Chevy pro Bryan Thrift of Shelby, N.C., brought a five-bass limit to the scales weighing 16 pounds, 15 ounces to take the lead on day two of the Walmart FLW Tour at Lake Eufaula presented by Straight Talk Wireless. Thrift’s two-day total of 10 bass weighing 37-5 gives him a 2-pound, 7-ounce lead over second-place pro Randy Haynes of Counce, Tenn., heading into day three of the four-day competition featuring the world’s best bass-fishing anglers casting for the top cash award of up to $125,000.
“I’m fishing at least 50 different spots throughout the day,” said Thrift, who has two previous top-10 finishes at Lake Eufaula in FLW competition. “I’m pulling in and making four or five casts, and then I’m moving somewhere else. All of the big fish that I have caught over the last two days have been biting on the first or second cast.
“Every stop I make, there is something down there – hard spots, standing timber, brush piles – something that is up off of the bottom a couple of feet,” Thrift continued. “If you make the right cast and they are there, they’re going to bite it.”
Thrift said that he found and marked all of these areas during his practice period.
“I spent 12 hours a day idling around for three days,” the Chevy pro said. “It was boring, it was hot and it was not very fun.”
Thrift said that his areas were mainly offshore, and varied in depths from 6 to 15 feet. He said that he only caught seven keeper fish throughout the entire day, and three of them were well under 2 pounds. Thrift also said that he was using only one bait, but was not yet ready to divulge any specifics.
“There’s really no rhyme or reason to it,” Thrift said about his areas. “I can’t tell which spots I’m going to get a bite out of. I caught a 5½-pounder today where I never had a bite yesterday. The spot where I caught two 5-pounders yesterday, I never had a bite today. It’s just totally random, and you just have to keep running and have the confidence that sooner or later you are going to pull up on the right place and make that right cast and catch a good one.”
The top 20 pros that will fish Saturday on Lake Eufaula are:
1st: Chevy pro Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., 10 bass, 37-5
2nd: Randy Haynes, Counce, Tenn., 10 bass, 34-14
3rd: Straight Talk pro J.T. Kenney, Palm Bay, Fla., 10 bass, 34-6
4th: Justin Lucas, Guntersville, Ala., eight bass, 33-9
5th: Scott Martin, Clewiston, Fla., 10 bass, 31-15
6th: Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., 10 bass, 31-13
7th: Kelley Jaye, Dadeville, Ala., 10 bass, 31-7
8th: Joe Don Setina, Pittsburg, Texas, seven bass, 31-4
9th: John Devere, Berea, Ky., eight bass, 30-7
10th: Stetson Blaylock, Benton, Ark., 10 bass, 30-5
11th: Castrol pro David Dudley, Lynchburg, Va., 10 bass, 29-13
12th: EverStart pro Randall Tharp, Gardendale, Ala., 10 bass, 29-1
13th: Ray Meredith, Smiths Grove, Ky., 10 bass, 28-13
14th: Dan Morehead, Paducah, Ky., 10 bass, 28-13
15th: Chevy pro Anthony Gagliardi, Prosperity, S.C., 10 bass, 28-13
16th: Jason Meninger, Gainesville, Ga., 10 bass, 28-8
17th: Todd Hollowell, Fishers, Ind., 10 bass, 28-6
18th: Clent Davis, Montevallo, Ala., 10 bass, 28-2
19th: Zell Rowland, Montgomery, Texas, 10 bass, 28-1
20th: David Fritts, Lexington, N.C., 10 bass, 27-15
Jason Reyes of Huffman, Texas, won Friday’s 3M ScotchBlue Big Bass Award on the pro side with a fish weighing 6 pounds, 9 ounces to win the $500 prize.
Overall there were 551 bass weighing 1,350 pounds, 12 ounces caught by pros Friday. The catch included 68 five-bass limits.
Pros are competing for a top award of up to $125,000 this week plus valuable points in the hope of qualifying for the 2013 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart, the world championship of bass fishing. The top 35 anglers in the point standings from the six events on the 2013 Walmart FLW Tour will qualify. The 2013 Forrest Wood Cup will be in Shreveport, La., Aug. 15-18 on the Red River.
Jason Johnson of Gainesville, Ga., maintained his lead in the co-angler division with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 24 pounds, 13 ounces followed by Bryan New of Belmont, N.C., in second place with 10 bass weighing 24-7.
The top 20 co-anglers fishing Saturday are:
1st: Jason Johnson, Gainesville, Ga., 10 bass, 24-13
2nd: Bryan New, Belmont, N.C., 10 bass, 24-7
3rd: Randy Clark, Pascagoula, Miss., 10 bass, 21-11
4th: Ronnie Green, Tampa, Fla., seven bass, 18-4
5th: Richard Peek, Centre, Ala., seven bass, 17-14
6th: Jeff Sprague, Point, Texas, 10 bass, 17-11
7th: Justin Jones, Apex, N.C., seven bass, 15-10
8th: John Devries, Fishers, Ind., six bass, 15-4
9th: James Mignanelli, Harmony, Pa., five bass, 15-0
10th: Tony O’Neal, Thomaston, Ga., five bass, 14-14
11th: Howard Poitevint, Bainbridge, Ga., seven bass, 14-11
12th: Mark Horton, Nicholasville, Ky., seven bass, 14-10
13th: Kenny Moser, Alba, Texas, six bass, 14-4
14th: John Kite, Festus, Mo., seven bass, 13-13
15th: Andrew Owens, Dividing Creek, N.J., six bass, 13-4
16th: Jordan Lee, Auburn, Ala., six bass, 13-1
17th: Michael Smith, Pickerington, Ohio, seven bass, 12-13
18th: Ron Shearer, Nicholasville, Ky., six bass, 12-11
19th: Keeton Blaylock, Benton, Ark., five bass, 12-8
20th: Brandon Bolton, West Point, Miss., five bass, 12-8
Jack Minnig of Levittown, Pa., caught Friday’s 3M Peltor Big Bass weighing 4 pounds, 10 ounces in the co-angler division to win $250.
Overall there were 235 bass weighing 509 pounds even caught by co-anglers Friday. The catch included seven five-bass limits.
Co-anglers are fishing for a top award of $25,000 this week plus valuable points that could help them qualify for the 2013 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart. The top 35 co-anglers in the point standings from the six events on the 2013 Walmart FLW Tour will qualify.
Anglers will take off from Lakepoint Resort State Park located at 104 Lakepoint Drive in Eufaula at 6:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Saturday and Sunday’s final weigh-ins will be held at the Walmart located at 3176 S. Eufaula Ave. in Eufaula beginning at 4 p.m.
Fans will also be treated to the FLW Outdoors Expo at Walmart on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. prior to the final weigh-ins. The Expo includes Ranger boat simulators, the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by sponsors, and fans can learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities. All activities are free and open to the public.
Coverage of the Lake Eufaula tournament will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network when “FLW” airs June 23 from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. ET. The Emmy-nominated “FLW” television show is hosted by Jason Harper and is broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world.
Image courtesy FLW Outdoors