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TackleTour Tournament Interview

TackleTour Tournament Interview : Randall Tharp


Date: 4/24/16
Interview: Randall Tharp
Interviewer: Cal
Location of Interview: Lake Eufala, AL

The Premise:
TackleTour is going to hold a bass fishing tournament, but in keeping with our tradition, the gear is going to play an active roll in how the tourney is structured. In the past, we've been known concentrate our review seasons around specific techniques or types of baits. We're going to run our tournament in the same manner. Four days, four different themes, and our interest is to see how the pros go about selecting the gear they'll need to fish this tournament.


In the TT Tournament Interview Hotseat - Randall Tharp.


Hot Seat: In our continuing series of interviews, we're sitting down with different pros and going through their tackle selections for each day of our tourney, one at a time. Today, we sit down with Randall Tharp, BASS Elite Series Pro. Randall Tharp's sponsors include Halo, Rapala, VMC, Ranger, Yamaha, Zoom, Gamma, Gill, Costa Sunglasses.


Tharp cranks it up with his Halo Cranking stick and a variety of Rapala and Storm crankbaits.


Day One: We're going to give the pros a technique they can use to search out active fish. You know what that means? Yup, it's time to tie one on, toss it out, and crank it up! Cranking is the name of the game on Day One and we want to know what a pro looks for in a good cranking rod, cranking reel, and their preference in cranking line.


In shallow situations, Tharp relies on the Arashi series baits.


Randall Tharp : I'm a shallow water power fisherman and I love cranking. I almost always have one of those Storm Arashi crankbaits in a size 3 tied on. If there are a lot of big bait fish around, then I'll go bigger or even move to the Rapala DT series if I need to get deeper. For square bills, I'll use the 7' Halo Cranking rod, for the DT-6 - DT-10, I'll use the 7'4" cranking rod, and for anything deeper, I'll go with the 7'10". They're all pretty much the same action, I just get longer casts for the deeper running baits. They're all composite rods and they make a big difference when fishing crankbaits.


For line, I use fluorocarbon (Gamma Edge) because I like the sensitivity and the fact the line sinks with the bait in anywhere from 10-14lb test depending on the bait. I have all this spooled on a 6.2:1 gear ratio reel unless I'm going deep. If I'm going deep, I want something in the 5:1 range. I don't like high speed reels for cranking.


In deeper water, Tharp pulls out his Rapala DT Series plugs.


Day Two: Now that the pros know where the fish are, day two is going to be about working through those concentrated schools of fish on their way to a big limit. That's right, it's time to get a little wacky as we allow the pros to punch, drag, dissect, create and fish from top to bottom with craws, lizards, frogs, toads, spider jigs, swimbaits and any variety of other creatures on their way to a hefty limit because day two is all about the fever - Creature Fever. How do the pros approach fishing soft plastics?


Tharp has the fever, Creature Fever, in a bad way.


Randall Tharp : I make a living with a flipping stick, it's what I love to do. Most of the time I have a jig tied on with a Zoom Big Salty Chunk as a trailer. Generally during pre-spawn or around the spawn, I really like a tube a lot. We're talking the 4" Zoom Tube - I like to keep it simple - in black neon or green pumpkin. If we're punching matts, I'm using some type of beaver style bait like the Zoom ZHawg, and for patchy or sparse deep grass, we have a new bait this year, the Zoom ZCraw, that I really like a lot for those situations.


My rod is a 7'6" heavy action flipping rod, Randall Tharp signature series from Halo with 20lb Gamma Fluorocarbon, a 4/0 VMC Flipping hook with a 1/4oz up to 2oz tungsten weight depending on the cover. I'm using high speed reels like the Metanium 8.5:1 casting reel. I'm not sponsored by Shimano, but this reel has the right combination of power and speed for my needs.


Zoom's ZHawgs are some of Tharps go to plastics.


Day Three: They've found the fish, and have picked through the schools to fill their limits. The water has been pounded and the fish are feeling pressured. What in the world are the pros going to do on Day Three of our tourney? It's time to turn the "F" word. Downsizing baits and line, switching to light powered rods, slowing down that presentation, you know what all of that means. It's time to declare, "What the Finesse?!?!" Day three of our tourney is all about finesse.

If cover grows sparse or clumpy, Tharp prefers the new ZCraw for more vibration.

Randall Tharp : Finesse for me is different. I've used spinning rods in the past and had a lot of success with them, but you don't necessarily have to go that route. You know, picking up a Rapala DT-6 and fishing it really slow is finesse fishing for me or even downscaling my line and weight while flipping. Moving to a 7'6" medium heavy with 14lb fluorocarbon, using the smaller Zoom ZHawg with a downsized hook (3/0 instead of 4/0) and translucent colors on the baits is how I finesse fish.


In Pre-Spawn and Spawn situations, Tharp loves a 4" tube.

Day Four: It's the last day of the tourney and we're culling our field of pros to the top ten anglers. The lucky ones get to continue our wacky tourney and if they're not ready to protest our format yet, they just might after they learn what we're limiting them to now on day four. The number one question we continue to receive here on TackleTour is if you could just have one... You know the rest. Yes, that's right, we're enlisting the pros in our Search For One campaign and limiting them on the last day of the tourney to one rod, and one reel. What will their combo be? Let's find out.

If given the choice of one rod, Tharp will always reach for his flipping stick and tie on a jig.

Randall Tharp : You know for Randall Tharps Search for One, it's going to be my signature series 7'6" Heavy Powered Flipping stick, 20lb Gamma Fluorocarbon, 1/2 oz Randall Tharp signature series jig, and a Zoom Big Salty Chunk. I've won more money on that setup and caught more big fish on that setup than any other.

TackleTour would like to thank Randall Tharp for giving us a little insight into his tackle selections in what would be a very different, tackle-centric tournament.









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