Professional bass angler Bryan Thrift has become of the sport’s biggest stars during his career. He spent most of it fishing the FLW Tour and 2020 will mark his second season on the Bass Pro Tour.
As he gets ready for the season, he’s making a few predictions about each stop and how the waters will fish.
Bass Pro Tour Stage One - Sam Rayburn Reservoir, TX - Mar 21 - 26, 2021
The most significant factor for Thrift in planning for Sam Rayburn is the weather leading up to the event.
“It is going to be an event where you don’t know what you are faced with until you get there,” says Thrift. “It could be a pre-spawn, spawn, or post-spawn event. I am hoping for a pre-spawn tournament.”
Either way, big fish live in the lake and he will plan accordingly.
“I think big jigs and Carolina-Rigs will be part of my plan,” says Thrift. “I could also see a ChatterBait being a go-to. I’ll fish all of those on 20-pound P-Line Tactical Fluorocarbon.”
Heavy Hitters - Falls Lake, NC - Apr 9 - 14, 2021
The next stop is in Thrift’s home state of North Carolina, but it will all be new to him.
“It is only three and a half hours from my house, but believe it or not, I’ve never been there,” Thrift says. “I watched all of the coverage from the 2019 BPT event and I am excited. There are lots of big fish in there and the water has some color to it. Being that time of year, I could see a frog bite happening with some P-Line TCB8 braid.”
Bass Pro Tour Stage Two - Lake Travis, TX - Apr 30 - May 5, 2021
Of all of the lakes on the schedule, this is the one Thrift is most looking forward to.
“I’ve been there twice and both times; it was in March,” he says. “I also got second there both times and want to win there.”
He believes it will be a topwater event due to the timing.
“It will be post-spawn and I am thinking straight topwater for me,” he adds and says the P-Line High Performance Copolymer Topwater line will be his choice.
Bass Pro Tour Stage Three - Harris Chain of Lakes, FL - May 21 - 26, 2021
Thrift has been to the Harris Chain before, but never this late in the year.
“Last year, when we fished Toho in June, I enjoyed myself,” Thrift says. “I think this event will set up like that, where you can catch some shallow and some deep. It will be junk fishing where you throw a Damiki D-Pop on the bank and five minutes later, you are cranking offshore. I enjoy that kind of fishing.”
Bass Pro Tour Stage Four - Lake Chickamauga, TN - Jun 4 - 9, 2021
With this event being in June, Thrift says ledge fishing will surely be a factor.
“This will be a straight ledge tournament,” he begins. “That type of fishing has become so popular and everyone loves to do it, so I have it in my mind that I will downsize my baits.”
With the fishing pressure at a high on offshore locations, Thrift plans to bust out the spinning gear.
“I’ll be throwing shaky heads and drop-shots and Neko Rigs,” he believes. “The fish will have seen big crankbaits going by them for a month at that point. I plan to downsize to six, eight, and ten-pound P-Line Tactical fluorocarbon and get bites from the pressured fish.”
Bass Pro Tour Stage Five - St. Lawrence River, NY - Jun 25 - 30, 2021
This is another event that has Thrift excited.
“I’ve only been there once and it was in October,” he says. “I am looking forward to this one and think we might hit it right during the spawn. Light line and small baits are going to be fun with those big smallmouth.”
Bass Pro Tour Stage Six - Lake Champlain, NY - Aug 5 - 10, 2021
Champlain is a fishery that he has fished several times, but he says it is a little later than he is accustomed to.
“You will have a lot of options here,” Thrift says. “It could be shallow in the grass for largemouth or out deep for smallmouth. You can pick your poison at this one.”
Bass Pro Tour Stage Seven - Lake St. Clair, MI - Sep 10 - 15, 2021
Thrift is generally excited about the schedule, except for this last stop.
“I kind of despise the place,” Thrift says with a laugh. “The only time I thought I was going to die while fishing was on Lake Erie, so I’ll be staying on St. Clair since Erie scares me with the big waves.”
Fishing-wise, he sees light line with finesse tactics and crankbaits playing a role.
“It will be a straight fluorocarbon event for me,” Thrift says. “I’ll do some cranking with 12-pound Tactical and use braided line with six or eight-pound leaders. That’ where P-Line Tactical shines because the knot strength is so good when you are connecting braid to fluorocarbon.”