(Feb 5, 2017 - GUNTERSVILLE, AL.)
General Tire pro Mark Rose of West Memphis, Arkansas, caught five bass Sunday weighing 18 pounds, 3 ounces to win $125,000 at the FLW Tour at Lake Guntersville presented by Lowrance. Rose’s four-day total of 20 bass weighing 79-11 gave him a 15-ounce margin of victory of second-place angler Bryan Thrift of Shelby, North Carolina.
“I knew I had found one little special area, back in Browns Creek,” said Rose, who earned his seventh career win on the Tennessee River in FLW competition. “I just had that gut feeling that it would be special. Nobody else was back there and when I went there on the first day nobody came within a mile of it. I fished other areas, some grass, but all 20 of the bass that I weighed in came out of Browns Creek.
“I figured out a bait that they were just swallowing – an old Strike King Flat Side crankbait, part of their custom shop,” Rose said. “I was using the chartreuse and brown and a shad color. I just switched to the shad today – I made one cast with it and caught my last fish, a 5-pounder. That was at 3:15 and I had to check in by 3:30.
“I fished slow, and just keyed in on rock. I didn’t even make a cast under the bridges. I knew that there were a lot of scattered big fish up and down the rip rap and I’d let everybody else fight on the pilings.”
Rose and Thrift had found themselves in a similar situation at the 2014 FLW Tour at Sam Rayburn Reservoir. In that event Rose held a 2-pound, 14-ounce lead over Thrift heading into the final day of competition, but lost when the North Carolina pro caught 17 pounds to overtake Rose and win the $125,000. Sunday at Lake Guntersville, Rose caught enough to hold off the hard-charging Thrift.
“Any time Bryan Thrift is in the top 10, it’s going to be close,” Rose said. “I felt like I slipped up the last day and lost that Rayburn event. This one, I made Thrift have to beat me. If you want to win you’re going to have to beat the best, and he’s one of them.”
The top 10 pros finished the tournament:
1st: General Tire pro Mark Rose, West Memphis, Ark., 20 bass, 79-11, $125,000
2nd: Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., 20 bass, 78-12, $30,200
3rd: Alex Davis, Albertville, Ala., 20 bass, 72-10, $25,100
4th: Scott Suggs, Alexander, Ark., 20 bass, 68-9, $20,000
5th: Yamamoto Baits pro Shinichi Fukae, Palestine, Texas, 20 bass, 68-4, $19,000
6th: Brandon Cobb, Greenwood, S.C., 20 bass, 64-10, $18,000
7th: Livingston Lures pro Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., 20 bass, 62-14, $17,000
8th: Christopher Brasher, Longview, Texas, 19 bass, 62-9, $16,000
9th: Justin Atkins, Florence, Alabama, 19 bass, 61-15, $15,000
10th: Chris McCall, Palmer, Texas, 18 bass, 55-12, $14,000
Overall there were 47 bass weighing 155 pounds, 1 ounce caught by pros Sunday. Eight of the final 10 pros weighed in five-bass limits.
Jeff Ragsdale of Gardendale, Alabama, won the co-angler division and $20,000 Friday with a two-day total of nine bass weighing 30 pounds, 6 ounces, followed by Benjie Seaborn of Guin, Alabama, who finished in second place with eight bass weighing 24 pounds, 9 ounces worth $7,500.
In FLW Tour competition, pros and co-anglers are randomly paired each day, with pros supplying the boat, controlling boat movement and competing against other pros. Co-anglers fish from the back deck against other co-anglers. The full field of 330 anglers competes Thursday and Friday. Co-angler competition concludes following Friday’s weigh-in, while the top 20 pros based on their two-day accumulated weight advance to Saturday. Only the top 10 pros continue competition Sunday, with the winner determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from the four days of competition.
Throughout the season, anglers are also vying for valuable points in hopes of qualifying for the 2017 Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of professional bass fishing. The 2017 Forrest Wood Cup will be on Lake Murray in Columbia, South Carolina, Aug. 11-13.
The FLW Tour at Lake Guntersville presented by Lowrance was hosted by the Marshall County Convention and Visitors Bureau. The next event for FLW Tour anglers will be the FLW Tour at Lake Travis presented by Quaker State, Feb. 16-19 in Jonestown, Texas.
FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money in 2017 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW conducts more than 274 bass-fishing tournaments annually across the United States and sanctions tournaments in Canada, China, Mexico, South Africa and South Korea. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW" television show, broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, while FLW Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros.