UPCOMING EVENT: Walmart Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Okeechobee

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 


Fishing Through the Stress

For some of us, the Forrest Woods Cup’s memories are still fresh. They come back again and again to give us moments of satisfaction and joy as we’re reminded of the great times we had during those hot summer days at Hot Springs. READ MORE »


True Sportsmanship

In recent years it seems I’ve read an increasing number of stories about bass anglers and their lack of common courtesy: hole-jumping, waypoint-stealing, cutting off other anglers – you get the picture. With that in mind, I want to relate an incident that happened to me during the 2015 BFL Regional on the Potomac River. READ MORE »


6 Rules for Fishing Safely in a Kayak

There will never be a replacement for the almighty bass boat. It has secured its place as the tool for the trade on so many types of waters. But there are also places where the fishing kayak reigns supreme, and many of the “who’s who” of bass fishing are discovering that a kayak is a great addition to their fishing and fun tools. READ MORE »


Mom’s Fishing Lessons

I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of great fishing friends and mentors who helped me become a better angler. However, the best inspiration for my fishing career was my mother, Cheryl, and she also gave me the best advice regarding it. She was a mother who only fished a handful of times in her life, and who was always sure she was going to fly out of my bass boat anytime I got it over 35 mph. But, boy, did she help guide me. READ MORE »


An Unexpected Gift

What a year it has been! As I begin my very first blog post, I am thankful, humbled and extremely proud to call myself a breast cancer survivor. Not necessarily the club one expects or wants to be part of, but I am here to tell you that it has been a gift in so many ways. I know, many of you are thinking a "gift" to be diagnosed with cancer? The answer is yes. READ MORE »


How to Catch Big Fall Smallmouths

What's the best time of year to catch lots of big smallmouth bass in the northern United States? Well, get ready, because it's going to happen in the next couple of weeks and continue until the lakes freeze solid. And the best part about it is that often times you will have entire lakes to yourself since most anglers switch gears and start their hunting seasons, leaving the lakes almost completely void of pressure. READ MORE »


Weekend Angler: Off the Water Practice

Of all the excuses I hear fisherman use when it comes to fishing tournaments, the one that intrigues me the most is, "I haven't been out that much, so I couldn't practice." There is no substitute for time on the water – that is not debatable – but there are things that can be done to assist you in your weekend efforts if you can’t spend every free moment on the water. Below you’ll find just a few tips to hopefully help you become a more efficient angler. READ MORE »


The Good Ol' Days

It’s hard to believe that the dog days of summer will soon be coming to an end, seen in the shortening of days and frigid mornings. For some, fall means hanging up the rods and picking up the bow or shotgun in preparation for the upcoming hunting seasons – for others, falling water temps signify hungry bass stocking up for the descending metabolism of winter. READ MORE »


Frog fishing 101

People often ask me about what frog I use and when. It’s a good question, because there are many, many frogs available to anglers these days. The answer depends on the situation you expect to encounter. READ MORE »


A Fisherman or Fisher of Men?

It was a series of ups, downs and way downs, though I ended my season with a nice check at the Potomac River. I thought squaring off against a prehistoric reptile in its own backyard was tough, but I have to tell you that fishing against these FLW guys was tougher than dealing with alligators back home. READ MORE »


Rhinos, Bass and Great White Sharks

Tournament fishing in South Africa is pretty solid, with about 500 serious tournament anglers in the country. There are many more recreational anglers in the region too. READ MORE »


Getting Whipped by the Young Bucks

It really goes against all logic, but logic flew out the window again at the recent Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. Take the example of Brandon Cobb and Dion Hibdon. Cobb, at the tender age of 25, not only qualified for the Cup (the most difficult championship in the world to qualify for, much less win), but he finished in the top five. READ MORE »


SOAR Derby a Success

Be it children or adults, we all want others to be able to experience the pure joy that we feel when hooked up and battling a fish that we have worked so hard for. READ MORE »


Shifting Gears

I am stripping the big line off the Halos and re-spooling with 6- and 8-pound-test Berkley flouro, and reflecting on how much fun it was catching all those fish with all these relatively new baits, how hard some of the strikes were and how easy it was catching fish on baits that they haven't seen before. Well, that's all over now – back to smallmouth fishing. READ MORE »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »