RANDALL THARP: Ready to Roll into 2021 Season with Momentum - Major League Fishing

RANDALL THARP: Ready to Roll into 2021 Season with Momentum

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After a great 2020 season, Randall Tharp is rolling into 2021 with momentum on his side. Photo by Garrick Dixon
December 28, 2020 • Randall Tharp • Angler Columns

The most exciting time of the year is quickly approaching for a professional tournament bass fisherman.

As you read this, I’m getting things set up with my new boat, new gear, and a lot of stuff the general public won’t be seeing for a year or so. Now is the time to school myself up and get dialed in with the new things that’ll make my job as a bass pro easier. The way things are progressing in the fishing industry (at light speed) is pretty amazing. This is all taking place right before the best time of the year to catch big bass.

I’ve really come to appreciate everything about the fishing industry, and that I get to be so involved with some of my sponsors to help develop and improve the product. I mean, the rods we’re building are better than what was the best available just two years ago. Same goes with things like fluorocarbon and braided lines. The advancements are amazing.

We may still be a little cloudy in America recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. COVID-19 drove up tackle sales and fishing participation in general, and a lot of the fishing industry had record years. I work for 13 companies, and they all had record years.

Let’s Talk About Sam Rayburn

Now, about fishing: I feel like I competed well in every event I fished in 2020. When I left Stage Three on Lake Fork, MLF was never better and my career was never better. When we came back, I was still performing very well. I intend on carrying that over into the next season.

I’m especially excited that the Bass Pro Tour is kicking off on Lake Sam Rayburn. Prespawn and big bass. It’s my favorite time. I’ll have all of my confidence lures ready to go: my Greenfish Tackle Badger Flippin’ Jig (which is an awesome big-bass bait), a vibrating jig, a crankbait and a spinnerbait.

That lake is full of grass, timber and big bass. I’d fish there even if there wasn’t a tournament. I can’t wait to fish my strengths.

During prespawn and spawn tourneys, the weather and lake conditions usually change a lot, and the fish change a lot. Guys that excel that time of year are more instinctual than technical. You don’t have to be the best at electronics like Lucas or Bertrand, but more a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants angler.

If you can visualize and see it happen, and you know you can make the cast and catch one, you need that ability to focus and believe in yourself. That’s one thing that has always drawn me to fishing. It’s an awesome feeling. That phenomenon happens in other sports – like a quarterback throwing a long pass, or a basketball player shooting a three-pointer. You just know you’re going to connect. 

Every great fisherman that’s won multiple events has that ability to visualize what’s going to happen. When you’re locked in is when you can make magic happen.

While I’ve been getting ready for the upcoming season, I’ve also been looking back and am very proud that, after working my tail off for the last 12 years, my career is still profitable and productive. When I started doing this for a living in my late 30s, I never had any financial pressures because of a construction business I had. When I started, I didn’t have any idea it would be like this. It’s been really cool for it all to come together.

Winning events is excellent, but success with rods and reels and boats that I helped design is what I’m most proud of.