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TackleTour Tournament Interview

TackleTour Tournament Interview : Bryan Thrift


Date: 12/30/14
Interview: Bryan Thrift
Interviewer: Cal
Location of Interview: Clear Lake, CA

The Premise:
TackleTour is going to hold a bass fishing tournament, but in keeping with our tradition, the gear is going to play an active roll in how the tourney is structured. In the past, we've been known concentrate our review seasons around specific techniques or types of baits. We're going to run our tournament in the same manner. Four days, four different themes, and our interest is to see how the pros go about selecting the gear they'll need to fish this tournament.


Bryan Thrift shares with us his approach to the imaginary TackleTour Tournament.


Hot Seat: In our continuing series of interviews, we're sitting down with different pros and going through their tackle selections for each day of our tourney, one at a time. Today, we sit down with Bryan Thrift, FLW Pro. Bryan Thrift's sponsors include Damiki, Chevrolet, Ranger Boats, Evinrude, Shooter Lures, Evercast Lures, Kaenon, Stormr, P-Line.


Thrifts long list of sponsors include Damiki ...


Day One: We're going to give the pros a technique they can use to search out active fish. You know what that means? Yup, it's time to tie one on, toss it out, and crank it up! Cranking is the name of the game on Day One and we want to know what a pro looks for in a good cranking rod, cranking reel, and their preference in cranking line.


... and PLine.


Bryan Thrift : For cranking, I'm going to start off with my seven foot (7'-0") medium powered Damiki Dark Angel Rod. This is hands down my favorite cranking rod in the world. I've won a lot of money with this rod. It's graphite not glass, but it has a really nice moderate action to it like your typical glass rods, but it's a lot more sensitive because it's graphite. Anything with treble hooks, I'm throwing with this rod.


For reels, I'm going with a 5.4:1 gear ratio reel - I really like that low gear ratio reel for cranking. I'm spooling that reel with twelve pound (12#) PLine Fluorocarbon. It's strong, you get long casts with it plus it doesn't stretch like mono. I really do not like cranking with mono. I always crank with fluorocarbon.


In the spring, my preferred crankbait is a Damiki DC200 in blue craw or real shad. The DC200 runs about 7-8 feet. You can even grind bottom in 3-4 feet if you want and it doesn't kick out and act all crazy. If I want to keep it running more shallow, I'll bump my line up to fifteen pound (15#) fluorocarbon and that will keep it in about 5-6 feet of water In fact, if I know I'll be cranking all day, I'll have seven rigs on my deck with the exact same rod and reel but with different lines to control the depth. Anything from 17-20 pound test for 2-4 feet stuff to 12 pound for the deeper stuff.


Thrift really likes the combination of the Damiki Knockout together with the Mamba Jig.


Day Two: Now that the pros know where the fish are, day two is going to be about working through those concentrated schools of fish on their way to a big limit. That's right, it's time to get a little wacky as we allow the pros to punch, drag, dissect, create and fish from top to bottom with craws, lizards, frogs, toads, spider jigs, swim baits and any variety of other creatures on their way to a hefty limit because day two is all about the fever - Creature Fever. How do the pros approach fishing soft plastics?


Showing off a nice Clear Lake bass caught on the Damiki Air Frog.


Bryan Thrift : So we've wrecked them on day one with the crankbait and are coming back to clean them up with soft plastics. Well, my number one choice in this situation would probably be the Damiki KnockOut. I'm putting this on the back of my Mamba Jig. If we're fishing wood and laydowns, I'll probably fish it just on a Texas rig, but if it's docks and rocks, I'm putting it on the back of that jig.


I'm throwing it on a six foot nine (6'-9") Damiki Dark Angel rod - the Bryan Thrift Skipping Edition. I designed this rod for Damiki because I love skipping. If I can't skip it, I don't want to throw it 90% of the time. This rod has the right mix in length for working up tight or changing things up and casting long without having to switch rods and I can still get a good hookset in them.


I match that rod up with a 7:1 gear ratio reel spooled with twenty pound (20#) PLine Fluorocarbon. I like a faster reel for this because it gives me good versatility for the way I fish a jig. I let it sink to the bottom, hop it two or three times then swim it back to the boat. I'll do that until the fish tell me what they're doing. Sometimes they want it dragging, sometimes you have to stroke it up and let it fall back down, and sometimes you can just straight wind it and twitch your rod.


Another soft plastic Thrift relies upon is the Damiki Air Craw.


Day Three: They've found the fish, and have picked through the schools to fill their limits. The water has been pounded and the fish are feeling pressured. What in the world are the pros going to do on Day Three of our tourney? It's time to turn the "F" word. Downsizing baits and line, switching to light powered rods, slowing down that presentation, you know what all of that means. It's time to declare, "What the Finesse?!?!" Day three of our tourney is all about finesse.

Zander shows us the Damiki Finesse Miki - Thrift's go to finesse worm.

Bryan Thrift : When I'm going to finesse tactics, I'm definitely going to have a six and a half inch (6.5") Damiki Finesse Miki on an Evercast Lures eighth ounce (1/8oz) football shakey head. I always fish an eighth ounce head even if I'm fishing twenty to twenty five feet deep.


I'll throw that with ten pound (10#) PLine TCB Braid and I'll use an eight pound (8lb) PLine Fluorocarbon Leader. I tend to use a longer leader like twelve to fifteen feet. This allows me to retie about six or seven times without having to tie on a new leader. I use a seven foot medium powered rod for my finesse fishing with a 2500 sized spinning reel.


One rod, one reel.. what does Thrift choose?

Day Four: It's the last day of the tourney and we're culling our field of pros to the top ten anglers. The lucky ones get to continue our wacky tourney and if they're not ready to protest our format yet, they just might after they learn what we're limiting them to now on day four. The number one question we continue to receive here on TackleTour is if you could just have one... You know the rest. Yes, that's right, we're enlisting the pros in our Search For One campaign and limiting them on the last day of the tourney to one rod, and one reel. What will their combo be? Let's find out.

He's going for his 6'9" Damiki Dark Angel Skipping Special with a 7.1:1 gear ratio reel.

Bryan Thrift : Last day of the tournament, spring time, with one rod, reel, and line, I'm going to tie on my Mamba Jig with that Damiki Knockout Trailer, I'm putting my trolling motor on high and I'm throwing it at absolutely everything I see sticking out of the water in five feet or less.

TackleTour would like to thank Bryan Thrift for giving us a little insight into his tackle selections in what would be a very different, tackle-centric tournament.


I'm using the same rod and reel - the 6'9" Damiki Skipping Special with a 7:1 gear ratio reel. I'll have two or three of these on my deck rigged with twenty pound (20#) PLine Fluorocarbon in case I backlash, or get hung up and I'm in a hot bite, I can just pick up another rig and get right back into the bite.









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