Thrift Leads on Day One of REDCREST 2021 Presented by Old Wisconsin Sausage on Lake Eufaula
Feb 22nd, 2021 by Keith Worrall
Modified Feb 22nd, 2021 at 8:39 PM
North Carolina Pro Catches 13 Bass Weighing 45 Pounds Even, Full Field of 40 Anglers to Compete Again Tuesday
EUFAULA, Ala. (Feb. 22, 2021) – A field of the top 40 pros from the Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour converged on Lake Eufaula in Eufaula, Alabama, this morning for the start of REDCREST 2021, the Bass Pro Tour championship. The five-day competition, which awards a top cash prize of $300,000 to the winner, is being live-streamed online and filmed for television broadcast on CBS, the Discovery Channel and the Outdoor Channel.
Pro Bryan Thrift of Shelby, North Carolina, weighed in 13 bass totaling 45 pounds even, to take the early lead after Day One of the Qualifying Round. Thrift holds a 13-pound, 14-ounce, lead over Ott DeFoe of Blaine, Tennessee, who caught nine bass weighing 31-2, good for second place.
“Today went about as good as I could have imagined,” said Thrift in the post-game General Tire Take Out show. “It started out kind of slow – it took me an hour, an hour and a half to kind of figure out where the fish were setting. Once I found them, I ended up catching five or six on a jerkbait and a Damiki swimbait. When they quit, I went running around and caught a couple on a shaky-head and hit another spot and ended up catching a 7 (pounder) and a 5 (pounder). I couldn’t have asked for a better day.
“I’ve got about 50 rods on my deck, and I think I caught a bass on most of them today,” Thrift joked. “I caught fish on a lot of different baits. My big one came on a 4-inch swimbait with light line – when I first hooked it and was fighting it on the light line I felt like it was way too big to be a bass. I caught it with a 7-foot medium-heavy Fitzgerald Stunner rod paired with a (Abu Garcia) Revo MGX reel and P-Line Tactical 10-pound-test fluorocarbon line.”
With only the top 20 pros advancing after tomorrow’s day of competition, Thrift’s 30-pound cushion over 20th place will allow him to spend Tuesday’s day of competition expanding on his pattern and looking for new areas.
“I’m going to use tomorrow as a practice day,” Thrift went on to say. “I don’t think I have enough right now to win the event, so I’ve got to try to find more. There are going to be a lot of fish in new water in the next few days – we’re looking at three days of sunshine and 70-degree weather. The water is going to warm a lot, and these fish could change up really quickly. It’s almost March in Southern Alabama, so these fish are ready to spawn. Two or three of these hot sunny days, they can push up shallow. The first person to find that can definitely win this event, so I’m going to spend a lot of time looking for that tomorrow.”
Like Thrift, DeFoe credited a jerkbait as a big part of his success today as well.
“I switched up to the jerkbait this morning and that was the big player for me today,” DeFoe said. “The 13 Fishing Loco Special was the deal. Those fish wanted something a little slower, something you could pause and let hang right in front of their faces. I did catch a really nice one late in the day on a Terminator Pro Series spinnerbait, but the jerkbait was key. I feel like I’m in pretty good shape and all in all, today was a great start. I’ve got a little bit of a cushion, so tomorrow I’m going to try to find something else for later this week to go with what I’ve got.”
The top 20 pros after Day One on Lake Eufaula are:
1st: Bryan Thrift of Shelby, N.C., 13 bass, 45-0
2nd: Ott DeFoe of Blaine, Tenn., nine bass, 31-2
3rd: Stephen Browning of Hot Springs, Ark., nine bass, 26-4
4th: Brent Chapman of Lake Quivira, Kan., nine bass, 26-3
5th: Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tenn., seven bass, 26-3
6th: Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich., six bass, 20-10
7th: Zack Birge of Blanchard, Okla., five bass, 20-9
8th: Mark Davis of Mount Ida, Ark., five bass, 20-8
9th: Takahiro Omori of Tokyo, Japan, six bass, 19-15
10th: Andy Montgomery of Blacksburg, S.C., six bass, 18-9
11rh: Alton Jones Jr. of Waco, Texas, six bass, 17-5
12th: Dustin Connell of Clanton, Ala., five bass, 15-5
13th: Fred Roumbanis of Russellville, Ark., six bass, 15-2
14th: Mark Rose of Wynne, Ark., five bass, 14-11
15th: David Dudley of Lynchburg, Va., three bass, 13-7
16th: Randall Tharp of Port St. Joe, Fla., four bass, 12-14
17th: Anthony Gagliardi of Prosperity, S.C., five bass, 12-5
18th: Scott Suggs of Alexander, Ark., three bass, 11-13
19th: Wesley Strader of Spring City, Tenn., four bass, 9-14
20th: Jacob Wheeler of Harrison, Tenn., two bass, 9-10
A complete list of results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Overall, there were 156 bass weighing 492 pounds, 8 ounces caught by 38 pros on Monday, which included one 7-pounder, one 6-pounder and 11 5-pounders caught from Lake Eufaula.
Thrift won Monday’s $1,000 Berkley Big Bass Award, weighing in a 7-pound, 1-ounce largemouth during Period 2. Berkley will award $1,000 to the angler that weighs the biggest bass each day, and a $7,000 bonus to the angler who weighs the largest bass of the tournament.
REDCREST 2021 Presented by Old Wisconsin Sausage, the Bass Pro Tour championship at Lake Eufaula, is hosted by the Eufaula Barbour County Chamber of Commerce.
All 40 Anglers compete on Day 1 (Monday) and 2 (Tuesday) of the event. After two days of competition, the field is cut to just the top 20 based on two-day total cumulative weight. The remaining 20 anglers are split into two groups – 10 compete on Day 3 (Wednesday) and 10 compete on Day 4 (Thursday). The top five anglers from each group based on total single-day weight will advance to the fifth and final day of competition (Friday), where weights are zeroed and the angler that catches the highest total weight on the final day will be crowned the REDCREST 2021 champion.
Attendance is limited to competing anglers, essential staff and media covering the event only. Fans are encouraged to follow the event online through the MLF NOW!® live stream and SCORETRACKER® coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com
The 2020 Bass Pro Tour featured a field of 80 of the top professional anglers in the world competing in a COVID-shortened five regular-season tournaments around the country. The top 40 anglers in the Angler of the Year (AOY) standings after the five events qualified to compete in Bass Pro Shops REDCREST 2021 presented by Old Wisconsin Sausage.
The MLF NOW!® broadcast team of Chad McKee, Marty Stone and J.T. Kenney will break down the extended action each day of competition from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. MLF NOW!® will be live streamed on MajorLeagueFishing.com. and the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app.
Television coverage of REDCREST 2021 presented by Old Wisconsin Sausage, the Bass Pro Tour championship, will be showcased across two two-hour episodes, premiering at 7 a.m. ET, July 3 on the Discovery Channel. A one-hour special episode of MLF Inside the REDCREST will premiere at 2 p.m. ET, Sunday, July 18 on CBS. New MLF episodes premiere each Saturday morning on the Discovery Channel, with additional re-airings on the Outdoor Channel and the Sportsman Channel. Each two-hour long reality-based episode goes in-depth to break down each day of competition.
For complete details and updated information on REDCREST 2021, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow MLF’s social media outlets at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
About Major League Fishing
Founded in 2011, Major League Fishing (MLF) brings the high-intensity sport of competitive bass fishing into America’s living rooms on Outdoor Channel, Discovery, CBS, CBS Sports Network, World Fishing Network, Sportsman Channel, and on-demand on MyOutdoorTV (MOTV). According to Nielsen ratings, Major League Fishing remains the number one series on Outdoor Channel for five years and MLF premiered as the number one outdoor show in their time slot on Discovery in 2019.
In 2019 MLF acquired FLW, which expands their portfolio to include the world’s largest grassroots-fishing organization, including the strongest five-biggest-fish format professional bass fishing tour, the MLF Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit presented by Bad Boy Mowers, as well as the MLF Toyota Series, MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine, MLF Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI, and MLF U.S. Army High School Fishing presented by Favorite Fishing.