Damiki pro Bryan Thrift of Shelby, N.C., wrapped up his season-long quest for the FLW Tour’s Angler of the Year title at the FLW Tour event presented by Ranger on Lake Guntersville. Thrift’s 2010 title comes after two back-to-back fifth-place finishes in the points race.
“A lot of things went my way,” Thrift said. “I didn’t lose any fish all year. I pretty much caught everything that bit. I didn’t break my line any. Everything just came together.
“It feels great to finally win it, especially since this is just my fourth year (on the Tour),” Thrift added. “Hopefully I’ll get a couple more shots at it before I have to quit.”
Thrift finished the season with 775 points, 21 points ahead of runner-up National Guard pro Brent Ehrler of Redlands, Calif. Rounding out the top five were Ishama Monroe of Hughson, Calif., (741), Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tenn., (721) and Rusty Salewske of Alpine, Calif. (712).
Thrift’s assault on the title began in March at the Table Rock Lake event in Branson, Mo. Thrift managed only one fish on the final day of competition but managed to hold on for a fourth-place finish, good for $20,000. Thrift cleared his mind and dedicated himself to dominating the field at the Lake Norman event three weeks later in Charlotte, N.C. Thrift hauled in 58 pounds, 5 ounces, — almost nine pounds more than his closet competitor — and earned $125,000 for the win.
Next up for Thrift was April’s Fort Loudoun-Tellico lakes event in Knoxville, Tenn. Thrift targeted spawning smallmouths on Tellico Lake and finished third and cashed a $27,864 paycheck. Thrift’s “weakest” performance of the year came in May at Lake Ouachita. Thrift failed to make the top-5 cut when he finished 21st. Thrift earned $10,326 for his effort.
Friday at Lake Guntersville Thrift failed to make the top-5 cut but ended the event in ninth place with 15 bass for 61 pounds, 6 ounces.
To date in 2010, Thrift has earned $183,190, making 2010 the most profitable year of his career. Thrift earned $85,000 during the 2009 Tour season and placed in the top 30 in four of the six events. Thrift also finished ninth at the Forrest Wood Cup on the Three Rivers in Pittsburgh, Penn. In 2008, Thrift finished in the top 50 in five of six events — including one top-10 finish — and finished the season with a 15th-place effort at the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Murray in Columbia, S.C.
Also on Friday, Hector Delagarza of Sunnyvale, Texas, earned the FLW Tour Co-angler of the Year title. Delagarza is a four-year veteran of the FLW Tour and qualified for the Forrest Wood Cup in 2008.
Coverage of Thrift’s Angler of the Year crowning will be aired with the Lake Guntersville tournament when it is broadcast in high-definition (HD) on VERSUS. “FLW Outdoors,” will air Oct. 3 from 12:30 to 1:30 ET. “FLW Outdoors,” hosted by Jason Harper, is broadcast to approximately 500 million households worldwide.
PREVIOUS ANGLERS OF THE YEAR
Angler Year Win Highest Finish Fishery
Clark Wendlandt 2009 – 3rd Beaver Lake
David Dudley 2008 1 1st Fort Loudoun-Tellico lakes
Jay Yelas 2007 – 2nd (twice) Lake Norman, Beaver Lake
Anthony Gagliardi 2006 1 1st Lake Murray
Greg Hackney 2005 – 4th (twice) Wheeler Lake, Potomac River
Shinichi Fukae 2004 – 4th Lake Okeechobee
Dan Morehead 2003 1 1st Beaver Lake
Jay Yelas 2002 – 3rd Lake Okeechobee
Kevin VanDam 2001 – 2nd (twice) Lake Okeechobee, Red River
Clark Wendlandt 2000 1 1st Lake Murray
David Walker 1999 – 7th (twice) Lake Murray, Lake St. Clair
Denny Brauer 1998 – 5th Kentucky Lake
Clark Wendlandt 1997 – 6th Kerr Lake
Peter Thliveros 1996 – 5th (twice) Lake Okeechobee, Lake Seminole
ABOUT FLW OUTDOORS FLW Outdoors, named after Forrest L. Wood, the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world offering anglers worldwide the opportunity to compete for millions over the course of 189 tournaments in 2010. FLW Outdoors has also taken fishing mainstream with FLW Fantasy Fishing awarding the largest prizes in the history of fantasy sports. FLW Outdoors memberships are available featuring numerous benefits including Player’s Advantage. For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000. For more information about FLW Fantasy Fishing, visit FantasyFishing.com.