Pro Bryan Thrift of Shelby, North Carolina, crossed the stage with a five-bass limit weighing 12 pounds, 7 ounces, for a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 27-10, to lead Day Two of the FLW Cup on Lake Hamilton. Thrift now holds a 1-pound, 8-ounce lead over pro Kyle Walters of Grant Valkaria, Florida, who weighed five bass weighing 12-5 - for a two-day total of 10 bass for 26-2 - in the championship tournament featuring 52 of the world's best professional bass anglers competing for a top prize of $300,000.
"Today was a long, trying day, but that's the way I like it," said Thrift, who has now made the top-10 cut in 10 of his 13 career FLW Cup appearances. "We like when it's tough fishing at the Cup. I only had two fish at 12:30. I ended up getting six keeper bites, though - two good ones and three decent ones - but I have no idea what's going to happen tomorrow.
"I ran a lot of the same stuff and a lot of new stuff today, and I caught my fish on most of the same baits as I did yesterday. But I didn't catch any topwater fish today," Thrift continued. "All of my fish came on a big worm and stuff like that in brush. I tried, but I just couldn't get the topwater bite going. I'm going to try that again in the morning and see if I can get lucky. In my mind, that's what I have to have to win."
Thrift's accomplishments and accolades in the sport of professional bass-fishing has long put him in discussion amongst fans and his peers as being one of, if not the, best of all-time. He has six career FLW Tour wins, 42 top-10 finishes and more than $2.7 million dollars in career earnings. One trophy that has eluded him thus far in his career, though, is the FLW Cup. Thrift is optimistic that he can slam the door Sunday.
"If I can catch a couple early, that would really calm me down and settle me in and give me the confidence to slow down and fish each place thoroughly," Thrift went on to say. "I'm not going to die on any one pattern. I'm going to run around and fish and try to make the best of it, and hopefully I can stumble into a few."
The top 10 pros that advanced to the final day of competition on Lake Hamilton are:
1st: Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., 10 bass, 27-10
2nd: Kyle Walters, Grant Valkaria, Fla., 10 bass, 26-2
3rd: Dakota Ebare, Denham Springs, La., 10 bass, 24-7
4th: Bass Pro Shops pro Jeremy Lawyer, Sarcoxie, Mo., 10 bass, 24-6
5th: Scott Martin, Clewiston, Fla., 10 bass, 22-10
6th: Lowrance pro Austin Felix, Eden Prairie, Minn., 10 bass, 22-9
7th: Jordan Osborne, Longview, Texas, 10 bass, 22-6
8th: Ryan Salzman, Huntsville, Ala., 10 bass, 21-14
9th: Joseph Webster, Winfield, Ala., 10 bass, 21-1
10th: Josh Douglas, Isle, Minn., 10 bass, 21-0
Full results for the entire field can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Overall there were 240 bass weighing 427 pounds, 12 ounces caught by 51 pros Saturday. The catch included 42 five-bass limits.
The final 10 anglers will take off from the Andrew Hulsey Fish Hatchery, located at 350 Fish Hatchery Road in Hot Springs, at 6:30 a.m. CDT Sunday.