2:30: We’re shutting down until weigh-in, it's going be an exciting one
There’s an hour left until the pros are due back to the docks and we’ve got no idea who’s winning this thing. Bryan Thrift and Mark Rose are super tight at the top, and Alex Davis is in easy striking distance of them both with a last-minute flurry. The only pro with a recent catch is Christopher Brasher, and he’s mired back in seventh with three keepers.
Sometimes the only way to tell a winner is to watch the fish get weighed – you’re gonna want to do just that at 4 p.m. CT.
Weigh-in: 4 p.m. CT Saturday and Sunday at Guntersville City Harbor
FLW Expo: 12 to 4 p.m. CT Saturday and Sunday at Guntersville City Harbor
2:10: Tied at the top!
Remember how the fish might be biting? Well, Mark Rose just culled a 2-pounder with a 4-pounder. By our count, he and Thrift are now tied atop the leaderboard. One more kicker from either pro could decide the outcome.
2:07: Morgan is culling and the fish might be biting
Andy Morgan just caught a 3-pounder for a solid cull. He’s got a typically excellent Andy Morgan limit now, but is still well behind the leaders. Nevertheless, when you stack up his recent success with that of rose and Thrift it seems like we might be about to see a little flurry here…
2:00: A kicker for Thrift
Cranking a squarebill on a dock, Bryan Thrift just caught a 5-pounder to key his limit. That culled a 2-ounder, and he’s now got about 19 pounds in the box. With that, he has re-taken the lead momentarily claimed by Rose and has a total of approximately 76 pounds, a full 2 pounds ahead of Rose.
1:57: Rose limits!
It took almost all day, but Mark Rose finally has a limit. He added a 2-pounder to his livewell a moment ago. For now, he’s back in the lead.
1:54: Rose moves back home
While Shin is catching, Rose is not. Mark Rose just ran back into Browns Creek again to his little honey hole in search of a final fish for his limit. He’s swung and missed twice since getting there, but he hasn’t converted that into a fish. Yet…
1:52: Shin gets a biggun
Shin Fukae just got us out of major afternoon rut in a big way. Still slinging a lipless, Shin popped a 5-pounder to get his limit up to about 18 pounds. We’ve estimated his total at almost 70 pounds, which puts him just a pound behind Rose and about 2 pounds behind Thrift. It’s game on!
1:43: Weather report
It’s been moderately windy today with some decent rollers on the main drag, but the wind is finally starting to die down. Check-in is at 3:30, and the fishing should be decent until then. With a dying wind, the anglers should be able to maximize their time on the water and get back pretty quickly. The way things are going, Mark Rose will need all of that to catch his fifth fish.
1:30: Is it slipping away for Rose?
Mark Rose lost to Bryan Thrift once before, back in 2014 in the FLW Tour event on Sam Rayburn. It might happen again. There are two hours left to fish and Rose’s flotilla of spectators has dwindled down to just two boats and our cameraman. The crowd is losing faith in Rose’s ability to catch his fifth and win this thing, is Rose feeling the same way?
1:18: Davis culls
Soon after catching his fifth, Alex Davis culled up by about ¼ of a pound. It’s not a big cull, but it really brings him almost exactly even with Mark Rose.
In other news, Brandon Cobb has caught his third keeper and Mark Rose has taken his jacket off (he’s still looking for No. 5).
12:50: Davis finally limits
It took more than half the day, but Alex Davis finally has a limit. He stuck it fishing offshore grass and it goes about 4 pounds (perhaps bigger). With that fish, Davis has a limit worth perhaps 17 pounds and is quite possibly tied with Mark Rose. There’s a good chance the local boy is gonna make a run at this thing.
12:19: Thrift culls
Fishing a jerkbait, Bryan Thrift just culled with a 3-pounder. He’s unofficially officially in the lead now. Meanwhile, Rose is moving again…
12:15: Rose is back on the bank
Mark Rose is changing baits every 10 or 15 casts and is working down the bank in Honeycomb. He really needs that fifth fish.
12:12: Atkins culls with a 3-pounder
Justin Atkins just put a 3.5-pounder into the boat for a good cull. Weighing only four fish on day three is g0ing to kill him, but he’s got 13 pounds in the boat now and has had a pretty decent day.
12:10: Thrift is fishing docks
Bryan Thrift just moved out to the main river and started fishing docks (and close to them). He once smoked 20 pounds off docks in June on Kentucky Lake, so for his to pop a dock kicker now wouldn’t be much of a shock. Also, Cory Johnston lost a GIANT on a dock yesterday afternoon shortly before weigh-in, so there are big ones to be had.
Also, Alex Davis has his fourth now, a solid 3.5-pounder.
Noon: Atkins and Morgan limit, Rose moves again
Both Justin Atkins and Andy Morgan limited up a short while ago. Neither of them have much, but they both have more than 10 pounds in the boat and are on the hunt for a kicker or two.
Rose has moved down into Honeycomb Creek, doing a little idling along the way, and is now throwing a big swimbait over some deeper structure.
Noon: Midday weight estimates
It’s been a grind this morning for some, but there’s a few anglers catching them really well. Going into the afternoon, the race is about as tight as can be. Below, we’ve got the current estimate for what everyone has in the livewell.
Mark Rose – 10.5 (4)
Bryan Thrift – 14.75 (5)
Scott Suggs – 16.5 (5)
Shin Fukae – 16 (6)
Alex Davis – 9.5 (3)
Justin Atkins – 12 (5)
Andy Morgan – 10 (5)
Christopher Brasher – 5 (2)
Brandon Cobb – 6.5 (2)
Chris McCall – 6 (2)
11:50: Thrift moves to South Sauty and more
Bryan Thrift made a long move into South Sauty. He’s back to fishing now and on the hunt for a kicker or two. He made a few casts to some stumps when he got there, but now he’s on the bridge with a swimbait.
Meanwhile, still at his new spot, Rose just release a big drum, but hasn’t connected with his fifth keeper yet.
Finally, we’ve caught up with Shin. He says he has about 13 or 14 pounds, but that seems light. We’ve got him at 15 or 16 pounds and in striking distance of the lead. That said, he needs to strike with a pretty big bass or two.
11:35: Rose moves to the main river
Mark Rose has moved to a rocky main-river bank just below Alred’s. It wasn’t a very long move, but it’s definitely an area that hasn’t been hammered by anglers this week. He’s got a nice bank to be working on, with a lot of big rock and some grass to go with it.
11:33: Suggs culls again
Scott Suggs dropped a 3-pounder in the livewell to cull up past 16 pounds. He’s got a very solid limit, but still really needs a couple of giants to get in the hunt for the win.
11:30: Rose is on the move
Mark Rose has struggled on his old stuff all morning. Now he’s headed to some new water to try and close this thing down. Should be interesting to see where he goes to and how it turns out.
11:20: Shin has a limit
We’ve had a bit of a communications breakdown, but we know Shin Fukae has a limit for about 13 pounds (likely at least a little more). He’s caught his fish all week on a lipless, and it’s for sure still working today. Even with a decent limit, Shin is still behind Mark Rose, Bryan Thrift and Scott Suggs.
11:00: Can Thrift do it?
Thrift needed to make up nearly a 5-pound deficit this morning in order to beat Mark Rose. Rose still doesn’t have a limit, but Thrift has made up nearly all of that deficit this morning. Bryan Thrift is no stranger to big bags or Guntersville success, so the idea that he might do very well wasn’t very far-fetched. The surprise is how poorly Mark Rose is doing. One thing to keep in mind is that Rose did a lot of his damage in the afternoon on Saturday, when it was fairly calm and sunny. We aren’t likely to get the sun this afternoon, but Rose still might be able to manufacture something as the day goes on.
Thrift in action on day two
10:50: Suggs culls, Rose moves
Scott Suggs just culled his way up by about a pound. It’s not a game-changer, but it’s a good one to have and a decent sign that his fish are still ready to go if he can get a bait to them. He’s fishing an area with a ton of floating eelgrass, and that’s really impeding his presentations.
Meanwhile, Mark Rose has moved back to the causeway he started at, still looking for his fifth keeper.
10:44: Thrift stuck a big one
Moving back into the grass with a crankbait, Bryan Thrift just popped a 4-pounder to cull up to about 15 pounds. He’s now almost tied with Mark Rose (though Rose still only has four fish). One more big bite for Thrift, and he might be able to take a lead that could withstand Rose filling his limit.
10:20: Davis is making a move
Alex Davis started his day fishing in Goose Pond, but he’s moved out to the main lake and is now fishing in 2- and 3-foot rollers looking for his fourth and fifth keepers.
Meanwhile, Bryan Thrift culled a 2-pounder out with a 3-pounder to get his weight on the day up past 12 pounds.
10:04: Will Rose close in style?
Mark Rose still has the lead, but he doesn’t have any giants and is only sitting on four keepers. Rose has said that he saved an area for today, but he hasn’t tried it yet. Though continuing along at his current pace might be enough for the win, it won’t be enough to hold off a last-minute charge from Bryan Thrift or Alex Davis. Point is, we might see Rose switch things up and go for the gusto sometime today.
9:55: Rose quotes and notes
"I've got two threes and two twos,” says Rose. “No big ones. I'm glad to have them though."
Since catching his fourth keeper, which we believe might be closer to 4 pounds than 3 pounds, Rose has moved back over to his powerline spot where he caught some many keepers on day three. He caught his fourth keeper on a swim jig and is fishing a jig now.
9:36: Morgan and Atkins are making moves
Andy Morgan and Justin Atkins are both catching pretty well today. Neither is really in the hunt without a huge bag, but they both have four decent fish in the boat now.
Thrift also has his limit now, filling it with a 2-pounder.
9:14: A good one for Rose
Mark Rose just put a quality fish in the boat for No. 4. He caught it from the same clump of cattails he picked up his third keeper from – doubling back over them turned out to be a good call. With that, his total weight is up over 70 pounds and he has about 10 or 11 pounds for four bass.
9:00: How Rose is fishing
Mark Rose had a pair of fish in the boat a minute ago and just boxed his third, a small keeper. He’s beginning to pick up the pace a little. He’s mostly fishing the bank, picking up a jig or a vibrating jig every once in a while for a rock or a lay down, but mostly cranking along with a small green crankbait.
8:55: The wind is picking up
It’s still cloudy and pretty warm, but the wind is starting to get up a little more on Guntersville. It’s not really bad, but it’s switching around a little and could be a harbinger of a different bite or different conditions.
8:46: Suggs is on ‘em again
Scott Suggs put his fourth and fifth in the boat, and he’s got the most weight of the day for sure. He’s been working a couple of offshore grass areas the whole tournament, and he’s religiously slinging a lipless crankbait. With his fifth, he’s now technically in the lead, at least by a few hairs over Mark Rose.
Elsewhere, Andy Morgan has his first fish and Justin Atkins added a decent keeper for his second.
8:40: A 3-pounder for Thrift
Bryan Thrift’s fourth fish looks to be about 3-pounds. He’s got a good limit going now, but he still likely needs to scratch up some bigger bass than he’s caught before today if he’s going to run down Mark Rose.
Alex Davis just landed a 3-pounder for his third fish. He’s probably got more than 10 pounds in the boat now and is now just a couple of pounds behind Mark Rose. He also hooked himself in the process, though he can hopefully get himself undone without too much trouble.
8:26: Back-to-back for Suggs
Scott Suggs just caught a pair of near-3-pounders on back-to-back casts. He’s got more than 10 pounds now for just three bass.
8:20: Cobb and Rose
Brandon Cobb landed his second fish of the day to add a 3-pounder to his creel. He thought it was grass until it pulled back close to the boat.
Mark Rose hasn’t caught anything new yet, but he’s being very thorough. He’s working a section of rocky bank in the back of Brown Creek and hammering it with a yellow crankbait.
8:12: No. 2 for Davis
Alex Davis landed his second on a lipless crankbait. He’s trying to pull an Andy Morgan and estimate light, but we’re going to call it a 3-pounder.
8:05: Cobb has his first, Rose has his second
Brandon Cobb made a huge move up the leaderboard on day three and his first of the day on the final day goes about 3.5-pounds.
Mark Rose just put his second in the ‘well too, catching a short and then a 2-pounder on almost back-to-back casts.
7:55: Rose’s move has paid off
Moving off the bridge worked. Just a bit after he started fishing again Mark Rose stuck a 3-pounder to get his limit going. That fish brings him back into the lead, though there’s a very long time to go until weigh-in makes things official.
7:50: Rose is on the move
Still fishless, Mark Rose is making a move to where he caught his biggest fish yesterday. It’s an area with grass and natural rock, though he’ll surely be back to some rip rap eventually. He wanted it to clear up from yesterday’s wind, and conditions are relatively calm, so it might work out well for him.
7:45: A pile of catches
For whatever reason, every fish in Guntersville seemingly wanted to bite for about five minutes. Scott Suggs cracked a 5-pounder to start, Christopher Brasher caught a 3-pounder and Alex Davis landed a 3.5-pounder. The chase is on to catch Mark Rose!
7:39: Another for Shin
Mark Rose and Alex Davis are still fishless, but Shin is getting his numbers up too. His second is a solid 2-pounder and he’s apparently having a ton of fun on the water.
7:33: Thrift and Shin
Though Mark Rose has been catching bigger ones (he’s currently cranking the 69 Bridge in Brown Creek), hardly anyone has been catching more than Thrift and Shin. Thrift just landed keepers No. 2 and 3 on back-to-back casts. As for Shin, he just got on the board with a 4-pounder.
Also, Justin Atkins has his first, a 2-pounder.
7:28: McCall strikes with a big one
The first big fish of the day belongs to Chris McCall. He’s fishing pretty far up the lake, so he would have only just started fishing, and he got started in style, boxing up a 4-pounder to get his limit going.
7:20: Thrift is the first on the board
Bryan Thrift started on a shallow flat and caught a 2-pounder almost instantly. Shin is back at his main area in Seibold winding a lipless crank, something he’s done a ton the last couple of days.
7:15: Is Rose inevitable?
Mark Rose is dangerous on the Tennessee River – his six previous FLW wins on the system prove that – but most think of him as a ledge master, not someone who has the prespawn bite on lockdown. Through day three of the FLW Tour presented by Lowrance, Rose has had just about all of Lake Guntersville on lockdown. Fishing grass, bridges and natural rock, the Arkansas native is the only pro averaging 20 pounds and has nearly a 5-pound advantage going into the final round.
Of course, 5 pounds is nothing on Guntersville, and the folks running him down are legends. The closest to him are Bryan Thrift and Alex Davis and both are uniquely suited for making up ground in a hurry. Thrift is Thrift – he’s one of the best in the world. In 2016, he dropped 34 pounds, 12 ounces on the final day of the Costa FLW Series event at Santee Cooper for a miraculous comeback win. Davis has his own unique qualifications, foremost being that he’s one of the best guides on Lake Guntersville with plenty of Tour seasoning under his belt. The affable pro says he’s “gonna lay it all out,” so it should be a good time regardless of the outcome.
Today is warm and wet, similar to the first day when pros caught them so well. It likely means the pros need to adapt a little, but these anglers are the best for a reason – a little fresh weather is nothing to worry about. With only 10 pros on the water, there should be plenty of room and plenty of bass to go around. It’s going to be an exciting day for sure.
Shin Fukae in action on day three
Top 10 Pros
1. Mark Rose – West Memphis, Ark. – 61-8 (15)
2. Bryan Thrift – Shelby, N.C. – 56-12 (15)
3. Alex Davis – Albertville, Ala. – 54-6 (15)
4. Scott Suggs – Alexander, Ark. – 51-11 (15)
5. Shinichi Fukae – Palestine, Texas – 51-5 (15)
6. Christopher Brasher – Longview, Texas – 51-4 (15)
7. Andy Morgan – Dayton, Tenn. – 49-7 (15)
8. Brandon Cobb – Greenwood, S.C. – 48-10 (15)
9. Justin Atkins – Florence, Ala. – 48-10 (14)
10. Chris McCall – Palmer, Texas – 47-0 (15)
Temperature at takeoff: 42 degrees
Forecast high: 55 degrees
Sky: overcast, clearing as the day goes on
Precipitation: 40 percent chance of rain
Wind: SW at 6 mph
Takeoff: 7 a.m. CT at Guntersville City Harbor, 201 Blount Avenue, Guntersville, Ala.
Weigh-in: 4 p.m. CT Saturday and Sunday at Guntersville City Harbor
FLW Expo: 12 to 4 p.m. CT Saturday and Sunday at Guntersville City Harbor