THRIFT GOES WIRE-TO-WIRE, WINS COSTA FLW SERIES TOURNAMENT ON LAKE CHAMPLAIN
North Carolina pro Earns 11th Career FLW Victory – Third as Pro in FLW Series – and $89,200
PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (July 20, 2019) – FLW Tour pro Bryan Thrift of Shelby, North Carolina, caught a five-bass limit Saturday weighing 18 pounds, 4 ounces, to lead the event from start to finish and win the three-day Costa FLW Series on Lake Champlain presented by Polaris.
The tournament was the first event of the season for anglers competing in the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits. Thrift’s three-day total of 15 bass weighing 57 pounds even was enough to earn him the victory by an 8-ounce margin over second-place angler Edward Levin of Westerville, Ohio, and earn him $89,200.
“I can’t really say this win is any more special than the others – they’re all pretty great – but this event was awesome because it was the first time that I was truly in contention up north,” said Thrift, a 13-time FLW Cup qualifier and considered by many to be the best angler in the world. “I’ve had a couple of chances to win this year and it’s seemed to slip through my fingers, so it’s a really good feeling to get one back.”
Thrift estimated he caught around 60 keepers throughout the three-day event, mainly throwing 4- and 5-inch Damiki Stingers.
“I think I might have weighed in one on a topwater, but the rest came on the Stinger,” Thrift said. “My key colors were watermelon candy and green pumpkin, and I threw it Texas-rigged, wacky-rigged and Neko-rigged with a 1/8-ounce Damiki Neko sinker.
“I was kind of scared, because the first day I caught around 50 bass – 30 to 35 keepers – and I thought I may have caught too many and burned them up,” Thrift continued. “It was calm today, though, so I was able to hit some new stuff today and basically run everything that I had. If it was windy, there is no way I would have won.”
Thrift said that the key to winning the tournament came to him when he realized that he had to comb through the smaller fish.
“I realized pretty early on in the event that I could weed through a bunch of little ones and eventually I’d catch a big one,” Thrift said. “They were not at all grouped up by size. Normally if I caught a bunch of small fish, I’d leave the spot and look for the big fish areas. This week, the big fish were mixed in with the small fish and you just had to keep combing through them to find the big ones.”
The top 10 pros on Lake Champlain finished:
1st: Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., 15 bass, 57-0, $89,200
2nd: Edward Levin, Westerville, Ohio, 15 bass, 56-9, $17,300
3rd: Scott Dobson, Clarkston, Mich., 15 bass, 53-7, $12,850
4th: Brandt Tumberg, Moore, S.C., 15 bass, 52-9, $10,750
5th: Kurt Mitchell, Milford, Del., 15 bass, 52-5, $9,750
6th: Jason Bacon, Nutting Lake, Mass., 15 bass, 52-4, $8,375
7th: Wayne Vaughan, Chester, Va., 15 bass, 51-2, $7,300
8th: Joseph Wood, Westport, Mass., 15 bass, 49-4, $6,600
9th: Casey Smith, Macedon, N.Y., 15 bass, 49-1, $5,300
10th: Ron Nelson, Berrien Springs, Mich., 15 bass, 48-8, $4,200
A complete list of results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Wood weighed a 5-pound, 10-ounce largemouth bass Thursday – the heaviest of the tournament in the Pro Division – and earned the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $300.
Henry McKee of Haddon Heights, New Jersey, won the Co-angler Division with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 47 pounds, 8 ounces. For his win, McKee took home the top prize package of a new Ranger Z175 boat with a 115-horsepower outboard motor.
The top 10 co-anglers on Lake Champlain finished:
1st: Henry McKee, Haddon Heights, N.J., 15 bass, 47-8, $28,050
2nd: Gary Haraguchi, Antioch, Calif., 15 bass, 46-10, $5,575
3rd: Robert Fulton, Ray, Ohio, 15 bass, 44-2, $4,300
4th: Mark Howard, Mesquite, Texas, 14 bass, 44-1, $3,650
5th: Louis Martinez, Annapolis, Md., 14 bass, 40-11, $3,150
6th: Chad Bushnaq, Buffalo, N.Y., 15 bass, 40-3, $2,650
7th: Michael McNicholas, Allentown, Pa., 14 bass, 39-2, $2,250
8th: Kyle Sabourin, Milton, Vt., 14 bass, 37-0, $1,825
9th: Chad Brousseau, Colchester, Vt., 12 bass, 33-4, $1,530
10th: Pete Dirado, Holland, N.Y., 11 bass, 31-7, $1,290
McKee also caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the Co-angler Division Friday, a fish weighing 5 pounds, 6 ounces. He earned the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $200.
The Costa FLW Series on Lake Champlain presented by Polaris was hosted by the City of Plattsburgh and the Adirondack Coast Visitors Bureau. It was the first of three tournaments in the 2019 regular season for Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits anglers. The next tournament for FLW Series anglers will also be in the Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits, the Costa FLW Series at the Potomac River presented by Lowrance, held Aug. 22-24 in Marbury, Maryland. For a complete schedule, visit FLWFishing.com.
The Costa FLW Series consists of five U.S. divisions – Central, Northern, Southeastern, Southwestern and Western – along with the International division. Each U.S. division consists of three regular-season tournaments with competitors vying for valuable points that could earn them the opportunity to compete in the season-ending Costa FLW Series Championship. The 2019 Costa FLW Series Championship is being held Oct. 31 – Nov. 2 on Lake Cumberland in Burnside, Kentucky.
For complete details and updated information visit FLWFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Costa FLW Series on FLW’s social media outlets at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.