ROGERS, Ark. – After winning the Walmart FLW Tour event at Sam Rayburn Reservoir just two weeks ago, Chevy pro Bryan Thrift picked up right where he left off and brought a five-bass limit to the scale weighing 16 pounds, 2 ounces to grab the lead after day one of the Walmart FLW Tour at Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac.
The Shelby, N.C., native now holds a slim 13-ounce lead over pro Spencer Shuffield of Bismarck, Ark., heading into day two of the four-day event, hosted by Visit Rogers, that features 173 of the world’s best bass-fishing anglers competing for a top cash award of up to $125,000.
“After the win at Rayburn, it gave me the confidence to really slow down and fish the places where I feel that fish should be,” said Thrift, who previously won an FLW Tour event held at Beaver Lake in 2011. “I think confidence definitely plays a key role in tournament finishes. I didn’t have a very good practice here, so today I just went fishing with an open mind. It takes some of the stress off of me and I can get out there and have some fun.”
Thrift brought a mixed bag of bass to the scale consisting of one largemouth bass, one spotted bass and three smallmouth bass. He said his key bait was a 1/8-ounce shaky-head rigged with a 6½-inch Damiki Finesse Miki
“My morning started out pretty decent,” Thrift said. “I had a 7-pound limit by 9 a.m. Then I started running around and caught a few big ones. It was pretty spread out throughout the day. I probably fished 40 or 50 places today and caught around 12 or 13 keepers. I’m running up and down the lake burning 25 to 30 gallons of fuel a day.
“I’m not on any kind of pattern or area,” Thrift went on to say. “I like to have a place where I know that I can pull up and catch a couple. Unfortunately, I don’t have that here. Tomorrow I’ve just got to go fishing and let the cards fall where they fall.”
The top 10 pros after day one on Beaver Lake are:
1st: Chevy pro Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., five bass, 16-2
2nd: Spencer Shuffield, Bismarck, Ark., five bass, 15-5
3rd: Steve Kennedy, Auburn, Ala., five bass, 14-15
4th: Eric Olliverson, Lampe, Mo., five bass, 14-12
5th: Casey Ashley, Donalds, S.C., five bass, 14-10
5th: Adrian Avena, Vineland, N.J., five bass, 14-10
7th: Gary Yamamoto, Palestine, Texas, five bass, 14-9
8th: Jason Christie, Park Hill, Okla., five bass, 14-7
8th: Jonathan Newton, Rogersville, Ala., five bass, 14-7
10th: John Voyles, Petersburg, Ind., five bass, 14-4
For a full list of results visit FLWOutdoors.com.
Scott Wiley of Bay Minette, Ala., won the Big Bass Award on the pro side Thursday with a fish weighing 6 pounds, 15 ounces to win $500.
Overall there were 743 bass weighing 1,467 pounds, 15 ounces caught by 171 pros Thursday. The catch included 115 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 2014 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 2014 Walmart FLW Tour will qualify. The 2014 Forrest Wood Cup will be in Columbia, S.C., Aug. 14-17 on Lake Murray and is hosted by Capital City Lake Murray Country. Anglers could win as much as $500,000 – professional bass-fishing’s richest prize.
Shane Melton of Kokomo, Ind., leads the co-angler division with four bass weighing 12 pounds, 5 ounces followed by Braxton Setzer of Auburn, Ala., in second place with five bass weighing 12-2.
The top 10 co-anglers are:
1st: Shane Melton, Kokomo, Ind., four bass, 12-5
1st: Braxton Setzer, Auburn, Ala., five bass, 12-2
3rd: Tee Watkins, East Point, Ky., five bass, 11-2
4th: Dave Hasty, Toledo, Ohio, five bass, 10-15
5th: Jeff Gengler, Fort Collins, Colo., five bass, 9-11
6th: Theron Asbery, Grove, Okla., three bass, 9-4
7th: Marc Marsh, Prosperity, S.C., two bass, 9-2
8th: Patrick Stines, Granger, Ind., five bass, 8-11
9th: J.R. Wright, Truckee, Calif., five bass, 8-8
10th: Frank Divis Sr., Fayetteville, Ark., four bass, 8-7
10th: Todd Lee, Jasper, Ala., five bass, 8-7
For a full list of results visit FLWOutdoors.com.
Asbery caught Thursday’s Big Bass in the co-angler division weighing 6-5 to win $250.
Overall there were 313 bass weighing 548 pounds, 3 ounces caught by co-anglers Thursday. The catch included 17 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 2014 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart. The top 35 co-anglers in the point standings from the six events on the 2014 Walmart FLW Tour will qualify.
Anglers will take off from Prairie Creek Park located at 9300 N. Park Road in Rogers at 7 a.m. each morning. Thursday and Friday’s weigh-ins will be held at Prairie Creek Park beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday’s final weigh-ins will be held at the John Q. Hammons Center located at 3303 Pinnacle Hills Parkway in Rogers beginning at 4 p.m.
Fans will also be treated to the FLW 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. The first 150 children 14 and under who are accompanied by an adult will receive a voucher to redeem for a free rod and reel combo courtesy of KNWA each day after the final weigh-in. On Sunday, country music superstar Rodney Atkins will perform a free live concert on the Walmart weigh-in stage at 3 p.m. All activities are free and open to the public.
Coverage of the Beaver Lake tournament will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network when “FLW” airs June 14 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.
For complete details and updated information visit FLWOutdoors.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWFishing.