Tharp Knocks Out Competition Takes Forrest Wood Cup
Aug 18th, 2013 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Aug 18th, 2013 at 12:00 AM
Everstart pro Randall Tharp of Port Saint Joe, Florida took on all comers and stands on top of the FLW Tour heap for 2013 as the Forrest Wood Cup Champion. Tharp weighed 14 pounds of bass today and 53 pounds 2 ounces over four days on the Red River out of Shreveport/Bossier City, Louisiana to secure the victory. His closest competition was the 2012 FWC Champ Jacob Wheeler of Indianapolis, Indiana who brought in the largest limit of the day, 14 pounds 3 ounces for a 4-day total of 49 pounds 2 ounces.
Rounding out the Top 5 are Chevy pro Bryan Thrift from Shelby, North Carolina in 3rd, weighing 46 pounds 1 ounce, Kerry Milner of Bono, Arkansas with 44 pounds 7 ounces taking 4th and Chevy pro Larry Nixon from Bee Branch, Arkansas weighing 44 pounds 4 ounces and earning 5th place.
Tharp believed in destiny.
“When I saw the Red River as the site of the Forrest Wood Cup this year, it was all I could think about,” said Tharp. “I knew the Red River would set up the way I love to fish. I could get my flippin’ sticks out. I knew it was my time when I saw the Red River on the schedule.
“During practice I found a spot to fish with a worm. I thought it would be worth fishing. Then I thought I bet Larry Nixon might find them. On the first day, there was Larry Nixon fishing that area. I decided to go flippin’. Then today, I don’t know why, but I decided to use a frog in some areas and sure enough, my three big fish were caught on a frog today. I hadn’t weighed a frog fish all week, but that is the lure that helped me win today. I stayed close in Pool 5. Almost all of the fish I caught were in two foot or less.”
“I had a frog on all week. I made a gut decision. The frog was laying there and the situation looked right. Things happen for a reason.”
Tharp’s primary baits were a bluegill-colored 4×4 swim jig with a green pumpkin Strike King Rage Craw trailer. He fished that along muddier banks near home developments. Along the rip rap stretches later in the morning Tharp fished with a Lucky Craft 1.5 squarebill crankbait in the TO color.
Day 1 cost Wheeler back-to-back FWC wins.
“I only weighed 7 pounds on Day 1,” said Wheeler. “My girlfriend said I had baby bass. I knew I had to do better. During practice I thought I’d need 12.5 pounds each day to be in contention to win. I knew with only 7 pounds I put myself behind the 8 ball.
“I knew I had to do what I do and go shallow and go fishing. I couldn’t win if wasn’t fishing the fourth day. I had a few good bites today and caught them. I ran a backwater pattern, way back. I keyed in a bluegill bite. Not a lot of fish in the area, but they were good quality.”