UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Clear Lake

Thrift Eyes 7th Tour Title

Thrift Eyes 7th Tour Title
Bryan Thrift

Bryan Thrift has a pattern, and it looks like it may be happening again.

Complete results  

Day three coverage blog

When Thrift wins FLW Tour events – something he has done six previous times – he tends to do it in back-to-back seasons. He won his first two in 2010 and 2011. His next two came in 2014 and 2015 (and then an FLW Tour Invitational win in 2016). He also won the Cumberland event in 2018. That means, if his pattern is to continue, he’s due for a victory this year.

Low and behold, he’s currently leading going into the final day of the Tour event of Grand Lake presented by Mercury. The two-time Angler of the Year caught the biggest bag of day three – 19 pounds, 3 ounces – to jump from fifth to first with 52-1 overall and take a 3-pound, 2-ounce lead over Ozark veteran Jeremy Lawyer.

“Today was a good day,” says Thrift of Saturday. “At least, it looked good on paper.”

It certainly didn’t look good to the eyes. Takeoff was bumped back 45 minutes to wait out a nasty storm front that passed over the area; a front that left in its wake a day of falling temperatures, misty rain and howling winds. “Miserable” was a word many pros uttered at weigh-in while hunkered in their trucks with the heat blasting in an attempt to warm up.

Yet, none felt warmer than Thrift. He was one of only 10 pros to catch limits on day three, and he only got eight bites all day. Yet, six were the right bites.

Bryan Thrift

“I actually lost my first fish of the day at around 9 a.m., and it was a good one,” Thrift laments. “So that started the day off on a sour note, but fortunately I was able to rebound.”

While he had been running throughout much of the lake the previous two days, the howling wind and rough water meant he hunkered down a bit more, hanging mainly in Honey Creek. There, he said he got a bite every 45 minutes or so, never having a flurry.

Along with the switch in strategy, he also had to switch from his vibrating jig that had produced the majority of his fish the first two days.

“I never got a bite on a vibrating jig today,” Thrift says. “I caught a couple on a jig and a couple on a crankbait.”

While the tournament has unfolded much to his liking thus far – he is in first, after all – he did mention the one thing he didn’t like was that he hasn’t been able to figure out a distinct pattern as to where the fish are located.

“I don’t like that I can’t look at an area and say, ‘I’m going to get bit here or there,’” Thrift explains. “It’s been so random. I’ve had to go into an area and fish everything.

“The ones I weighed in today, I caught two on bare banks, one on a dock, one off a tree and one off a rock. It’s just random.”

Still, one thing that isn’t random is Thrift once again finding himself in the top 10 with a chance at victory. This marks his 41st top 10 in his professional FLW Tour career, and he says it never gets old.

“It’s awesome,” says Thrift of leading. “This is why you fish. If you don’t get excited about having a chance to win, it’s time to quit.”

 

Jeremy Lawyer

2. Jeremy Lawyer – Sarcoxie, Mo. – 48-14 (15)

Sheldon Collings may be the true local of the top 10 anglers, but Lawyer is pretty darn close. He certainly put his extensive history and knowledge of Grand Lake to good use today.

He’s started every day thinking he had a solid pattern to begin with, and every day that pattern has disappeared, forcing him to refind his fish. Today, it took him until 1:35 p.m. before he caught his first keeper. Yet, once he found them, he was able to finish out a 17-pound, 9-ounce limit within 45 minutes.

Fortunately, today was the first day where there was a truly specific pattern.

“The first two days I was just fishing docks with a spinnerbait, going into an area and fishing all of them,” Lawyer says. “Today, they were on something really specific. I really had to look for it.

“History was everything for me today. It was key docks with specific stuff I only know because I’ve fished this lake for so many years and at so many levels.”

Lawyer is hoping this pattern holds up for tomorrow, but if it does what his previous patterns have done he’s still confident he can refind his fish one last time.

 

Billy McCaghren

3. Billy McCaghren – Mayflower, Ark. – 46-12 (15)

McCaghren apparently has flair for the dramatic.

At 2:15 p.m. he found himself all the way down at the dam with four fish in his livewell and a long, rough boat ride back to weigh-in. He admits now he didn’t know if he had enough time to make it back for check-in.

Yet, despite the tight window, he decided on his way back to make one last stop on a community hole. The result was a 6-10 kicker to cap off his 14-10 limit.

“That saved my day,” McCaghren says.

The Arkansas pro has been on a similar dock pattern as Lawyer, just with different lures. Yes, he’s mixing in a Talon ¾-ounce spinnerbait with a Zoom Swimmin Super Fluke trailer, but he’s also tossing a ½-ounce Talon Billy Mac jig of his own design with a Zoom Big Salty Chunk trailer. And his ace in the hole has been a homemade flat-sided balsa crankbait.

The trio of baits have been put to work all over the lower end, from Drowning Creek to the dam. McCaghren says he had to jump around even more today than normal, hitting close to 20 spots, as he figures he and Lawyer have beaten up the best area pretty well.

 

Michael Matthee

4. Michael Matthee – Centurion, Gauteng, South Africa. – 44-15 (13)

On a day when bites were at a premium, Matthee seemingly made it look easy.

The rookie from South Africa had a limit by 9 a.m. and says he caught a number of short fish throughout the day.

“I just never got a kicker,” says Matthee, who weighed in 14-10. “I caught a lot of fish, especially early. Then it died down.”

The bite dying has been quite the issue for him, more so because of the fish constantly repositioning on him in Horse Creek. On day one, Matthee says he caught all his fish off wood. Day two it was docks. Today, it was rocks.

Fortunately, he’s been consistently doing something he loves: throwing a spinnerbait, which is something he grew up doing.

“The first day, my biggest bite came on a spinnerbait, and she had it all the way back in her throat,” Matthee says. “After that, I said I was going to stick with it, and I have.”

 

Bradford Beavers

5. Bradford Beavers – Summerville, S.C. – 44-6 (14)

To say Beavers is fishing painfully slow is an understatement.

He’s been hunkered in a mile stretch of the Elk River, where he’s been making repeated casts to isolated pieces of wood. And by “repeated,” we mean as many as 50 casts at a time to each piece.

“It’s so boring it makes me want to quit doing it,” Beavers says.

That said, it’s been incredibly effective. Yet, his bite has gotten tougher every day, as the falling water he felt was helping him earlier in the derby may finally be hurting his shallow wood.

“I don’t think any new fish showed up,” Beavers says. “The falling water and the cold nights might be killing my pattern.”

Case in point: He only brought in four fish today (for 9 pounds, 7 ounces), and two of them came on a spinnerbait in spots where he “could make it work.” He says he caught his last fish at 2 p.m. and only had five bites total.

As for tomorrow, he figures he’ll start by hitting his high-percentage pieces of wood – he has one piece that he’s gotten two bites from every day – and then may have to scramble from there.

 

News and Notes

 

Jeremy Lawyer

“Miserable” conditions

The storms on day two helped ignite the bite for many pros. Not so much on day three.

The massive cold front left downright awful conditions to be outside in, let alone to fish. For most, the conditions meant hunkering in areas because the main lake was a dishwasher. Even then, the wind was so bad it actually hurt some pros’ spinnerbait bites.

It also hurt pros in other ways. John Cox missed multiple bites today that could’ve had him contending for the lead because his hands were so cold from the rain, wind and temperatures he couldn’t truly tell if it was a bite or a piece of cover until it was so late.

 

Bailey Boutries

Falling leaders

First it was Kyle Weisenburger. Then Bailey Boutries. Will Thrift be next?

So far, the leaders on each day have failed to bring in a limit the next day, with both not making it into the top 10. In fact, it’s not just the leaders. The guys in second haven’t fared any better, as neither Todd Castledine or Cox were able to bring in limits the day after holding down the No. 2 position.

 

Fog delay?

The final day on Grand is supposed to be sunny, but it also figures to be even colder than today. So cold, in fact, that some pros were worried we’d once again have a delayed takeoff due to fog.

Lawyer, in particular, felt fog was a real possibility, having a lot of experience on Ozark lakes in the spring.

 

Top 10 pros

1. Bryan Thrift – Shelbyville, N.C. – 52-1 (15)

2. Jeremy Lawyer – Sarcoxie, Mo. – 48-14 (15)

3. Billy McCaghren – Mayflower, Ark. – 46-12 (15)

4. Michael Matthee – Centurion, Gauteng, South Africa – 44-15 (13)

5. Bradford Beavers – Summerville, S.C. – 44-6 (14)

6. Brian Latimer – Belton, S.C. – 43-4 (11)

7. Miles Burghoff – Hixson, Tenn. – 42-7 (13)

8. John Cox – DeBary, Fla. – 42-4 (12)

9. Jamie Horton – Centerville, Ala. – 41-10 (13)

10. Sheldon Collings – Grove, Okla. – 39-9 (15)

Complete results  

Tags: sean-ostruszka  headline-story  2019-03-28-grand-lake 

Lieblong Again at Dardanelle

Lieblong Again at Dardanelle

Jason Lieblong is no stranger to Toyota Series titles on Lake Dardanelle. He claimed his first back in August of 2015 and five years later thanks to a final-day bag worth 15 pounds, 15 ounces (the biggest of the event) Lieblong added his second Series trophy to the mantle. The Conway, Ark., pro finished the event with 40-9 overall, moving up the leaderboard every day of the tournament. For winning the Plains Division opener presented by Fish-Intel, Lieblong took home over $70,000 thanks largely to the FLW PHOENIX BONUS, which earned him and extra $35,000. READ MORE »

Dobson Grabs Second Toyota Series W

Dobson Grabs Second Toyota Series W

Weighing 18 pounds and 9 ounces on day three for a 59-3 total, Scott Dobson moved from second to first to win the Toyota Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River. The win is Dobson’s second in Toyota Series competition and his eighth overall with FLW. For the win, Dobson takes home $27,534 and further burnishes his record as one of the best smallmouth anglers on the planet.   READ MORE »

Bennett Takes Dardanelle Lead

Bennett Takes Dardanelle Lead

Backing up his day-one weight of 13 pounds, 6 ounces, Joe Bennett brought 13-14 to the scale to take the lead at Lake Dardanelle in the Toyota Series Plains Division opener presented by Fish-Intel. Bennett will carry 1-1 lead into Saturday’s final round over Kevin Riney as he looks to grab his first victory with FLW. READ MORE »

Burton Edges Ahead at the Detroit River

Burton Edges Ahead at the Detroit River

Day two of the Toyota Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River saw the pros stuck in the river itself again due to the wind. Moving up from fourth place into the lead, Wilson Burton weighed 20 pounds, 4 ounces to get up to a 40-11 total. With the only 20-pound bag of the day, Burton slipped past Scott Dobson by just one ounce, who weighed 19-12 and sits behind him with a 40-10 total. READ MORE »

Montevallo Takes College Open Title

Montevallo Takes College Open Title

As tough as Kentucky Lake was fishing this week in the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Open, Grayson Morris and Jacob Pfundt of the University of Montevallo leading after day one and finishing the job on Thursday resulted in one of the more impressive wins you’ll see. After weighing in a day-one best 12-13, the duo backed it up with another 12-7 on day two for the victory, displaying the kind of consistency it takes to grind it out in tough fishing conditions. For their efforts, Morris and Pfundt were awarded a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-hp Mercury outboard. READ MORE »

King Tops Day 1 at Dardanelle 

King Tops Day 1 at Dardanelle 

Zach King of Clarksville, Ark., used a Heddon Zara Spook to catch 14 pounds, 11 ounces claim the day one lead in the Toyota Series Plains Division event on Lake Dardanelle presented by Fish-Intel. King will take a 6-ounce lead over Matt Wood of Jessieville, Ark., into day two.  READ MORE »

Dardanelle Midday Update – Day 1

Dardanelle Midday Update – Day 1

Thursday’s opening round of the Toyota Series Plains Division opener at Lake Dardanelle followed the script many anglers predicted. Despite many favorable conditions at the beginning of a peak fishing season, muddy water and bright sunshine made fishing difficult across the 34,000-acre Arkansas River impoundment. READ MORE »

Stokes Leads on the Detroit River

Stokes Leads on the Detroit River

Strong winds kept the pros in the Toyota Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River pinned to the actual river, but the fishing was still very good. Plenty of anglers brought in 17 pounds or more, and the leaders are all concentrated around the 20-pound mark. In first, Troy Stokes of Brownstown, Mich., weighed 21 pounds, 4 ounces to kick things off. READ MORE »

Detroit River Midday Update – Day 1

Detroit River Midday Update – Day 1

Right off the bat, the anglers in the field at the Toyota Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River were thrown a curveball by the weather. This morning, with increasing wind forecasts, tournament officials made Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair off-limits, thereby penning up the 87 pros and co-anglers on the American side of the Detroit River. READ MORE »

Montevallo Leads College Open 

Montevallo Leads College Open 

As expected, weights were down across the board on day one of the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Open on Kentucky Lake. With high water during what’s typically a tough transitional time of year, it took just 12 pounds, 13 ounces for Grayson Morris and Jacob Pfundt of the University of Montevallo to grab the lead. READ MORE »

Dickneite Again on Lake of the Ozarks

Dickneite Again on Lake of the Ozarks

Boater Andre Dickneite of Freeburg, Mo., brought a five-bass limit to the scale Sunday weighing 18 pounds, 7 ounces to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event on Lake of the Ozarks in Warsaw, Missouri. For his victory, Dickneite earned a total of $3,794. READ MORE »

Wallis Sacks 19-14 on Truman

Wallis Sacks 19-14 on Truman

Boater Mike Wallis of Hallsville, Mo., brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 19 pounds, 14 ounces to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event on Lake Truman in Warsaw, Missouri. For his victory, Wallis earned a total of $5,009. READ MORE »

Houchin Gets Hamilton W

Houchin Gets Hamilton W

Boater Quincy Houchin of Mabelvale, Ark., brought a two-day total of nine bass to the scale weighing 23 pounds, 5 ounces to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Arkie Division Super-Tournament at Lake Hamilton. For his victory, Houchin earned $13,460, which includes the lucrative FLW PHOENIX BONUS contingency payout. READ MORE »

Foutz Claims Chick Title

Foutz Claims Chick Title

Boater Jacob Foutz of Charleston, Tenn., brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 29 pounds, 12 ounces to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Volunteer Division Super-Tournament at Lake Chickamauga. For his victory, Foutz earned $5,126. READ MORE »

Honnerlaw Nets Big O Title

Honnerlaw Nets Big O Title

Boater Bryan Honnerlaw of Moore Haven, Fla.,brought a five-bass limit to the scale Sunday weighing 22 pounds, 9 ounces to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Gator Division Super-Tournament at Lake Okeechobee. For his victory, Honnerlaw earned $6,817. READ MORE »

Amerson Wins First BFL

Amerson Wins First BFL

Boater Keith Amerson of Bethel Springs, Tenn.,, brought a two-day total of six bass to the scale weighing 22 pounds, 7 ounces to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine LBL Division Super-Tournament at Kentucky and Barkley Lakes. For his victory, Amerson earned $5,376. READ MORE »

Morgan Wins No. 3

Morgan Wins No. 3

Boater Brian Morgan of Mooresville, N.C., brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale this weekend weighing 24 pounds, 10 ounces to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine North Carolina Division Super-Tournament at Lake Norman. Morgan earned a total of $5,831 for his victory – his third win of the year in the North Carolina Division. READ MORE »

Smith Scores Close to Home

Smith Scores Close to Home

Boater Michael M. Smith of Andalusia, Ala., brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 40 pounds, 4 ounces to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Bama Division Super-Tournament at Lake Eufaula. For his victory, Smith earned $6,329. READ MORE »

Maupin Takes Potomac Title

Maupin Takes Potomac Title

The dock talk all week at the Potomac River for the Toyota Series Eastern Division event was that fishing was tough. That rang true again today as the wind help stall the tide making things tough for most of the top 10. James Maupin, however, kept his streak of consistency alive as he weighed his third 13-pound-plus limit of the week to move from second to first with 40 pounds, 11 ounces overall. For the win, Maupin earns his first FLW trophy and over $24,000.  READ MORE »

Vaughan Cruising at the Potomac

Vaughan Cruising at the Potomac

The leaderboard definitely saw some shuffling on day two of the Toyota Series Eastern Division event on the Potomac River, but Wayne Vaughan managed to keep the top spot thanks to another solid day. Weighing 14 pounds, 10 ounces today, Vaughan’s total now stands at 31-10 and gives him a nearly 5-pound lead over second place. If he can put it together for one more day, Vaughan will take home his second Toyota Series title in just as many years. READ MORE »