FLIPPIN, Ark. (April 18, 2018) - Ranger Boats Pro Bryan Thrift brought in a total of 70 pounds, 2 ounces, to win the FLW Tour event at Lake Cumberland, April 12. The victory puts the angler in the lead for the FLW Tour Angler of the Year race. Thrift won the $100,000 first-place prize along with an additional $25,000 in Ranger Cup winnings.
This recent win marks Thrift's sixth FLW Tour win and his first since 2015. Thrift remains one of the most consistent anglers on the FLW Tour and came into the year as the reigning FLW Angler of the Year.
"I've been close several times recently," said Thrift. "I finished second twice last year and anytime you make the top 10, you want to win. You kind of forget about anything but trying to win."
Thrift's consistency and steadfast dedication to his craft shined again on Cumberland with three of his four limits weighing in at more than 17 pounds. His first day's bag weighed 15 pounds, 9 ounces, and followed up on day two with 17 pounds, 4 ounces, leaving him close enough to take a run at the leader.
Days one and two brought sunny, warm and windy conditions. Although the last two days were forecasted for cloud cover, rain and continued winds, Thrift stayed the course of throwing a 3-inch Damiki Armor Shad swimbait or a 4-inch Tennessee shad-colored shad swimbait.
"It never crossed my mind to change up what I was doing," said Thrift. "I knew with the weather coming and it being cloudy and overcast, the smallmouth should theoretically bite better. I stuck with that and it worked out."
Throughout the four-day event, Thrift concentrated on the lower portion of the lake in the Indian Creek vicinity. Each fish he weighed was a smallmouth.
"I had caught some largemouth but I think it was the area I was in," said Thrift. "The smallmouth were more willing to bite and a little bigger than the largemouth where I was fishing."
After weighing 18 pounds, 11 ounces on day three, Thrift worried he had fished out his sweet spot.
"I was concerned starting out on the last day because I wasn't sure if it would keep producing for four days," said Thrift. "I fished for about 30 minutes and didn't get a bite. I trolled on into a pocket and picked up a spinnerbait and caught a 14-pound limit pretty quickly. That calmed me down to get back on the swimbait. I knew if I could get 8-10 bites on a swimbait, a couple of them would be good ones."
The switch back to the swimbait paid dividends with Thrift culling each fish originally caught on the spinnerbait. At the end of the final day, Thrift brought in 18 pounds, 10 ounces to top the leaderboard.
While he caught many of his fish in Indian Creek, the angler ran approximately 140 miles on the final day. Between the run-and-gun pattern and windy conditions, Thrift credits his Ranger boat as a critical piece in his overall competitive strategy.
"We had a lot of wind and it blew every day," said Thrift. "When you talk about getting into wind, my Ranger doesn't blow around. A lot of other boats are so light they blow around the water like a leaf. That Ranger is kind of like a battle ship. It'll sit there and take it. You're more worried about fishing than boat control. That's the thing I love most about my Ranger boat. It's the best fishing boat on the market."
About Ranger Boats
Headquartered in Flippin, Ark., Ranger Boats is the nation's premier manufacturer of legendary fiberglass and aluminum fishing boats, with acclaimed models and series in the bass, multi-species, fish 'n play, saltwater, waterfowl utility and pontoon boat segments. Founded in 1968 by Forrest L. Wood, Ranger Boats continues its commitment to building the highest-quality, strongest-performing boats on the water. For more information, go to RangerBoats.com.