(Apr 15, 2018 - SOMERSET, Ky.)
Pro Bryan Thrift of Shelby, North Carolina, added to his ever-growing list of accolades Sunday, bringing another five-bass limit of smallmouth to the scale, this one weighing 18 pounds, 10 ounces, to win the FLW Tour at Lake Cumberland presented by General Tire and the top prize of $125,000 – his sixth career FLW Tour win. Thrift’s four-day total of 20 bass weighing 70-2 gave him the win by a 1-pound, 10-ounce margin over second place pro Allen Boyd of Salem, Indiana, the TBF “Living The Dream” package winner who weighed 20 bass for 68-8 to finish second and earn $30,000.
“I’ve had a phenomenal week,” said Thrift, the reigning Pennzoil Marine Angler of the Year who moved into a tie for third all-time for most career FLW Tour wins. “I was starting down in Indian Creek and fishing my way back to Burnside each day.”
Thrift weighed in a limit of smallmouth bass each day by fishing points, bluffs, lead-in banks and the mouth of the creek. He credited his equipment setup as being the key to his win.
“I caught all of my fish this week on two main baits – a 3-inch Damiki Armor Shad (flash shad) and a 3½-4-inch swimbait (Tennessee shad),” said Thrift. “I used the Armor Shad when it was sunny the first two days. When it got cloudy, I started throwing the bigger swimbait. The Armor Shad is a more subtle swimbait.”
Thrift threw the swimbaits on 8-pound-test P-Line Tactical Fluorocarbon line, a 7-foot, medium-heavy Fitzgerald Fishing Stunner HD rod, and an Abu Garcia Revo MGX baitcasting reel.
“I feel like the 8-pound line helped me get a lot more bites,” he said. “A lot of people don’t like using that light of line on a baitcaster, but you just have so much more control over your bait. I never lost any fish this week and the key was the combination of my rod, reel and line.”
The top 10 pros on Lake Cumberland finished:
1st: Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., 20 bass, 70-2, $125,200
2nd: Allen Boyd, Salem, Ind., 20 bass, 68-8, $30,100
3rd: Clent Davis, Montevallo, Ala., 20 bass, 67-10, $25,000
4th: Greg Bohannan, Bentonville, Ark., 20 bass, 65-9, $20,000
5th: Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., 20 bass, 65-4, $19,000
6th: Chris Johnston, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, 20 bass, 63-1, $18,000
7th: Chris McCall, Palmer, Texas, 20 bass, 62-11, $17,000
8th: James Watson, Lampe, Mo., 20 bass, 62-2, $16,000
9th: Darrel Robertson, Jay, Okla., 20 bass, 61-14, $15,000
10th: Kerry Milner, Bono, Ark., 20 bass, 60-3, $14,000
Overall there were 50 bass weighing 162 pounds, 15 ounces caught by pros Sunday. All of the final 10 pros weighed in five-bass limits.
Joel Willert of Prior Lake, Minnesota, won the Co-angler Division and $20,000 Friday with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 24 pounds, 2 ounces, followed by Robert Case III of Point, Texas, who finished in second place with 10 bass totaling 23-15, worth $7,550.
Television coverage of the FLW Tour at Lake Cumberland presented by General Tire will premiere in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) May 23 from Noon-1 p.m. EST. The Emmy-nominated "FLW" television show airs on NBCSN, the Pursuit Channel and the World Fishing Network and is broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide.
The total purse for the FLW Tour at Lake Cumberland presented by General Tire was more than $930,000. The tournament was hosted by the Somerset Tourist and Convention Commission and the Burnside Tourism Commission. The next event for FLW Tour anglers will be the FLW Tour at Lewis Smith Lake presented by T-H Marine, April 26-29 in Jasper, Alabama, hosted by the Chamber of Commerce Walker County.
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 366 anglers competed in the two-day opening round. Co-angler competition concluded following Friday’s weigh-in, while the top 30 pros based on their two-day accumulated weight advanced to Saturday. Only the top 10 pros continued 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 2018 Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of professional bass fishing. The 2018 Forrest Wood Cup will be on Lake Ouachita in Hot Springs, Arkansas, Aug. 10-12 and is hosted by the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism and Visit Hot Springs.
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 2018 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW and their partners conduct 286 bass-fishing tournaments annually around the world, including the United States, Canada, China, Italy, South Korea, Mexico, Portugal, South Africa and Spain. 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.