UPCOMING EVENT: YETI FLW COLLEGE FISHING - 2019 - Lake Erie

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Thrift Finally Wins the Cup

Thrift Finally Wins the Cup
Bryan Thrift

Everyone knew it was only a matter of time, and that time is finally now. Bryan Thrift is an FLW Cup champion.

The Shelby, N.C., pro won the 2019 FLW Cup at Lake Hamilton with a three-day total weight of 38 pounds, 7 ounces. 

Complete results

Day three coverage blog

FLW Live on day three  

Winning the Cup is not something Thrift needed to do to prove his greatness. That he’s one of the best ever was already an agreed-upon fact by just about everyone. Winning the Cup just added more separation between him and so many others. At 40 years old, in addition to being a world champion, Thrift is a two-time FLW Tour Angler of the Year, a seven-time Tour-level winner, holds a slew of FLW records and has now earned more than $3 million in his FLW career.

Coming into this week, Thrift was the favorite to win. It just felt like a Bryan Thrift kind of tournament, and it turns out it was. 

August in the South is an incredibly difficult time to fish a multi-day bass tournament. Bass are stingy, and bites are tough to get. It’s rare to find a school of bass that can hold up for more than a day. Thrift’s style is the perfect tool to attack that type of scenario. He’s mastered the craft of “precision junk-fishing,” whereby he fishes specific targets (usually dozens of them) but chooses from 10 to 15 baits to make the perfect presentation for each target. 

For the most part, that’s how Thrift fished at Hamilton. However, each day, he eventually settled down in Hot Springs Creek and grinded out key bites that pushed his weight ahead of everyone else. Slowing down at the end of the day was a veteran move that Thrift might not have made early on in his career, when he never fished a spot long enough for a cameraman to focus his lens. 

Bryan Thrift

And it obviously worked to perfection. Thrift led from wire to wire, starting with 15-3 on day one and 12-7 on day two. He led Kyle Walters, who roomed with Thrift this week, by 1 pound, 8 ounces coming into the final day, when Thrift wound up as the only angler to catch a double-digit limit. Weighing in 10-13 gave Thrift a 5-pound, 1-ounce winning margin over Walters.

As easy as Thrift can make it look sometimes, this was a grueling tournament. 

“I’m wore slam out,” says Thrift. “I really am. I fished as hard as I ever have in my life today. I’m tired, but I’m feeling good.”

The only time that Thrift really stuck a lot of fish in a hurry was the final morning when he pulled up to his first spot and fish were busting the surface over a 200-yard span.

“Today started out actually pretty good,” he says. “I ran to a place that I knew [Bryan] Schmitt was catching them schooling, and I knew he didn’t make the cut. So I went in there, and sure enough they were schooling like crazy. I caught a limit fairly quickly at probably about 8 or 8:30. It didn’t weigh much; maybe 7 or 7 1/2 pounds. And I’m thinking, ‘Shoot, I’ve got all day to upgrade. This is good. We’re good to go.’

“So that helped slow me down and give me confidence. But at about 12:30 I hadn’t had another bite. I had one area that I’d caught most of my weight in in the last hour and a half each day in Hot Springs Creek. So I ran in there at 12:30. I said, ‘If I’m gonna win it, I’m gonna win it back here.’ I didn’t crank the boat until 3:30 and ended up culling three.”

The schooling spot was a small dead-end pocket with deep water running all the way to the back. The bass were pushing bait up not quite to the bank, but close. In fact, Thrift had a crowd of spectators in bass boats watching behind him, as well as a crowd on a large road causeway watching in front of him. 

He caught those fish on a small walking topwater first thing (at other points in the tournament he caught some schoolers on a Damiki Rig Underspin Head with a Damiki Armor Shad swimbait). After that flurry, when he switched to a crankbait, he landed about seven hybrid stripers in a row. That was his sign that the black bass were gone or at least done cooperating. 

Once he left that spot, Thrift ran up and down the lake throwing topwaters around docks and fishing about 15 main-lake brush piles, but he never caught another keeper until returning to his key spot in Hot Springs Creek.

“It’s just a shallow flat,” he says of that final spot. “It’s got a lot of shad back there. There were three little brush piles. They weren’t big. They were maybe the size of the hood of a truck; just three small, little brush piles. I’d just rotate between them. One of them, they were kind of schooling around a little bit, and I caught a couple around it while they were up schooling.”

His critical move wasn’t just to run to the flat in Hot Springs Creek, but to exercise the patience to slow down and grind it out there.

“The first day, I caught three 3 1/2-pounders out of there in the last 30 minutes. Then, the second day, I ran back there and culled everything I had in the last hour. And then today I ran back there and culled three.”

Bryan Thrift

In the mornings and midday this week, Thrift ran main-lake brush with a crankbait, a drop-shot and a topwater bait if they were schooling. That pattern was solid on days one and two, but it fizzled out today in hot, post-frontal conditions. He also caught some shallow on day one using a variety of baits, including a buzzbait. 

At weigh-in, in front of a packed Bank OZK Arena crowd, all those patterns, all the preparation behind them, all the hours of hard work to get to Hot Springs, finally came to a head, with Thrift standing on stage amid the confetti and the pyrotechnics, hoisting the FLW Cup trophy that he’d come so close to winning several times before. It's the title that everyone knew was coming. That doesn't make it any less sweet for the champ.

“I can’t believe I won,” Thrift told the crowd. “I still can’t believe it’s actually happened.”

 

Top 10 pros

1. Bryan Thrift – Shelby, N.C. – 38-7 (15) – $300,200

2. Kyle Walters – Grant Valkaria, Fla. – 33-6 (15) – $60,100

3. Dakota Ebare – Denham Springs, La. – 32-2 (14) – $50,000

4. Jeremy Lawyer – Sarcoxie, Mo. – 31-6 (15) – $37,500

5. Scott Martin – Clewiston, Fla. – 31-2 (15) – $30,000

6. Austin Felix – Eden Prairie, Minn. – 30-6 (15) – $24,000

7. Joseph Webster – Winfield, Ala. – 28-2 (15) – $23,000

8. Ryan Salzman – Huntsville, Ala. – 26-12 (15) – $22,000

9. Josh Douglas – Isle, Minn. – 26-3 (14) – $21,000

10. Jordan Osborne – Longview, Texas – 22-6 (10) – $20,000

Complete results

Tags: curtis-niedermier  headline-story  2019-08-09-flw-cup-lake-hamilton 

Reese Goes Wire-To-Wire

Reese Goes Wire-To-Wire

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Potomac River Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

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Better Day Keeps Reese Out Front

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A lovely morning gave way to a dismal afternoon on day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits on the Potomac River, but despite the difference in conditions, Marvin Reese kept on plugging. Weighing 14 pounds, 12 ounces on day one, Reese added 15-14 on day two for a 30-10 total. With his day two bag, Reese has now weighed the two biggest bags of the event, which is presented by Lowrance, and he’s widened his lead over Justin Atkins to nearly 4 pounds. READ MORE »

Potomac River Midday Update – Day 2

Potomac River Midday Update – Day 2

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Potomac River Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Potomac River Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

As is so often the case, the first day of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits on the Potomac River wasn’t quite as bad as some predicted in practice. Though it was hot and humid as all get out, plenty of limits hit the scale and enough pros weighed 12 pounds or better to make things really interesting READ MORE »

Reese Leads on the Potomac

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Day one of the Potomac River event, which is the second stop of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits, featured plenty of limits, but getting quality bites was definitely an issue for some. In the lead after day one, Marvin Reese of Randallstown, Md., weighed 14 pounds, 12 ounces to get things underway. Behind Reese, Justin Atkins and Jason Kervin both weighed 14-5, and Robert Grike rounded out the 14-pound brigade with 14-4. Overall, just 11 pros cracked the 12-pound mark on day one of the tournament, which is presented by Lowrance, but 8- and 9-pound limits weren’t too hard to come by.  READ MORE »

Potomac River Midday Update – Day 1

Potomac River Midday Update – Day 1

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Curveballs at the Cup

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When the field of 52 anglers arrived in Hot Springs, Ark., for the official practice period for the 2019 FLW Cup, they were greeted with sunshine, humidity and brutal daytime temperatures in the upper 90s. Early in the week, there was little mention of anything other than the same – a typical Arkansas summer forecast of sunny and hot. READ MORE »

High Tide Takes Langford to Top

High Tide Takes Langford to Top

Todd Langford of Great Falls, Virginia, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Shenandoah Division tournament on the Potomac River Saturday after catching a five-bass limit weighing 15 pounds, 2 ounces. Langford took home $2,600 for his efforts. READ MORE »

Mills Works Wood at Ohio River

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Craig Mills of Hamilton, Ohio, took top honors at Saturday’s T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Buckeye Division tournament on the Ohio River at Tanners Creek after catching five bass weighing 10 pounds, 4 ounces. Mills took home $5,466 for his win. READ MORE »

Pollak Plays Current for Big Muddy W

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Slow Down in Brush for More Success

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Many times, hitting as many brush piles as possible is the key to success, with Bryan Thrift’s 2015 FLW Tour win on Lake Eufaula serving as a prime example of that strategy. However, with the fishing pretty tough on Lake Hamilton, both Wade Strelic and Joel Willert turned to more methodical approaches to generate bites. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Osborne Fished Finesse

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Osborne spent the early visit graphing for brush in Hamilton’s lower end. In practice, it was more of the same, as Osborne spent only a couple of hours beating the bank. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Douglas Fished Brush and a Buzzbait

Cup Top 10: Douglas Fished Brush and a Buzzbait

Minnesota pro Josh Douglas is regarded as an electronics expert. But while he put his Lowrance units to the test at the FLW Cup on Lake Hamilton to find offshore brush piles, even Douglas couldn’t resist spending some time in the mornings hunting shallow bass. READ MORE »

Thrift and Kripp to discuss FLW Cup

Thrift and Kripp to discuss FLW Cup

FLW Tour pro Bryan Thrift, of Shelby, North Carolina, the newest FLW Cup champion, will break down his career-defining week... READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Salzman Went Shallow to Deep

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Cup Top 10: Webster Wormed Brush

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Among the FLW Cup pros that committed the entire tournament to one pattern was Joseph Webster, who weighed in a three-day total of 28 pounds, 2 ounces at Lake Hamilton. He finished seventh. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Felix Keyed on Clear Water

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Cup Top 10: Martin went up the River

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Prior to practice, Scott Martin had no idea that the far upper end of Lake Hamilton, where the cold waters from the bottom of Lake Ouachita flow in through Blakely Mountain Dam, was such a drastically different mini-fishery within the reservoir. Then he started scouting it in practice and realized there was potential to win the tournament in the tailrace in areas where the water temperature was below 60 degrees. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Lawyer Mixes it Up for Fourth

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