get a bite back home, you're hoping for a 3- or 4-pounder. When you get a bite on Clear Lake, you're hoping for a 6- or 7-pounder. The fishing is just incredible and the scenery is pretty cool too. I've never been anywhere like it. It's just full of 4- to 6-pounders. Everyone talks about how much pressure there is now on the California lakes, but I only saw like six boats all week. A closer look at the new Damiki Air Frog. I probably caught 40 or 50 bass a day for six straight days and 15 or 20 of those were over 5 pounds. The main goal of the shoot was to get some footage of the new Air Frog. But we caught them on everything - from the Mamba jig to the Rambler 120. Still, I was most impressed with the Air Frog. I saw this bait during the development stages and then again at ICAST in July. Now that everything is complete, I'm happy to say the bait performed with every expectation we had. It runs true and you can skip it like you wouldn't believe. There really isn't anything on the market like it. After the photoshoot I fished the TTBC on Lake Conroe in Texas. It was a fun tournament and I took 10th. I caught a lot of fish on Damiki's new squarebill crankbait - the Brute 70. I threw it some at the Red River but I never really got a crankbait bite going. At Conroe I cranked brush in 4 to 6 feet of water and the bait really excelled. So I'm excited about that for next year. Now that the season is over I've got about three months of downtime at the house. I'll fish some local stuff and spend a lot of time with my wife Allison and son Wylie. I'll also spend a lot of time at The Great Outdoors in Cherryville, N.C. The Great Outdoors is a local hunting and tackle shop that specializes in custom, homemade stuff. I've got nothing against the big-box stores, but the people at The Great Outdoors are cool and they've got a real good supply of hard-to-get Japanese tackle. I'll probably spend a couple days a week helping them out. I hate not having major tournaments in the fall - but I'm not the one making the schedule. After a couple weeks off I get the itch to go fishing again. I can't help it, that's just who I am.

Tags: blog  bryan-thrift 

/tips/2015-04-24-blog-east-vs-west

Blog: East vs. West

I’m not going to say the West is better than the East, or vice-versa. However, I am going to say that where fishing is concerned, there are some distinct differences between the two. The list is long and I’m sure that you can think of many additional differences, but here are a few things I have found that separates the two locales. For the purposes of this blog, let’s make the dividing line the Mississippi River although I think we should include Texas with the East. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-21-blog-the-bucket-list

Blog: The Bucket List

I lived my first 25 years in the Midwest, and I used to get horrible cabin fever this time of year. Sitting in front of a television and watching Jimmy, Hank, Roland and Bill catch monster bass on a spinnerbait on every single cast only made it worse. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-14-blog-back-in-the-groove

Blog: Back in the Groove

It feels good to be in full swing of the tournament season again. We just finished the second stop of the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake, and it was an excellent event. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-14-5-pivotal-moments-in-my-career

5 Pivotal Moments in my Career

The FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake marked the beginning of my senior campaign. While it was great to get on some open water for the first time in months (though we didn’t finish very well), it also had me looking back at five events that, more than any others, led me to this point. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-14-a-year-of-new-firsts

A Year of New Firsts

There are a lot of firsts in my life now: my first full year on the Walmart FLW Tour, the first time not to fish any full B.A.S.S. circuit in many years, the first time to fish with co-anglers in a long while, the first time to compete at Beaver Lake, and so on. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-10-up-then-down-again

Up, Then Down Again

The highs and lows in this sport are amazing. They are amazing and sometimes hard to deal with. Sometimes you just have to test yourself on how thick your skin really is. For example, consider my highs and lows in the last few months. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-07-sweet-home-alabama

Sweet Home Alabama

Hey everyone, I'm just getting back and caught up from the second stop of the Walmart FLW Tour at Lewis Smith Lake. The lake was fishing like never before, and all the fish have grown up quickly on those blueback herring. Now that I've been back home a week and watched all the videos and read all the articles about the top 10 anglers I can say I have zero regrets! READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-02-when-everything-comes-together

When Everything Comes Together

Dave Lefebre describes what baits and techniques he used to win the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lewis Smith Lake in this week's blog. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-01-running-a-spot-spawning-pattern

Running a Spot Spawning Pattern

In lakes where there are spotted bass, smallmouths and largemouths, the spawn can get complicated. Largemouths tend to bed in shallower, warmer water, but smallmouths and spotted bass might bed anywhere from the shallows to so far out it’s hard to see their beds. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-03-18-expect-change-and-adapt-to-it

Expect Change and Adapt to It

Ish Monroe explains how to adapt to changing conditions and recommends to always fish your strengths in this weeks blog. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-03-17-so-you-want-to-be-a-co-angler-

So You Want to be a Co-Angler?

First and foremost, I know I’m fishing the tournament as a co-angler and I make sure that I not only stay out of my pro’s way, but I do what I can to assist him throughout the day. This starts at the ramp with assisting him with the launch where possible. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-03-16-a-30-piece-puzzle-with-four-pieces-missing

A 30-Piece Puzzle with Four Pieces Missing

The whole time I was down in Florida during the FLW Tour opener on Lake Toho I felt like I was trying to put together a 30-piece puzzle with four pieces missing. The weather was right, the water temperature was right, the thousands of acres of vegetation looked right, but one thing was wrong: the fish! READ MORE »

/tips/2015-03-12-a-clean-slate

A Clean Slate

The 2015 season opener of the Walmart FLW Tour wasn’t at Okeechobee, as in recent years, but at Lake Toho in central Florida. I was excited about the change, and even more pumped to start a fresh new season after blowing my motor on day one of the first event last year. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-02-27-toho-bound

Toho Bound

You have to understand that having home field advantage in fishing is the absolute worst. There are so many demons; you have too much information, you start fishing the lake’s history – it goes on and on and it’s very hard for a professional angler to mentally break that barrier. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-02-25-3-thoughts-on-toho

3 Thoughts on Toho

I was without power for three days after the first storm, but it snowed again this weekend and there is supposed to be more weather on the way. Suffice to say, I can’t get to Florida and Lake Toho fast enough. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-02-20-east-to-west

East to West

As a tournament angler, I realize that a primary aspect of my job is to be able to catch fish anywhere, in all types of fisheries, under a variety of conditions. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-02-12-from-swamp-pro-to-bass-pro

From Swamp Pro to Bass Pro

When most people hear the name “T-Roy Broussard,” they think of me as the Texan in the big green airboat on the reality television show Swamp People. Three years ago I was introduced to households across the world as a burly alligator hunter that made a living off of the land. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-01-29-here-we-go

Here We Go

The 2015 bass tournament season is officially underway and I am super-excited about the changing dynamics. There is no doubt that the economy is improving and the 250-boat field that fished the first Rayovac FLW Series event on Lake Okeechobee is testament to that. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-01-13-are-you-taking-care-of-business-

Are You Taking Care of Business?

My dad started taking me fishing when I was two. My very first job was at Hi’s Tackle Box and after that I spent a few years working for Fisherman’s Choice. I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve been able to spend my life doing what I love and enjoy doing. READ MORE »

/tips/2014-12-30-the-ebb-and-flow-of-sponsorships

The Ebb and Flow of Sponsorships

Many of the readers who follow FLW know me as one of the pros who fishes the Walmart FLW Tour. What many of you don’t know is that I also work in the industry. I get to see what happens behind the scenes more than the average fisherman or fellow fan does. I get to see the sponsor contracts, and the ins and outs of how business works. READ MORE »