Pro-Anglers Final Day Results | Co-Anglers Final Day Results
SUMMERTON, S.C. — Randall Tharp on Saturday won the first BASS event he'd ever entered, the Bassmaster Southern Open on Santee Cooper Reservoir, by a more than 6-pound margin.With a final-day catch of 25 pounds, 10 ounces, Tharp of Gardendale, Ala., shot from sixth place to take the tournament.
His 44-10 total earned the winner's prize of $47,571. He got the best of Matt Herren of Trussville, Ala., who led the field going into the final day and finished in second place with 38-4.Third was Lex Costas of Daniel Island, S.C., whose 34-9 squeaked past John Cox of Debary, Fla., and J. Todd Tucker of Moultrie, Ga. Cox's 34-6 jumped him from 19th to fourth. Tucker's 34-3 total pushed him up from 51st place to fifth.Pros earned points Saturday toward qualifying for the 2009 Bassmaster Elite Series and the Bassmaster Classic, Feb. 20-22 on the Red River out of Shreveport/Bossier City, La. At the end of the Southern Open season, the top three in the points race will earn berths in the Classic. The top 10 will get invitations to join the Bassmaster Elite Series, the highest level of BASS competition.
The tournament began Thursday, but came to a halt Friday as high winds and a storm front hit the area and tournament officials cancelled the day's competition to ensure the anglers' safety. The event resumed Saturday, when the full field competed.The shortened fishing time didn't hurt the 39-year-old Tharp, who said this is the second season he's been competing as a full-time pro."The first day I got five bites and caught all five of them, so I just cranked my motor and came on back," said Tharp. "Today I figured I needed 25 pounds to beat Matt Herren — he's a 'big stick' back home and we live probably 20 minutes from each other. Today I got eight bites and was able to cull up.
"In practice I realized that in order to get the big bites I had to fish really slow. When I got the bait into the strike zone, I left it there for a long time. The big fish I caught off isolated trees, and they didn't bite until the bait had been there for 15 to 20 seconds. That was definitely a key today."He said he had three go-to lures that triggered bites from Santee Cooper's post-spawn fish. One lure was a green-pumpkin Zoom Critter Craw rigged with a 1/4 ounce weight, which he threw with a flipping stick around trees. The other lures were a buzzbait and a SPRO Dean Rojas Frog, topwaters he worked in lily pads. All his fish came in 1 to 3 feet of water.Herren said he was disappointed he couldn't close for the win."I didn't execute as well as I would have liked to," said Herren. "I had problems with the fish that were shallow around cypress trees."He said one of his primary baits was a Reaction Innovations' big swimbait, a prototype in a color he said is called "white trash." He also used two other baits by the same company, a 10-inch worm called the 9.5 Big Unit in "hot-tamale" color, and the 6.95, a trick worm.In the co-angler division, Rod Dubose of Opelika, Ala., came from 83rd place to capture his first BASS win and the top prize, a Triton/Mercury boat rig valued at $32,000.He weighed-in 17 pounds, 3 ounces, Saturday, and gave the credit for the big bag to his final-day pro partner, Steve Parker of Hanahan, S.C.Dubose said they "picked off" post-spawners from cypress stumps, a pattern many anglers used this week on Santee Cooper. His primary lure was a green-pumpkin-green with a chartreuse tip Texas-rigged, Trick worm.
Dubose's 18-9 total was just two ounces in front of Meta Burrell's 18-7, who captured second place on the first day and held on. The Fort Worth, Texas, pro also competes on the Women's Bassmaster Tour presented by Academy Sports & Outdoors.Third in the co-angler competition was Lorenzo Portee of Ridgeway, S.C., whose 17-5 boosted him from 21st place. Finishing fourth with 17-1 was first-day leader Frank Woodruff of Fruitland Park, Fla. Rounding out the top five was Jonathan Barnette of Jasper, Ala., who ended with 15-12.
Bassmaster Open sponsors include Toyota Tundra, Advance Auto Parts, Berkley, Lowrance, Mercury, Purolator, Skeeter, Yamaha, Optima Batteries and Triton Boats.
Local sponsors include the Clarendon County Chamber of Commerce.
For 40 years, BASS has served as the authority on bass fishing. With its considerable multi-media platforms and expansive tournament trail, BASS is guided by its mission to serve all fishing fans. Through its industry leading publications Bassmaster Magazine, BASS Times and Fishing Tackle Retailer and comprehensive web properties in www.Bassmaster.com and www.ESPNOutdoors.com, the organization is committed to delivering content true to the lifestyle. Additionally, television programming on ESPN2 continues to provide relevant content from tips and techniques to in-depth tournament coverage to passionate audiences.
The organization oversees the prestigious Bassmaster tournament trail which includes the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bassmaster Opens, Women's Bassmaster Tour and the Bassmaster Classic, the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing. Through its grassroots network, the BASS Federation Nation, BASS sanctions more than 20,000 events annually.
BASS also offers a wide array of services to its more than 525,000 members while spearheading progressive, positive change on issues related to conservation and water access. The organization is headquartered in Celebration, Fla.