Bass pro Bryan Thrift of Shelby scored his fourth major national tournament win on Sunday, taking the FLW Tour event on Alabama’s Lake Eufala by more than three pounds.
Thrift finished the tournament with a five-fish limit that weighed 15 pounds, five ounces for a four-day total of 69-14, good for the $125,000 first-prize money.
“It feels awesome,” he said. “I knew my time was limited on Eufaula. After two years ago when I finished second doing what I was doing, everybody caught on, and I knew if we came back, it would be hard to do it again,” said Thrift, who won fishing his specialty – going fast and covering a lot of spots.
His go-to pattern was fishing as many brush piles as he could as fast as he could. He figured the law of averages would take over and he’d coax enough quality bites the more brush piles he fished. As it turned out, he was right.
“I was surprised I won,” Thrift said. “I figured someone would catch a big bag with the limited number of boats on the water and more room to roam.”
Troy Morrow was second with 66-15, closing with 12-2 after leading the previous two days. Clent Davis took third with 66-1. Wesley Strader was fourth with 63-1, and Jeff Gustafson finished fifth with 62-15.
Among North Carolina pros, David Fritts of Lexington was 15th with 38-2 over three days, winning $11,909. Tracy Adams of Wilksboro was 21st with 27-5 over two days, winning $9,922, and Shane Lehew of Mooresville finished 50th with 22-6, also winning $9,922.
With two tournaments left this season, Thrift and Adams are both in the top five in the FLW Tour’s Angler of the Year race. Thrift is second, trailing only Tennessee pro Wesley Strader by 18 points. Adams is fifth, 15 points behind Thrift.