Randall Tharp earned the final spot in REDCREST, and is prepared to take advantage of his opportunity on a familiar fishery. Photo by Phoenix Moore

The inaugural Bass Pro Tour REDCREST will be held on a body of water that most of the field is familiar with: Pools 7 and 8 of the Mississippi River out of La Crosse, Wisconsin. That includes Randall Tharp, who was the last man to climb into the championship field when the season wrapped up, edging out Randy Howell for the 30th and final spot.

This section of the Mississippi River also set up nicely for Tharp’s expertise as a shallow-water angler. The Florida pro has tasted success on his two previous trips there, finishing third in a tour-level event in 2018 and 17th in 2016.

Tharp’s style is one of the reasons that he has already been picked by his peers as one to watch going into this event.

Looks and Feels Good

The first thing that Tharp mentioned about the venue is how it looks and how good the fishing is.

“It is just a beautiful place, and it is one of the prettiest areas we get to fish,” Tharp said. “Also, since it freezes over every year during the winter, I think any time there is open water, it is phenomenal fishing.”

Even though shallow flipping and frog-fishing excel in this area, Tharp likes fishing here because it offers anglers a chance to do whatever they feel comfortable doing.

“It is a great shallow-water fishery, but guys can get out offshore and still do well. The river also plenty of smallmouth, and fishing for them is a viable pattern,” he said.

Tharp finished third in a 2018 Bassmaster Elite Series event and 17th during the 2016 edition. One of those events was in late June and the other in early September, so Tharp believes the fishing should be similar. This has him looking forward to this event, and he likes his chances.


Tharp is one of nearly one-third of the field who has won one of the major championships in bass fishing. His victory at the 2013 Forrest Wood Cup (now known as the FLW Cup) on the Red River, Louisiana placed him into that group.

Out of the field of 30, nine anglers have won either a Bassmaster Classic or FLW Cup, but none of those anglers have won major titles from two different tours. Tharp would love to be the guy to pull it off.

“To me, just qualifying for this event is enough to be satisfied,” he admitted. “I believe we have the 80 best bass anglers in the world, so just getting here is a huge honor. Winning this event would be very rewarding, especially since it is the first one. There will be a lot of prestige for whoever wins the first-ever REDCREST.”