SHREVEPORT, La. – Forty-six of the best professional bass anglers from across the county began their four-day battle for a top cash award of $500,000 at the Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart, the world championship of bass fishing, at the Red River in Shreveport/Bossier City on Thursday.
EverStart pro Randall Tharp of Port St. Joe, Fla., weighed a five-bass limit for 18 pounds, 8 ounces to take the early lead in the tournament. Tharp now holds a slim 1-ounce lead over Chevy pro Bryan Thrift of Shelby, N.C., who caught five bass weighing 18-7.
“Believe it or not, it started off pretty badly for me today,” said Tharp, who finished in second place at the 2011 Forrest Wood Cup. “I had been catching them really quick in practice, but today I didn’t put my first fish in the boat until 10:30 a.m. But, from 10:30 until 2 p.m., it was pretty special. Once they started biting I caught a limit fairly quick. Then I was able to fish this one little area, and was able to put the smack down on some good ones.”
Tharp said that he had tried to visit his area earlier in the day, but there were already boats fishing it.
“I had 15 or 20 different places that I had planned on rotating through during this tournament,” Tharp said. “I went to my best spot first, but there was a boat there. I went to my second and third spots, and there were boats on both of them. I got stuck in a bit of a bad rotation. I started running some new water, then went back and visited those places later. They had rested, and the fish had repositioned where I could catch them.”
Tharp was not ready to divulge any specifics about areas or baits, but did say that he was doing something different and that it was a key for him.
“Nobody else is doing what I’m doing,” Tharp said. “I feel real comfortable fishing here. I had a top-5 finish here in a tournament earlier this year, and tomorrow I plan on fishing an area that I fished during that tournament. I was able to get a limit there pretty easily in practice, and I feel like if I can catch another limit tomorrow it should be good enough to get me fishing on day three.
“It’s all about timing out there,” Tharp went on to say. “My big fish didn’t bite until later in the afternoon today, so I’ll be in those areas at the right time tomorrow. If I can put some fish in the boat early, it’ll settle me down. I can never be fully comfortable when I’m fishing against these guys, especially when Bryan Thrift is right behind me.”
The top 20 pros after day one on the Red River are:
1st: EverStart pro Randall Tharp, Port St. Joe, Fla., five bass, 18-8
2nd: Chevy pro Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., five bass, 18-7
3rd: Chevy pro Larry Nixon, Bee Branch, Ark., five bass, 13-4
4th: Adrian Avena, Vineland, N.J., five bass, 13-2
5th: Walmart pro Mark Rose, West Memphis, Ark., five bass, 12-15
6th: Spencer Shuffield, Bismarck, Ark., five bass, 12-8
7th: 3M Scotch Tape & Peltor pro Ray Scheide, Dover, Ark., five bass, 12-7
8th: Mark Daniels Jr., Fairfield, Calif., five bass, 11-12
9th: Tom Monsoor, La Crosse, Wis., five bass, 11-8
10th: Matt Arey, Shelby, N.C., five bass, 11-6
10th: David Fritts, Lexington, N.C., five bass, 11-6
12th: Michael Neal, Dayton, Tenn., five bass, 11-5
13th: Straight Talk pro J.T. Kenney, Palm Bay, Fla., five bass, 11-2
13th: Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., five bass, 11-2
15th: Robbie Dodson, Harrison, Ark., five bass, 10-15
15th: Troy Morrow, Eastanollee, Ga., five bass, 10-15
17th: Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes pro Dave Lefebre, Erie, Pa., five bass, 10-13
18th: Chevy pro Jay Yelas, Corvallis, Ore., five bass, 10-11
19th: John Cox, Debary, Fla., five bass, 10-10
20th: Justin Lucas, Guntersville, Ala., five bass, 10-3
Theo Corcoran of Kansas City, Mo., leads the Co-angler Division with five bass weighing 14 pounds, 13 ounces followed by Alan Woodford of Winslow, Ind., in second place with five bass weighing 10 pounds even. Co-anglers are fishing for a top award of $50,000.
The top 20 co-anglers are:
1st: Theo Corcoran, Kansas City, Mo., five bass, 14-13
2nd: Alan Woodford, Winslow, Ind., five bass, 10-0
3rd: Richard Peek, Centre, Ala., five bass, 9-5
4th: Glenn Day, Cumming, Ga., five bass, 9-1
5th: Mike Hardin Sr., Robertsdale, Ala., five bass, 8-14
5th: Brock Mosley, Collinsville, Miss., five bass, 8-14
7th: Josh Smith, Hamilton, Ohio, five bass, 8-9
8th: Benjie Seaborn, Guin, Ala., five bass, 8-5
9th: Bryan New, Belmont, N.C., five bass, 8-3
10th: Patrick Stines, Granger, Ind., five bass, 8-2
11th: Ben Todd, Pierson, Fla., five bass, 7-15
12th: Dave Shively, Butler, Pa., five bass, 7-11
13th: Forrest Smith, Pickerington, Ohio, four bass, 7-10
14th: Jeff Gengler, Fort Collins, Colo., five bass, 7-9
15th: Todd Lee, Jasper, Ala., five bass, 7-6
16th: Frank Divis Sr., Fayetteville, Ark., five bass, 7-3
16th: Jonathan Henry, Grant, Ala., five bass, 7-3
18th: Andrew Luxon, Richmond, Ky., five bass, 6-15
18th: Bryan Partak, Rockdale, Ill., five bass, 6-15
20th: Nick Hensley, Cumming, Ga., five bass, 6-14
20th: Braxton Setzer, Auburn, Ala., five bass, 6-14
Anglers will take off from Red River South Marina located at 250 Red River South Marina Road in Bossier City, La., at 7 a.m. each morning. Weigh-ins will be held at the CenturyLink Center located at 2000 CenturyLink Center Drive in Bossier City, La., beginning at 5 p.m. daily.
Fans will be treated to the FLW Expo at the Shreveport Convention Center located at 400 Caddo St. in Shreveport, La., on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. prior to the weigh-ins. The Expo includes Ranger boat simulators, the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by sponsors, and fans can learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities. All activities are free and open to the public. On Saturday and Sunday, 500 free rods and reels will be given away each day to the first 500 children 14 years and under who are accompanied by an adult. The rod and reel giveaways are courtesy of 1130 AM The Tiger. Also on Sunday, one lucky fishing fan will win a Ranger Z520C with a Mercury outboard. The Ranger boat giveaway is courtesy of KSLA News 12 and is free to enter, but the winner must be present at the conclusion of Sunday’s final weigh-in to win.
Coverage of the Forrest Wood Cup will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on NBC when “FLW” airs Sept. 29 from 2:30-3:30 p.m. ET. The Emmy-nominated “FLW” television show is hosted by Jason Harper and is broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world.
For complete details and updated information visit FLWOutdoors.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWFishing.