Bryan Thrift finished 7th place in the Angler of the Year standing for the 2012 FLW Tour season, with such a great finish, this gives him a birth into the 2012 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Lanier. I had the opportunity to speak with Bryan about the upcoming event and ask him a few things about his season and what was going to happen at the Lake Lanier FLW Cup.
First up, I was curious about his thoughts on a great season. What was the key factor in such a great finish overall? 7th place, fishing against some of the best anglers in the world is quite an accomplishment. Bryan said it would be very hard to say that any one thing was key. He continued though, “If I had to pick one thing that has helped me perform in tournaments this year, I’d have to say fishing hard and fishing long. I’ve prefished daylight to dark each day I was on the water. My goals in prefishing have obviously been to find bass, but to develop three or four solid patterns, making sure if one fell apart I had a backup plan.” Bryan concluded this discussion by saying that his equipment has also been a huge part of his success. “My Evinrude ETEC has been flawless. Knowing that I can fish until the last second is a huge benefit. When I sit in the driver’s seat and start the motor, it starts every time. This give me a tremendous peace of mind that allows me to stay focused on catching bass. The mileage and reliability have been a big part of my making the Championship.”
Okay, let’s get to the meat, how are the professional anglers going to catch huge stringers of bass during the 2012 Forrest Wood Cup? Well, Bryan was unsettled on this. While excited to be participating in the FLW Cup, he was not very excited about his prefishing.
According to Bryan, the quality bites are few and far between. “We’re catching a bunch of bass, but the tournament winning quality is harder to come by.” Even with this, Bryan is still excited about the tournament saying “Practice doesn’t matter; once the tournament starts, you never know what’s going to happen. If you’re prepared, you can get five quality bites in five casts.”
We talked some about what the productive patterns on Lake Lanier will be. Bryan said, “Drop shots, top water, and a Fish Head Spin will probably be in everyone’s game plan. From there, bass are being caught on a variety of baits.” On that note, I followed up with Bryan about his prefishing game plan, “I’m trying to find as many brush piles as I can.” He went on to say that the lake is going to ‘fish’ small this year as compared to 2010 when the FLW Cup was also on Lake Lanier. “The lake is down about 8 feet, and a lot of the brushpiles that we fished then are now too shallow to hold quality bass. There just aren’t as many good brush piles out in what is now 25 feet of water.”
In 2010, Lake Lanier, was a tough a tough code for anglers to crack. Weights of nine to twelve pounds a day were enough to make the cut and not much more to win. Bryan relayed that the weights may be better this year. “There will be a lot of spotted bass weighed in, and a few largemouth making the difference in total weights. However, to catch a limit of quality largemouth will be difficult.” According to Bryan many anglers are going to start the day with top water, but not in the conventional ways we normally think of fishing topwater. He went on to say that he’s caught fish over 30 feet of water with top water baits, especially in the very clear waters down by the dam.
Bryan told me that anglers will be able to catch bass on any structure they are comfortable fishing. Bass are on points, ledges, drop offs, and brush piles. The key is finding bass that are relating to these structures with bait fish in the same area. Bryan admitted that his days will probably start with some shallow top water and working the bait over deeper water as the mornings wear on; until he feels the drop shot and brush piles will produce better fish.
I asked Bryan the Championship Question; do you swing for the fences or take it slow and easy and grind the day out. “Well it’s the FLW Cup, you can’t go into it thinking, let’s catch a 6 pound limit real quick and then go looking for kicker fish. While I swing for the fences, it’s still fishing, and you have to take your time and pay attention to the quality bites so you can adapt while on the water.”
In 2010 Bryan Thrift finished in 10th place during the FLW Cup on Lake Lanier. He is no stranger to what it takes to win on this body of water. To use his words, “a well prepared angler only needs five casts.” He’s got a game plan and more time to prepare. Bryan is on my fantasy team! Good Luck Bryan.
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