Ranger Anglers Sweep FLW Angler of the Year Awards
Published By OutdoorsFIRST Media Published June 22, 2017
FLIPPIN, ARK (June 22, 2017) Ranger Boats Pro Bryan Thrift claimed FLW Tour Angler of the Year for the second time after a remarkable season that found the angler in the top-10 four times. The honor of Angler of the Year goes to the most consistent angler on tour and awards a $100,000 prize. Ranger angler Gary Haraguchi rounded out the Ranger sweep by winning the FLW Co-Angler of the Year award. The co-angler was awarded a brand new Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude outboard.
Thrift's season began on a hot streak with second-place finishes at Guntersville and at Lake Travis. The angler followed up with a sixth-place finish at the Harris Chain and a 12th-place finish at Lake Cumberland. The Beaver Lake event gave the angler a top-three finish. Although a slip up at the Mississippi River event left the angler in 59th place, Thrift had a sizeable lead going into the final event on the Potomac.
"I knew going into the last event that as long as I finished 77th or better, nobody could beat me," said Thrift. "That was my ultimate goal to make sure that I finished 77th or better."
Thrift's 48th place at the final event gave him the title and honor of being the most consistent angler for the FLW Tour for the 2017 season.
"It gives you a boost of confidence," said Thrift. "You've beat 160 of your peers for a seven-month stretch. If you win Angler of the Year, you obviously had some good finishes."
Since going pro in 2007, Thrift has always fished from a Ranger boat.
"I've been running Rangers my whole professional career," said Thrift. "I started out in an '06 Z20 and have grown with the new engineering designs they came up with each year. I've been in a Z520 going on the last four years. Ranger just gives you an advantage with how well it fishes."
Thrift has made a name for himself as a run-and-gun angler. The angler also considers himself a man of many talents and credits his Ranger's wide deck as one of the advantages his Ranger boat provides to accommodate his fast pace.
"I take pride in being a student of all techniques when it comes to bass fishing," said Thrift. "I'm the type of guy who has 20 rods on the deck and you can't do that with any other boat. That front deck is so wide that I can put 10 rods on each side and still have room to work. That helps in tournament situations where I don't have to go digging in the rod box."
Fishing consistently at a high level takes a great level of confidence. The mental side of fishing is cited as one of the most important aspects of being a successful angler. Thrift knows he has many anglers beat before they even hit the water because of the confidence he has in his Ranger boat.
"The biggest thing I have is the confidence in the whole Ranger Z520/G2 Evinrude combination and confidence is everything in professional bass fishing," said Thrift. "You are competing against 160 guys who want to take your money. You have got to know that your equipment is not going to let you down. Every worry you can take out of your mind in a tournament is going to make you that much better."
Gary Haraguchi is known as one of the best back-of-the-boat anglers on the FLW Tour. After finishing second in the Co-Angler of the Year race last year, Haraguchi made the commitment to best the rest of the field in 2017.
"I felt great, a sense of relief actually," said Haraguchi. "It's been such a long year and coming in second last year was bitter sweet. It felt really great to finally win it."
Fishing as a co-angler has given Haraguchi the opportunity to ride in a wide variety of boats. When he decided to purchase his first boat in 2014, he drew from that experience and knew he wanted a Ranger.
"I love the layout of Ranger boats," said Haraguchi. "They are just so much better than other boats I have ridden in. Rangers have a great ride and I love the layout. Everything is nicely finished and clean. It rides great, everything about it is first class."
About Ranger Boats
Headquartered in Flippin, Ark., Ranger Boats is the nation's premier manufacturer of legendary fiberglass and aluminum fishing boats, with acclaimed models and series in the bass, multi-species, fish 'n play, saltwater, waterfowl utility and pontoon boat segments. Founded in 1968 by Forrest L. Wood, Ranger Boats continues its commitment to building the highest-quality, strongest-performing boats on the water. For more information, go to RangerBoats.com, RangerAluminum.com or RangerPontoons.com.