UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - Lake Champlain

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Thrift’s 3 Go-To Spring Baits

Thrift’s 3 Go-To Spring Baits
Bryan Thrift

Spring has officially begun, and for the majority of bass anglers across the county that means it’s time to start wetting a line. Though this is the time of year that many dream of, it can also present its own set of challenges depending on where the bass are in the spawn cycle.

For starters, there’s a pile of bait options when it comes to catching bass in the spring, which is why sometimes the smartest approach is to keep it simple, according to 2017 Pennzoil Marine Angler of the Year Bryan Thrift. We asked him to share his favorite bait for each stage of the spawn.  

 

1. Prespawn

Thrift has a knack for cashing checks on the FLW Tour, and with that he’s developed confidence in certain baits to put bass in the boat. No matter the time of year, Thrift will have a 4-inch Damiki Stinger tied on. When the trees start to blossom it becomes a major player in his arsenal.

“For me, the Stinger is my ultimate confidence bait,” says Thrift, who credits that bait for much of his success in 2017. “I like to throw it wacky, on a shaky head or on a Carolina rig. The nice thing is that every fish in the lake will bite it.”

Thrift uses the Stinger to target prespawn fish congregating around structure such as points, ditches and humps near spawning areas.

“When it comes to staging fish a lot of them are relating to the bottom, and that is where I’ll throw the Stinger on a Carolina rig or shaky head,” says Thrift. “Even if the fish are finicky they’ll still eat this bait, so it’s nice because you can target active and non-active bass.”

He likes natural colors such as green pumpkin purple and watermelon candy in almost any conditions.

“As you get closer to the spawn, that’s when I like to throw it wacky,” Thrift adds. “I’ll blind-cast down the middle of a pocket while I cruise down the side looking for fish on beds. I’ve caught a lot of fish I didn’t even know were there doing that.”

 

2. Spawn

When love is in the air and bass begin their annual rituals of the spawn, Thrift changes gears.

“One of the best bed-fishing baits I’ve used is a Damiki Air Craw,” says Thrift, who uses the 3-inch bait for smallmouths and spotted bass and the 4-incher for largemouths. “It has little air pockets in the claws, and there’s something about that bait that makes fish get real aggressive toward it.

“For bed-fishing, I like to rig the 4-inch model on a Texas rig with no bobber stop, a 1/2-ounce weight and a 5/0 Berkley Fusion19 EWG hook. Without the bobber stop, you can flip the bait in the bed and give it some slack, and that 4-inch Air Craw will float up off the bottom. A lot of times that drives them crazy.”

Thrift keeps several colors of the Air Craw on board for sight-fishing.

“I like a dark color, a natural color and white for my baits when sight-fishing,” he says. “You’ve just got to see which color triggers them.”

 

3. Postspawn

After the spawn is when Thrift’s preference shifts from soft plastics to more aggressive offerings.

“One of my favorite baits in the postspawn is a Damiki Rambler,” says Thrift, who likes the real shad color. “A topwater is great because postspawn fish might be in 10 inches of water or 30 feet deep. With the Rambler you can cover the whole water spectrum, and especially in clear water they’ll come up from deep water to hit that bait.”

Postspawn bass can be willing to commit to a topwater basically all day, allowing Thrift to cover the majority of the water column and a large area in search of active fish.

“The nice thing about fishing in the springtime is that the biggest majority of fish are in catchable positions, and 90 percent of the time they’ll bite if you get your bait in front of one,” Thrift adds.

Tags: kyle-wood  article 

Check-in Time: Brian Latimer 

Check-in Time: Brian Latimer 

From time to time, FLW checks in with its anglers to find out what they’ve been up to, what they’re listening to, who they’re following and where they’re heading while out on the tournament trail. This week, we caught up with Brian Latimer.  READ MORE »

Big Little Boats

Big Little Boats

There is a massive surge in innovation in the fishing kayak industry, as evidenced by a showroom floor packed with canoes, kayaks, boats – and, in many cases, a combination of all of them – at ICAST 2019. READ MORE »

4 Hot New Reels from ICAST

4 Hot New Reels from ICAST

2019 is the year of the trolling motor at ICAST, but it wouldn’t be ICAST without at least a few next generation reels from some of the best manufacturers in the business. READ MORE »

New Baits from ICAST 2019

New Baits from ICAST 2019

Here’s a primer on some of the baits that we thought stood out at the show. It’s not a comprehensive list. Rather, it’s just a taste of what will probably make a splash on the market in the coming months.  READ MORE »

Review: Strike King Thunder Cricket

Review: Strike King Thunder Cricket

Ever since Z-Man released the ChatterBait anglers haven’t really had the need to broaden their vibrating jig horizon – and not for lack of options, but simply because the ChatterBait is so good that you don’t really need anything else. With the launch of the Z-Man ChatterBait Jack Hammer a few years ago and the instant buzz surrounding it, the bar was set high for any other vibrating jigs entering the market. READ MORE »

Sign up for Polaris Sportsman Giveaway

Sign up for Polaris Sportsman Giveaway

FLW has teamed up with its partners at Polaris to give away a Polaris Sportsman® 570 EPS valued at approximately $7,799. This special giveaway offer is being shared with FLW members and fans. READ MORE »

Ouachita to host Dee Zee FLW/KBF Cup

Ouachita to host Dee Zee FLW/KBF Cup

The Dee Zee FLW/KBF Cup presented by YakAttack will feature up to 238 of the top kayak bass anglers from around the country who have qualified for the event through the FLW/KBF Kayak Open, the KBF National Championship, the KBF Trail and the KBF Pro Tour. They will be competing for a total prize package of $18,000 – a $3,000 Dee Zee gift card and $15,000 in cash. READ MORE »

Winning Baits from the 2019 FLW Tour

Winning Baits from the 2019 FLW Tour

Before we shift our focus to previewing the 2019 FLW Cup at Lake Hamilton, let’s start with a look back at the baits that were used to win the seven FLW Tour events this season. READ MORE »

First 2020 FLW Tour Invites Sent

First 2020 FLW Tour Invites Sent

Today, FLW sent out 119 invitations for the 2020 FLW Tour to the top performers from the 2019 FLW Tour. These invitations are in alignment with the 2019 FLW Tour rules that were announced last summer that transitioned the Tour to a qualification system, as well as one amendment made to accommodate changes in the pro bass fishing industry. The amendment was announced to pros at the registration meeting for the season finale on Lake Champlain last week. READ MORE »

2019 FLW Cup Roster

2019 FLW Cup Roster

With Casey Scanlon’s win at Lake Champlain in the books – not to mention the crowning of David Dudley as Angler of the Year for the fourth time and Ron Nelson as Polaris Rookie of the Year – the 2019 FLW Tour season is complete. Now, focus turns to Hot Springs, Ark., and the 2019 FLW Cup August 9-11. READ MORE »

Cortiana Recovering from Wreck

Cortiana Recovering from Wreck

Oklahoma pro Kyle Cortiana was involved in an accident near Indianapolis on his way home from the FLW Tour event at Lake Champlain on Saturday. He has since been released from of a local hospital and is now in a hotel room recovering and waiting for a ride home to the Sooner State.  READ MORE »

Dudley Wins Historic 4th AOY

Dudley Wins Historic 4th AOY

Taking to the second to last day of the 2019 FLW Tour season, David Dudley finally did it again, triumphing over John Cox to win a historic fourth FLW Tour Angler of the Year title. Winning his first AOY in 2008, and then going back-to-back in 2011 and 2012, Dudley is now the only pro with four titles to their credit, surpassing both Clark Wendlandt and Andy Morgan. READ MORE »

Melissa Browne’s First Look at Champlain

Melissa Browne’s First Look at Champlain

When Browne passed away last month after a difficult fight with cancer, there was one item on his list with regard to Champlain that remained unchecked. And it had nothing to do with actually competing there.  Glenn never got to take his wife, Melissa, to visit Champlain and spend time together in the Adirondack region. She’s remedying the situation this week by participating in the FLW Marshal program. READ MORE »

Jonathan Henry, 1982-2019

Jonathan Henry, 1982-2019

Professional angler Jonathan Henry of Grant, Ala., lost his battle with cancer today. He was 36 years old. READ MORE »

Check-in Time: Buddy Gross

Check-in Time: Buddy Gross

From time to time, FLW checks in with its anglers to find out what they’ve been up to, what they’re listening to, who they’re following and where they’re heading while out on the tournament trail. This week, we caught up with Buddy Gross.  READ MORE »

FLW Spain Championship Recap

FLW Spain Championship Recap

The 2019 FLW Spain Championship took place June 1-2 in the waters of the Garcia Sola reservoir. The event, which was the qualifying route to the Costa FLW Series Championship, was hosted by the municipality of Herrera del Duque. The team of Mario Sánchez and Juan Luis Sánchez topped the field with a total weight of 19 pounds, 9 ounces. READ MORE »

Check-in Time: David Williams 

Check-in Time: David Williams 

From time to time, FLW checks in with its anglers to find out what they’ve been up to, what they’re listening to, who they’re following and where they’re heading while out on the tournament trail. This week, we caught up with David Williams. READ MORE »

Reserve Your FLW Cup VIP Pass Now

Reserve Your FLW Cup VIP Pass Now

If you’re an FLW member, now is the time to start planning your trip to Hot Springs, Ark., for the 2019 FLW Cup Aug. 9-11. Act now to take advantage of special members-only VIP benefits by signing up for a special VIP pass. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Sam Rayburn

Top 10 Baits from Sam Rayburn

Pros caught fish everywhere from in the middle of flooded jungles of brush to deep main-lake drops. The top finishers pretty much all power fished with soft plastics, crankbaits and frogs. READ MORE »

Cox and Dudley on their AOY Chances

Cox and Dudley on their AOY Chances

Every angler starts his season with the hope of being in contention for AOY by the final tournament. Mathematically, only a handful of anglers are still in it this year, but realistically, as the FLW Tour heads to its final stop of 2019 at Lake Champlain, it’s a two-angler race. READ MORE »