Pro Randall Tharp Takes the Lead on Day 1 at the 2014 Bassmaster Classic
It is tough to have doubts about the bass fishing juggernaut that is Halo pro Randall Tharp. He finishes the 2013 season by winning the Forrest Wood Cup (the FLW Tour Championship), wins a B.A.S.S. Open event and qualifies for the Elite Series and the 2014 Classic. Tharp then kicked off his 2014 season at the first FLW Tour event with a Top-10 finish.
The Elite Series pros, and all other pro bassers for that matter, should fear his angling might. After the first day of the 2014 Bassmaster Classic he is in the drivers seat weighing 27 pounds 8 ounces. Not far behind is Nitro Boats pro Edwin Evers with 26 pounds 13 ounces. Pro David Walker sits in third with 24 pounds 13 ounces.
Tied for fourth are Costa Del Mar pro Casey Ashley and Mercury pro Fred "Boom Boom" Roumbanis with a weight of 23 pounds 2 ounces.
"I was a little nervous this morning," said Tharp. "I was nervous when I woke up. I was nervous at the launch. As soon as I was out on the water, I felt relaxed. I just went out and tried to catch the five largest fish I could. I didn't really have any competitors in the area I was fishing.
"There are about three or four different things I am doing. There is no secret to what catches fish in February on Guntersville. Jigs, jerkbaits, crankbaits, lipless crankbaits all work here. All four things are working for me.
"The best fishermen in the world are here fishing the Classic. I want to beat them."
''Man I am happy," said Evers. "I was a little nervous. I did not have a lot of bites. The water was muddy after the storm last night. I can't believe how tough it was today
"Last night I talked over the tournament with my brother-in-law Terry Butcher. He reminded me I can't lose it on Day 1 and I should try to stay in contention. I did that today."
Walker slowed down
"I've been on this stage before watching Kevin VanDam jumping around," said Walker. "Hopefully it is my time. Today I went out stoked. Maybe too stoked. I slowed down and figured out how to make them bite today.
"On Guntersville you are never alone out there, but today I didn't have too many competitors around me. Lots of local anglers, but not many competitors. I did have one local angler try to tell me where to fish, but I told him I couldn't accept information. He kept trying. I had to cover my ears and go la la la."
Boom Boom boomed
"I had the opportunity to meet a young boy with cancer named Drew Clark," said Roumbanis. "I told him the first fish I catch in the Classic was dedicated to him. My first fish weighed over 9 pounds.
"At 10 this morning I scrapped everything I did in practice. At the level we fish, you need to be able to change. I abandoned my area. Once I caught that fish for Drew things came together. I had a good day. I only broke one off. I hope that things are better for me tomorrow. I think I know where the big fish are. I hope I can catch them."