All FLW Tour events are exciting, but this week’s tournament has been exceptional thanks to a showdown among A-list pros who are flat out smashing fish on Lake Cumberland. We’re on the cusp of what could be one of the greatest Sunday slugfests in FLW Live history on the final day of the season’s fourth Tour stop, which is presented by General Tire.
Bryan Thrift is in the lead with 51 pounds, 8 ounces, but Andy Morgan is only 7 ounces back, Allen Boyd is a pound and 2 ounces back, and Greg Bohannan is 1-15 back. The entire top 10 is within 6 pounds of Thrift’s lead. With many in the top 10 catching 30 or more fish a day – and a lot of good ones – there’s no predicting the outcome, except to guarantee that Sunday at Cumberland will be one to remember.
Aside from the pro showdown, there’s also a very interesting species showdown going on. The main patterns are targeting staging and spawning smallmouths with swimbaits, and targeting staging and spawning largemouths with spinnerbaits. The two patterns seem to be producing at about an equal rate.
Thrift is in the smallmouth camp. He’s weighed in 15 brown bass, and brought in 18-11 today for his 52nd consecutive limit in FLW Tour competition, extending the record that he broke yesterday.
“Today was fun,” Thrift says. “The first two days were a little bit of a struggle, but I caught a lot of fish today.
“You can’t feel safe with Morgan behind you,” he adds. “Hopefully they bite again tomorrow. I caught a lot of them, so we’ll see.”
The fact that he caught so many today is the only thing that worries Thrift. He’s simply not sure if his “home area” can last for another day.
All three days he’s fished a variety of targets in his area, from the main lake to primary and secondary points to some of the lead-in banks in pockets. About the only thing he’s not fishing is the backs of the pockets where other pros are targeting largemouths.
Thrift has caught fish on a few baits, but his primary weapon is a small swimbait fished on 8- to 10-pound-test P-Line on a Fitzgerald Fishing 7-foot, medium-heavy baitcasting rod. He keeps his Ranger out off the bank, makes a long cast in and brings the bait out over the fish at an extremely slow speed.
He used that combo to really light up the FLW coverage blog this afternoon.
“I caught some this morning, and then caught them good again this afternoon. I had kind of a lull,” says Thrift, who’s not sure if his fish are spawning, setting up to spawn or somewhere else in their transition. “I have no idea what they’re really doing. You catch one on a point, one in a pocket, one out on the main lake. It kind of seems like you’ll get a little flurry.”
Though Thrift is worried that his fish might run out, he’s happy about tomorrow’s forecast, which calls for more rain (today was a soaker) and cooler weather.
“I think that’s gonna be good,” he says.
Top 10 pros
1. Bryan Thrift – Shelby, N.C. – 51-8 (15)
2. Andy Morgan – Dayton, Tenn. – 51-2 (15)
3. Allen Boyd – Salem, Ind. – 50-6 (15)
4. Greg Bohannan – Bentonville, Ark. – 49-9 (15)
5. Clent Davis – Montevallo, Ala. – 49-5 (15)
6. Kerry Milner – Bono, Ark. – 48-1 (15)
7. Darrel Robertson – Jay, Okla. – 47-2 (15)
8. Chris McCall – Palmer, Texas – 45-15 (15)
9. James Watson – Lampe, Mo. – 45-10 (15)
10. Chris Johnston – Peterborough, Ont. – 45-8 (15)