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Never a doubt: Bryan Thrift wins REDCREST on Lake Norman

The predictions made by Jones Jr. on Saturday regarding the lower weights on Sunday proved to be accurate. Due to the frigid and damp weather conditions, the heaviest limit of the day belonged to Casey Ashley, weighing only 15-11.

The top 10 faced their fair share of struggles, including Thrift,

who could only manage a weight of 13-10 on the final day after having two limits over 15 pounds before. Initially, Thrift's game plan was to quickly fill his limit with a Damiki underspin before the first period ended. However, he did not get his limit until the second period. But, around 1 p.m. ET, Thrift's fortunes changed when he moved to a spot that made all the difference. Thrift went all the way up the river and picked up a ½-ounce Z-Man ChatterBait. In a span of just 15 minutes, Thrift quickly caught six bass, four of which were upgrades, adding an additional 6-5 to his total weight.

Thrift's move was out of sheer desperation, and he admitted it. He had been saving that area all week and was hopeful that he had enough in there to secure the win. Fortunately for him, he did. As a Shelby, North Carolina, resident, Thrift was the overwhelming favorite to win REDCREST, not just this week, but since the announcement was made that Lake Norman would host the event in July 2022. And, expectations were fulfilled for him after seven and a half months.

2023 Redcrest champion Bryan Thrift bass fishing - charlotte north carolina lake norman

“I put a lot of pressure on myself to win this thing,” Thrift said. “When they announced we were coming here last year, all I’ve heard since then from all my buddies and every show I’ve worked is, ‘Oh you’re gonna win that REDCREST on Lake Norman.’ I really didn’t want to let everybody down. This lake has been so good to me and to win a tournament this big on your home lake is a special feeling.”

Follow the same rules for this text "Alton Jones Jr. entered Sunday as basically the only contender with a chance at chasing down Thrift. Jones was 1-9 back of Thrift to begin the day and found himself 4-6 back as time expired. Jones was unable to find the quality that he had been able to find all week in both largemouth and spotted bass.

The weather obviously was a factor for Jones, as he ended his day with a limit of just 10-13, the third-lowest of the day. The General Tire pro stuck to his strategy of using a wacky-rigged worm around docks he would scan with his Garmin LiveScope. While it worked for him for the majority of the week, he thinks the weather did him in. “The weather was a huge factor for me and I think I may have underestimated just how nasty it was,” Jones said. “My fish never positioned properly. I needed some sun and warmth – didn’t get any of it. I would do some stuff differently if I had to do it all over again, but I did what I thought gave me the best chance to win. Just couldn’t get it done today. There were 82 bass caught, weighed and immediately released on Sunday – 68 spotted bass and 14 largemouth. The Berkley Big Bass of the day belonged to Casey Ashley who caught a 5-pound largemouth in the third period. Ashley also had the biggest limit of the day with five fish weighing 15-11.

Only three pros didn’t catch a bass over 3 pounds on Sunday – Jacob Wheeler, Matt Lee and Ott DeFoe."

On the final day of the REDCREST Bass Pro Tour,

Alton Jones Jr. was the only real challenger to Bryan Thrift's dominant position. Although Jones started the day 1-9 behind Thrift, he was able to close the gap to 4-6 before time ran out. However, Jones struggled to find quality largemouth and spotted bass, which he had been catching all week. Despite sticking to his plan of using a wacky-rigged worm and scanning docks with his Garmin LiveScope, Jones was only able to bring in a limit of 10-13, the third-lowest weight of the day. Jones attributed his struggles to the frigid and wet weather that plagued the Lake Norman area on Sunday.

Despite the unfavorable conditions, a total of 82 bass were caught and immediately released, including a 5-pound largemouth caught by Casey Ashley, who also

had the day's heaviest limit at 15-11.

bryan thrift bass signing autograph lake norman

Top 10

1. Bryan Thrift – 46-12 (15)

2. Alton Jones – 42-6 (15)

3. Edwin Evers – 41-14 (15)

4. Jacob Wheeler – 40-11 (15)

5. Matt Lee – 40-10 (15)

6. Casey Ashley – 40-4 (15)

7. Dustin Connell – 37-3 (15)

8. Adrian Avena – 36-13 (15)

9. Randy Howell – 35-5 (15)

10. Ott DeFoe – 34-14 (15)

Full results


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