UPCOMING EVENT: Rayovac FLW Series - 2015 - Lake Champlain

Smoke on the water

Bryan Thrift works an area over hard looking for another quality bite.

I just got back from the Rayovac FLW Series event on Lake Okeechobee. I'm still a little bitter about how I finished, but I guess I have to discuss both the good and the bad with my blog. I got there Sunday before the tournament and immediately thought the lake looked really good - the water level is up and everything looks healthy. Certain parts of the lake were crowded, but that's just the way the lake is - typical Okeechobee to me. I fished Sunday and Monday and the bite was OK, but it wasn't quite as good as I expected. Then the cold front came through and it only got worse. Overall, it seemed like the fish were scattered. The first bite I had of the New Year was an 8-10. I caught that fish flipping a Damiki Knockout in junebug color. Unfortunately, it all went downhill from there and in a hurry. But at least I got the year started out on the right foot with that big one. Bryan Thrift with two giants, each over 8 pounds. I decided to enter the event mainly because I had a couple buddies fishing as co-anglers. I also like riding around and looking at different parts of the lake before the Tour event. To do well on Okeechobee you've got to find that one little area where the fish stack up and I just never found it. I seen a lot of empty beds and some beds with bucks but I never did see any big females on bed. If I had to guess, I'd say there are definitely more fish coming. I know they spawn there from like November to March, so in no way, shape or form are they done. On the first day of the tournament I tried a little bit of everything. I had some areas where they were schooling and I thought I could start there and maybe catch 12 pounds or so and then go looking for a big bite or two later in the day. But then the wind changed and the schooling fish disappeared. After that I mostly flipped, but I'm not a good flipper and I really don't like doing it. I only weighed in four bass for a pitiful 6 pounds the first day. On day two I checked the schooling fish, but again couldn't find them. From there I tried to make myself work on flipping. That's how I caught my 11-pound, 7-ounce limit, but I never felt like I really figured the flipping bite out. To me, it seems too random. I can't read the mats like a lot of guys; it all looks like a wad of grass. I flipped with both the Knockout and the Damiki Air Craw and I found that the Air Craw was better in the thick hyacinth and hydrilla mats because it's more compact. I tried buzzing plastics on top quite a bit too. You could catch a lot of fish but they were only 1- to 1 1/2-pounders; the quality wasn't there. Besides that 8-10, I never got any more big bites. The biggest two I weighed in during the tournament were just 3-pounders. Pretty much all I got from this trip was a lot of stuff that I'm not going to do when I go back for the Tour. I finished 120th out of more than 200 boats. Thrift powers the fish to the boat. I'm glad to be home, but I'm also ready to go back down there and figure out what I did wrong. I'm afraid I'll have to flip some more. That seems to be what the winner does every year and that's probably why I've never contended. I wish we'd have a Tour event down there in March or April when you don't have to worry about cold fronts. Part of me likes going down there in February when it's cold everywhere else, but I'd like to change it up too. My new boat, a Ranger 520C powered by a 250-horse Evinrude E-TEC, is supposed to arrive later this week or early next week. It ships from Ranger to Denver Marine and I'll go and pick it up there. Then I'll spend some time rigging and tinkering to get it the way I like. I'm at the point now where I rig and mount all my graphs myself. Once I get my new boat, I'll be selling my 2013 model. I still have it because I'm just not one of those guys that can go without a boat. I know that if I sold my boat early we'd have several weeks straight of perfect fishing weather. And even if the weather is bad, I just like knowing I have my boat there in case I need to go fishing. My 2014 rig will look pretty similar to last year's with Chevy wrapping it and Damiki, Evinrude and The Great Outdoors heavily featured. I'll start driving back down to Okeechobee on Friday, Jan. 31. It takes me about 10 hours or so to get to the north end of the lake. On Saturday, we'll be at Gilbert Chevrolet for Chevy Pro Night from 3 to 5 p.m. in Okeechobee. If you live in the area, come out and see me.

Tags: blog  bryan-thrift 

/tips/2015-07-29-do-you-really-need-so-much-stuff-

Do You Really Need So Much Stuff?

Lures and clothes have a lot in common. Just like clothing evolves and new styles come out and old styles come back, so goes fishing lures. The difference between the two, however, is that you can outgrow your old jeans, but you can never get rid of your old baits. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-07-22-never-miss-a-bass-again

Never Miss a Bass Again

Do you ever listen at the weigh-in at how many guys talk about all the fish they missed? I can’t accept that it’s part of the job at hand. It’s one of my pet peeves. Most of us would do much better if we would just ask the simple question “why?” In prefishing we have already done most of the hard work. During the tournament, a missed fish can’t be accepted. I consider it a good tournament when I come back to the ramp with no missed fish, regardless of my finish. How does that happen? It starts way before the tournament. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-07-08-a-bass-is-a-bass-but-not-always

A Bass is a Bass, But Not Always

Amigos, as you may remember, we left the past blog with a big question mark on the well-known saying, “A bass is a bass, no matter what.” Well, it’s time to give you a different point of view. A lot of you, while reading these lines, might start questioning my ideas. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-07-06-from-kayak-to-bass-boat

From Kayak to Bass Boat

Like many anglers, I am a fanatic about my equipment for the things I do. For example, I’m a four-time world champion whitewater kayaker and have won three of them in a boat of my design. I started Jackson Kayak to take kayak design to the next level and to do things that the bigger company I was working for wasn’t willing to do. I am also a long-time bass fisherman, which led me to fishing 2015 Walmart FLW Tour as a co-angler. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-07-06-more-than-a-fisherman

More Than a Fisherman

The competitive fishing world is a small one, and when narrowed down to the competitive bass fishing world, it is even smaller in the grand scheme of things. This, of course, isn’t to say that this small group doesn’t have an absolutely huge impact. It does. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-07-01-the-no-excuse-guide-

The "No Excuse" Guide

Chatter can be dock talk, personal abusive talk, hater talk, fan talk and everything in between. The list goes on. I truly believe tournament fishing is all a mental game. I feel that the most successful anglers know how to tune it all out and fish in the zone. It is crucial to know how to tune out all the chatter and shut up and fish. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-30-missed-chances-at-the-finale

Missed Chances at the Finale

The final Walmart FLW Tour event on the Potomac River was a tough event for me. After one of the strongest practices I’ve ever had there, or anywhere, really, I drove home scratching my head. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-22-thrift-flirting-with-second-aoy-title

Thrift Flirting with Second AOY Title

Bryan Thrift can’t say for certain what baits will sit on his front deck during the final Walmart FLW Tour event of 2015 on the Potomac River, which is set to kick off this Thursday, but he’s quick to say what will not join him – the memory of his 2010 Angler of the Year title. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-16-my-lost-fish-troubles-continue

My Lost-Fish Troubles Continue

Lake Chickamauga is loaded with big bass, and for the first time in three previous visits I felt really good after the practice period was over. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite work out for me, and I ended the event after day two by missing the top-20 cut by a mere 4 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-14-chickamauga-aoy-update

Chickamauga AOY Update

On the heels of his third consecutive Walmart FLW Tour top-10 finish, Shelby, N.C., pro and 2010 Angler of the Year Bryan Thrift moves into the lead in the 2015 AOY race going into the final event on the Potomac River in LaPlata, Md., June 25-28. Thrift won the Tour’s fourth stop on Lake Eufaula back in May and followed it up with a ninth-place finish this week on Lake Chickamauga. His AOY point total through five of six events is 945. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-04-blaukat-on-climate-change

Blaukat on Climate Change

As many of you know, for years I’ve been an outspoken voice on environmental issues. As a result, I’ve been celebrated by some and ostracized by others. But what some think of me being the messenger is irrelevant. It’s not about the messenger – as much as detractors try to make it out to be – it’s about getting the message out. I want to start by saying that the debate of whether or not climate change is man-made is over. It’s real, and it’s right here in our faces. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-05-28-running-a-college-club

Running a College Club

The sport of college bass fishing is growing at an incredible pace. During my freshman year (2011-2012), tournament fields were limited to 50 anglers, and boats were supplied by Rayovac FLW Series volunteer competitors. During the end of my senior year this season, field sizes grew larger at every tournament, and we saw more colleges providing boats for student anglers – signs of growth for sure. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-05-28-blog-i-m-hooked-

Blog: I’m Hooked

When I was 10 years old I could only dream about being a professional fisherman. I would spend all my time outdoors playing sports, hunting and fishing. Then, in high school, I competed in my first bass tournament and I was hooked. From that moment, my goal was to become a professional angler some day. Now, almost three decades later, after much hard work and dedication I’m competing in the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour. And I’m more excited than ever. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-05-26-blog-the-first-time

Blog: The First Time

This begins a series of blogs by Walmart FLW Tour co-angler Jaime Luengo of Mexico City. He joined the circuit in 2005 and has three top-10 finishes to his credit. Luengo is the author of La Magia de la Lobina Tecnicas Avanzadas, a book on bass fishing techniques, and is host and producer of Nuestra Pesca, a television series available on all cable stations in Mexico. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-05-19-blog-what-might-have-been-at-eufaula

Blog: What Might Have Been at Eufaula

Lake Eufaula is in the books, but ever since the tournament I haven’t slept very well. If you know me, you know I just “love” losing fish, but I think this latest event was the worst of my career. I finished 12th, which isn’t so bad, but the “what could have beens” got me again. On the last day of practice, I caught nearly 30 pounds, including one around 10 pounds and a 7 1/2-pounder, making it a day I’ll never forget. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-17-thrift-wins-walmart-flw-tour-on-lake-eufaula-presented-by-quaker-state

Thrift Wins Walmart FLW Tour On Lake Eufaula Presented By Quaker State

EUFAULA, Ala. (May 17, 2015) – The Walmart FLW Tour event at Lake Eufaula presented by Quaker State promised a dramatic finish Sunday as all of the final top-10 anglers competing on the final day were within striking distance of first place and the title of Lake Eufaula Champion. When the scales settled, it was veteran pro Bryan Thrift of Shelby, North Carolina, who had caught enough weight... 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 »

/tips/2015-05-12-blog-frogging-of-a-different-kind

Blog: Frogging of a Different Kind

As a bass fisherman, I have a special feeling for that time of year when I can start fishing a frog again. I’m not sure if the rush of adrenaline I feel is from that first explosion when a bass crashes the frog, or the anticipation of it. Whatever it is, I love it! READ MORE »

/tips/2015-05-06-blog-make-a-plan-and-work-the-plan-

Blog: Make a Plan and Work the Plan

I’m not going to sugarcoat it: I’m bombarded with an array of emotions and a new to-do list every day. I’m not good enough. I don’t have the money. Make a Facebook post. Call mom. I don’t have enough time. I’m too tired. I’ll be treated poorly. Rig rods. Do sponsor work. People won’t like me. My son will miss me. I’ll miss my family. READ MORE »

/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 »