It’s safe to say that when 52 anglers launch for Day 1 of the Geico Bassmaster Classic, there will be a lot of crossover in what they all carry onto the Tennessee River. Crankbaits, jigs, jerkbaits — open the tackle boxes and you’ll likely see plenty of similar arsenals.
However, Florida angler Randall Tharp will definitely carry a couple of items that no one else will have.
“I have not one, but two good luck charms,” Tharp said. “I have a lucky coin given to me by a guy named Al Abshire, a Vietnam war veteran who does a lot to help veterans. He was a marshall with me several years ago and at the end of the day, he gave me this coin and said ‘Keep this coin, it will be good luck.’ It has never left my boat since that day.”
Tharp’s other item is an orange stuffed teddy bear. This one came on the final day of the 2013 FLW Forrest Wood Cup on the Red River. A 6-year-old boy gave the bear to his angling hero before launch.
“He said, ‘Keep this for good luck’ and it has never left my boat either,” Tharp recalls. “I was this young boy’s favorite fisherman; I gave him a hug every morning.
“I keep both of those items in the center console, but on the final day of a tournament, I put the Bear up on the dash so he rides along with me. I’m not really a superstitious person, but I don’t think it’s going to hurt.”