Meeting my angler

Allison Thrift Blog

Editor's Note: The writer's opinions and observations expressed here are her own, and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views, policies or positions of FLW. My name is Allison Thrift, and I'm the wife of Walmart FLW Tour pro Bryan Thrift. I'm excited to be writing this blog for FLW, and going forward I hope you enjoy our stories from the road - and of life off the road as well. For now, I wanted to share with you the story of how Bryan and I got together, and my first reaction to all the craziness that is the world of professional fishing. When Bryan and I met, in 2003, I was 19, and he was 23. At the time, I was really into bowling. Every Friday night our local bowling alley had black-light bowling, and considering that there wasn't much else to do in our small hometown, I went there just about every Friday night. The bowling alley also had karaoke, which I attempted a few times (and I'm SO thankful that video phones didn't exist then). I was friends with one of the guys, Craig, who worked the door, and one Friday night he asked me if I would be willing to meet one of his buddies that worked with him at his day job - it was Bryan. Craig explained that the guy was very sweet and wanted to meet a good girl, but that he also loved fishing. To me, he sounded great. I had grown up fishing with a cane pole and a bucket of worms at my great uncle's pond, so I thought I was good to go with this guy named Bryan. I told Craig that I would love to meet his friend, to which he responded, "No, I mean he REALLY loves to fish," as if to stress that Bryan was more than just a casual fisherman. I again assured Craig that I was fine with that and that I would be willing to meet him. "You don't get it! I mean, he REALLY LOVES to fish!" Craig exclaimed. "I've got it," I told him. But the truth is, as I came to find out later, I really had no idea. Bryan and Allison Thrift Bryan and I talked on the phone for a few days before we finally decided to get together on St Patrick's Day for a blind date at - where else - the bowling alley. I decided to get a little tan on my pale skin to impress him and ended up as red as a lobster. No worries though, I thought, because red doesn't show up in black light. I put on my cutest outfit and a pair of boots to match, and headed off for our rendezvous. When we met for the first time, I was not only untouchable because of my sunburn, but a good 4 inches taller than Bryan because of my boots. But again, no worries. Once the bowling shoes were on, we were the same height (He still doesn't like for me to wear boots around him). We hit it off immediately and even ended up tying in one of our games. That had to be a sign, right? After a few days, we decided to make it official and call ourselves boyfriend/girlfriend. It was then that I first began to realize just how much he loved his fishing. Funny, I specifically remember that just a few months before Bryan and I met, I heard that Brad Paisley song, "I'm Gonna Miss Her," and even asked aloud to myself, "Who in the world would choose FISHING over his wife or girlfriend?" I like to think God has a sense of humor because it wasn't long after that when I met Bryan. At the time, he was fishing every local tournament he could find, as well as the BFL tourneys. I was amazed at how much time he spent not only fishing, but also preparing to fish. Many of our evenings hanging out together were spent with me holding a spool of fishing line on a pencil while he re-spooled his reels. Romance at its finest, indeed. However, I also confess that I admired the passion and commitment he had for the sport he loved. That passion and commitment are part of who he was and who he still is, and those traits rolled over into our relationship. Even though the majority of his time was spent fishing, I came to realize that he loved me and that he was the only one for me. He explained that his ultimate goal was to become a professional bass fisherman. My first thought was, "What? That job exists?" It was then that he introduced me to FLW. Over the next few years, he worked his way up the ranks, so to speak, from small local tournaments, to larger regional tournaments, to being a co-angler in the Rayovac FLW Series tournaments, and eventually to being a Rayovac boater. We would keep up with all the weigh-ins, and I began to learn the names of the big players in the sport. I prayed that one day Bryan would achieve his dream and that his name would be among those big players. Bryan Thrift won his first Rayovac as a boater in 2006 on Lake Okeechobee. I was at the Rayovac FLW Series tournament on Lake Okeechobee in 2006 when he won as a pro in the series for the first time. I could hardly contain my excitement. All the hard work, the time and the commitment had paid off. That win was just the push Bryan needed to give the Walmart FLW Tour a try as a pro beginning the following year. That's when this whirlwind that has become our life really began. And I couldn't be happier to be a part of it. In the next few installments of this blog, I'll share with you what it was like for Bryan in his first years as a pro, and our first years as a married couple (Yes, we were actually able to find a weekend between tournaments to have a wedding.). I'll also share with you some stories from our time on the road this season, to help you understand better what goes on behind the scenes for the families of the Walmart FLW Tour.

Tags: blog  allison-thrift 

/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 »

/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 »

/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/2015-03-18-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 »