North Carolina native Bryan Thrift won the Walmart FLW Invitational on Lake Norman this past weekend, narrowly beating fellow North Carolinian Scott Beattie by less than half a pound. In all, 9 anglers from the Carolinas placed in the top 20 of the event.

FLW Press Release:

Bryan Thrift of Shelby, North Carolina, brought a five-bass limit to the scale weighing 11 pounds, 11 ounces, Saturday to win the Walmart FLW Tour Invitational at Lake Norman presented by Lowrance. Thrift’s three-day total of 15 bass weighing 34 pounds, 12 ounces earned him the win by a slim 6-ounce margin over second place angler Scott Beattie of Lincolnton, North Carolina, in the first FLW Tour Invitational event of 2016. For his win Thrift earned $71,000 and became the second angler – joining 2016 Forrest Wood Cup champion John Cox – to punch his ticket to the 2017 Forrest Wood Cup.

“This is the lake I learned how to fish on,” said Thrift, who also won an FLW Tour event on Lake Norman in 2010. “I’m able to run to specific areas where I know fish are supposed to be. If I don’t get a bite, I can go somewhere else. This week I ran through what I normally run on this lake.

“Most of my fish came from docks and rocks – a lot of bank-related areas,” Thrift continued. “My biggest catches came from the docks. I fished the entire lake all three days and I burned around 35 gallons of gas each day.”

Thrift said he used 10 different baits throughout the week, citing a 4-inch Pearl Blue-colored Damiki Anchovy Shad, a handtied jig and a white buzzbait as his key lures.

“A River2Sea Whopper Plopper and a crankbait also came in handy,” said Thrift. “I had 15 rods on the deck and used every one of them. That’s what makes fishing on Lake Norman so fun. I can go from throwing a buzzbait on a rocky bank to skipping a jig under a dock to throwing a swimbait out deep. It was an awesome week.”

The top 20 pros finished the tournament: 

1st              Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., 15 bass, 34-12, $61,000 + $10,000 Ranger Cup Bonus

 2nd:         Scott Beattie, Lincolnton, N.C., 15 bass, 34-6, $18,340

 3rd:          Wesley Strader, Spring City, Tenn., 15 bass, 33-9, $15,200

 4th:          Todd Hollowell, Fishers, Ind., 15 bass, 33-9, $12,160

 5th:          Michael Neal, Dayton, Tenn., 15 bass, 32-14, $9,120

 6th:          William Shelton, La Crosse, Va., 15 bass, 32-12, $7,904

 7th:          Quaker State pro Scott Canterbury, Springville, Ala., 15 bass, 31-14, $7,600

 8th:          Tracy Adams, Wilkesboro, N.C., 15 bass, 31-7, $7,296

 9th:          Michael Stephens , Gastonia, N.C., 15 bass, 31-4, $6,992

10th:        John Cox, DeBary, Fla., 15 bass, 31-3, $6,688

11th:        Walmart pro David Dudley, Lynchburg, Va., 15 bass, 30-15, $6,080

12th:        Jason Meninger, Gainesville, Ga., 15 bass, 30-9, $6,080

13th:        Quaker State pro Matt Arey, Shelby, N.C., 15 bass, 30-9, $6,080

14th:        George Hirapetian, Charlotte, N.C., 14 bass, 29-10, $6,080

15th:        Joseph Webster, Fulton, Miss., 15 bass, 29-8, $6,080

16th:        T-H Marine pro Luke Dunkin, Lawrenceburg, Tenn., 15 bass, 29-5, $6,080

17th:        Rodney Morrow, Hickory, N.C., 15 bass, 29-4, $6,080

18th:        Shane LeHew, Mooresville, N.C., 15 bass, 29-1, $6,080

19th:        Chris Gosselaar, Fresno, Calif., 15 bass, 28-0, $6,080

20th:        Ronald Farrow, Rock Hill, S.C., 12 bass, 25-15, $6,080