UPCOMING EVENT: YETI College Fishing - 2019 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir


Top 5 Patterns from Lake Eufaula Day 3

Regardless of locale or how challenging the fishing might be, Bryan Thrift of North Carolina always seems to be in contention for a tournament title.

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.


2. Bryan Thrift – Shelby, N.C. – 54 pounds, 9 ounces

On day three, Thrift sacked his best catch of the tournament, an impressive 19 pounds, 14 ounces. He’s improved his weight each day this week.

Thrift is working the same pattern he did in 2013 when he finished runner-up to Randy Haynes at Eufaula. The pattern is working again, and Thrift wants redemption.

He’s playing the numbers game, too, and from a pure efficiency standpoint, Thrift is the best at it. To watch him fish his waypoint game plan is a study in perfect time management.

Thrift comes off pad about 75 yards away from a waypoint, idles toward his target to about 20 yards, pulls the boat back in reverse, jumps to the front, hurls a cast, puts the trolling motor down, makes two or three more casts, and then he is gone. There is no idling around looking. There are no buoy markers to collect. There’s no making a dozen casts with each rod on the deck. It’s purely a hit-the-target-with-the lure-and-move-on-to-the-next-stop program, which has worked to the tune of about 70 stops a day.

His key bait is a swimbait with either a 1/4- or 1/2-ounce jighead, depending on depth and thickness of the cover.

“I did catch two or three fishing shallow with a frog on day two,” Thrift adds. “But mostly it’s all about the run and gun for me. I love fishing this way. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of targets out there from 5 to 15 feet, and I try to hit as many as I possibly can in a day.”


Clent Davis of Montevallo, Ala., is still in the hunt with brushpile bass like this.

3. Clent Davis – Montevallo, Ala. – 52 pounds, 12 ounces  

Clent Davis continues to run his numbers game to hold his spot in the top five. He’s in third place with 52 pounds, 12 ounces.

Davis, too, has come to the realization that he has been sharing piles with other anglers and says that avoiding the pressure is the golden goose of the tournament.

“I ran about 40 piles today, and of those I’m pretty sure that no one is fishing seven or eight of them,” Davis says. “Those are the ones producing my fish. I have seen boats on the rest of them, and I have hardly caught a fish on those since day one. Problem is, just having seven or eight piles to yourself for a four-day tournament here is not nearly enough.”


At Saturday's weigh-in, Jeff Gustafson talked about the great fishing back home in Ontario, but bass like these are making him fond of  Alabama lakes as well.

4. Jeff Gustafson – Keewatin, Ontario – 49 pounds, 11 ounces

The unofficial “Contrarian Award” this week goes to Jeff “Gussy” Gustafson for scoring a top-10 finish without having to play musical brush piles with anyone.

While others have rotated offshore piles, Gussy has merrily fished the bank with a topwater chugger all week to the tune of 49 pounds, 11 ounces for fourth place.

“I actually tried to fish offshore a bit today, and I just caught little ones,” he says. “So I went back to the bank and caught some more decent ones. I caught most of my fish off new water, so I’m going to run all new stuff tomorrow.”


Wesley Strader and Chris Jones show off his limit - the day's best - a 21-1 sack that vaulted him into fifth place.

5. Wesley Strader – Spring City, Tenn. – 49 pounds, 8 ounces

The biggest limit of day three – 21 pounds, 1 ounce – was hauled in by Wesley Strader, who jumped from 16th to fifth to make yet another top 10.

Strader says that the magic happened on a spot he had wanted to fish all week, but he couldn’t get on it.

“Every time I went to it, there was a boat on it,” Strader says. “He wasn’t right on the spot where I wanted to be, but he was so close to it that I could not get on it without looking bad. So I never stopped on it.”

The angler who was on the spot got cut after day two, so Strader says that it was wide open today – and wide open is right.

“I actually stopped on a couple places on the way down there,” Strader says. “Once I stopped on that spot, I caught most of those fish in about 10 minutes. It was crazy.”

Strader did reveal that the magic spot was a brush pile on top of a good shell bed, and he had to drag a worm through the pile to get them to bite.

“It’s like they wanted that worm dragged through there barely moving,” he says. “I threw some other things in there, but they didn’t care. They wanted that worm crawling along.”

Tags: flw-tour  lake-eufaula  headline-story  2015-05-14-lake-eufaula 


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