Ranger pros sweep top-5 on leaderboard
FLIPPIN, Ark. (August 13, 2019) – Ranger Boats pro angler Bryan Thrift won the 2019 FLW Cup on Lake Hamilton with a three-day weight of 38 pounds, 7 ounces. Thrift led wire-to-wire and took the win on the final day as the only angler to bring in a two-digit bag. For his efforts, Thrift won the $300,000 first-place prize. In addition, the top-5 leaderboard spots were all taken by Ranger Pros: Kyle Walters (second), Dakota Ebare (third), Jeremy Lawyer (fourth) and Scott Martin (fifth.).
Thrift, at the young age of 40, has accomplished more than just about any other pro angler on the FLW Tour, including seven tour-level wins and two FLW Tour Angler of the Year titles. Thrift has had his eyes set on winning the FLW Cup and has been very close in years past.
“I am not going to say this feels complete,” said Thrift. “I’ve been so close to winning before but it never happened. I didn’t feel like I had a true chance to win. After the first day at this tournament, I felt like maybe I really had a chance to win.”
Fishing Lake Hamilton in August can be a tough endeavor, especially a multi-day tournament. Bites are tough to find and bass can be finicky for just about any presentation or bait.
“I started throwing top-water baits on the first day and caught a limit pretty quickly,” said Thrift. “That gave me the confidence to slow down and really pick those brush piles apart and make those bigger fish bite.”
The next two days, Thrift targeted brush piles and schooling fish with a variety of baits. His selection ranged from top-water, a variety of crankbaits, Texas rigs, drop-shot rigs, buzzbait, frog, Damika Rig Underspin and a swimbait.
“That’s one thing I love about fishing in August,” said Thrift. “It’s junk fishing, actually precision junk fishing. You can catch them on 10 or 12 different baits but each bait has a different purpose. In August, there isn’t a pattern that really outshines the others. You have to be able to do it all.”
The angler weighed 12 pounds, 7 ounces, on day two and headed into the final day with confidence and a pound and half lead over Kyle Walters.
“On the third day I caught a quick limit out of a school,” said Thrift. “I didn’t know it at the time, but that gave me enough for the win right there. In my mind, I’m scrambling, fishing as hard as I can. I ended up going back to one area with a couple of brush piles. That’s where I caught my three biggest fish.”
The field struggled to boat quality fish on the final day while Thrift brought in a five-fish limit weighing 10 pounds, 13 ounces, to take the win. Versatility proved key for Thrift as he plowed through his rods and reels strapped to the deck of his Ranger. Thrift cites his boat as another key to his continued success and most recent victory.
“I’ve been in a Ranger since 2006 and for my whole professional career,” said Thrift. “I know that boat has been built with quality. I know everything is going to run like it is supposed to run. It’s important how well it fishes and rides. It also has a huge front deck and everyone knows I run about 20 rods on my deck. I’ve got a bigger office space than any other 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.