Defending champs finally see their luck run out

Dan Falloon

The giants have fallen.
Three-time defending champs Joe Thrun and Jim Moynagh, winners of five FFCBC crowns in all, felt the sting of Rainy Lake’s fickle nature Saturday as all options just seemed to turn off on the final day of competition.
Bringing in just three fish weighing 8.14 pounds led to the duo’s worst finish since 2001, when they finished 56th.
Their 19th-place showing was only the second time in the 10 years that Moynagh and Thrun have competed at the FFCBC that they’ve finished outside the top three.
“We could not figure out how to catch fish here today [Saturday],” said Moynagh, who hails from Carver, Mn.
“And it’s been just uncanny how we were able to make the right decisions,” he admitted.
“After these other championship wins we’ve had, you just sit back and it’s been, ‘Gosh, we made all the right decisions,’ and every year that we went, it was always, ‘Wow, we were so lucky we decided to do this or we decided to do that.’”
Moynagh said he and Thrun, from Annandale, Mn., were clicking along like clockwork on Friday, when they weighed in the biggest one-day bag (21.21 pounds) at this year’s tournament.
“Yesterday [Friday], it was the same thing,” he stressed. “I was just giggling like a little kid at Christmastime because I couldn’t believe the catch we had, and then today [Saturday], it caught up to us.
“We had that good bag yesterday [Friday], and went into the same spot, and cracked two or three right away, and that was about the end of it right there,” echoed Thrun.
“We only caught three bass all day.”
Thrun said Friday’s lucky judgement call was just checking up on a spot on a whim, and it ended up producing in spades.
“It was actually a fortunate call. We just decided to check a spot,” he noted.
“We originally weren’t planning on going there at all, and we went there, and it just started happening.
“That’s the way it went.”
But Thrun was graceful in defeat, noting that 2010 champions Dorian Lindholm and Bill Wilcox put together three impressive days of angling.
“It’s somebody else’s turn,” he remarked. “It would have been nice to have a little bit better showing than we did, but we’ve been very fortunate with what we’ve been able to experience here, so it’s hard to complain.
“I don’t think we could have won, though,” he added. “Those guys sacked ’em up good.”
Perhaps Thrun’s biggest lament was that they couldn’t hold over bass from one day to the next, as some fish deemed not good enough on Thursday or Friday would have been a godsend come Saturday.
“It’s really frustrating because we threw back an awful lot of nice ones that we would have died to have today,” Thrun said.
At the very least, if the pair make a run for their sixth overall title next year, Thrun noted they just might fly under the radar a little bit—at least as much as the top team in the FFCBC’s 16-year history will be able to.
“Now the target’s on somebody else’s back, so it’ll be good, a change of pace,” he reasoned. “Maybe now, people can start following them around and we can get a little more freedom.
“Somebody else is in charge now,” Thrun added. “They’re [Lindholm and Wilcox] the kings.”