Inside Elite Boats

Inside Elite Boats: Randall Tharp

Three-time Bassmaster Opens champion, 2013 FLW Cup champion, 2016 Bull Shoals/Norfork Bassmaster Elite champion and three-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier Randall Tharp spent some time with us this summer from inside his Phoenix 921 ProXP.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Three-time Bassmaster Opens champion, 2013 FLW Cup champion, 2016 Bull Shoals/Norfork Bassmaster Elite champion and three-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier Randall Tharp spent some time with us this summer from inside his Phoenix 921 ProXP.
Tharp's Rapala-wrapped Toyota Tundra does the hauling over the road, while his Phoenix hauls in limits of bass while on the water.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Tharp's Rapala-wrapped Toyota Tundra does the hauling over the road, while his Phoenix hauls in limits of bass while on the water.
Like most anglers, the bed of his pickup is loaded with gear items that will cover just about any situation that may arise.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Like most anglers, the bed of his pickup is loaded with gear items that will cover just about any situation that may arise.
Behind the trolling motor prop is a T-H Marine G-Force Eliminator prop nut. The simple piece of equipment reduces noise and vibration that is created when the bow-mount is doing subsurface work.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Behind the trolling motor prop is a T-H Marine G-Force Eliminator prop nut. The simple piece of equipment reduces noise and vibration that is created when the bow-mount is doing subsurface work.
The 112-pound thrust Minn Kota Fortrex is a key part of adequate boat navigation.
Photo: Thomas Allen - The 112-pound thrust Minn Kota Fortrex is a key part of adequate boat navigation.
Here's an overview of Tharp's office. Consider the amount of flips this guy has made from this position. Countless ...
Photo: Thomas Allen - Here's an overview of Tharp's office. Consider the amount of flips this guy has made from this position. Countless ...
Bow navigation is accented with a Lowrance HDS 12, which is Tharp's eyes beneath.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Bow navigation is accented with a Lowrance HDS 12, which is Tharp's eyes beneath.
Power-Pole foot pedals are immediately adjacent to his Fortrex's pedal. The shallow-water anchoring system is imperative to being stealthy in your approach.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Power-Pole foot pedals are immediately adjacent to his Fortrex's pedal. The shallow-water anchoring system is imperative to being stealthy in your approach.
Digging into the first center storage box ...
Photo: Thomas Allen - Digging into the first center storage box ...
... You'll find an array of his favorite Zoom plastics, including the Brush Hog. He keeps these baits organized inside Ziploc bags, not very high tech, but highly effective.
Photo: Thomas Allen - ... You'll find an array of his favorite Zoom plastics, including the Brush Hog. He keeps these baits organized inside Ziploc bags, not very high tech, but highly effective.
Moving one storage compartment closer to the rear, you'll find more baits, including terminal tackle and crankbaits, among other things.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Moving one storage compartment closer to the rear, you'll find more baits, including terminal tackle and crankbaits, among other things.
After just finishing up BASSfest on Lake Texoma, Tharp has a few bags of Zoom Z-Craws hanging in an easy-to-access location.
Photo: Thomas Allen - After just finishing up BASSfest on Lake Texoma, Tharp has a few bags of Zoom Z-Craws hanging in an easy-to-access location.
The Z-Craw is one of the baits that worked well for him at that event. Tharp finished 10th at BASSfest, which was a big contributor to an excellent season and his third-place finish in the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year race.
Photo: Thomas Allen - The Z-Craw is one of the baits that worked well for him at that event. Tharp finished 10th at BASSfest, which was a big contributor to an excellent season and his third-place finish in the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year race.
Under the lid of this compartment you'll find a picture of his lovely wife and two beagles.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Under the lid of this compartment you'll find a picture of his lovely wife and two beagles.
Under the same lid you'll also find a 4x4 Tharp Jig in black and blue with a Zoom Super Chunk as the trailer. This bait he said was a contributor to his BASSfest finish, and it's VERY similar to the jig he used to win Bull Shoals this year.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Under the same lid you'll also find a 4x4 Tharp Jig in black and blue with a Zoom Super Chunk as the trailer. This bait he said was a contributor to his BASSfest finish, and it's VERY similar to the jig he used to win Bull Shoals this year.
You'll also find several boxes of Rapala's famous DT series crankbaits.
Photo: Thomas Allen - You'll also find several boxes of Rapala's famous DT series crankbaits.
A lure that Tharp says is one of the finest crankbaits known to man.
Photo: Thomas Allen - A lure that Tharp says is one of the finest crankbaits known to man.
Naturally, there is a box full of 4x4 Jigs.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Naturally, there is a box full of 4x4 Jigs.
Inside he keeps them organized by color and weight, and each is kept in its original bag to keep the jig paint fresh.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Inside he keeps them organized by color and weight, and each is kept in its original bag to keep the jig paint fresh.
Well, that looks like the jig he won Bull Shoals with. Yup, it is.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Well, that looks like the jig he won Bull Shoals with. Yup, it is.
Next a box of Reins tungsten weights.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Next a box of Reins tungsten weights.
The assortment allows for a multitude of rigging options, which helps Tharp to quickly make game-time decisions.
Photo: Thomas Allen - The assortment allows for a multitude of rigging options, which helps Tharp to quickly make game-time decisions.
As the lid is closed, you see a convenient location for the all-too-necessary bump board.
Photo: Thomas Allen - As the lid is closed, you see a convenient location for the all-too-necessary bump board.
Next, the port side rod locker. There's sure to be some goodies in here.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Next, the port side rod locker. There's sure to be some goodies in here.
Inside you'll find a stash of Halo rods paired with Lew's reels. No spinning  rods...
Photo: Thomas Allen - Inside you'll find a stash of Halo rods paired with Lew's reels. No spinning rods...
Here is the one that did the most work for Tharp on Texoma; note the Zoom Z-Craw.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Here is the one that did the most work for Tharp on Texoma; note the Zoom Z-Craw.
The starboard rod locker has more rods, among other possibles. Still no spinning rods...
Photo: Thomas Allen - The starboard rod locker has more rods, among other possibles. Still no spinning rods...
Including a helmet for those long, early morning runs. He said that a junebug in the teeth at 70 mph is no fun at all.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Including a helmet for those long, early morning runs. He said that a junebug in the teeth at 70 mph is no fun at all.
You'll also find a stern navigation light and a push-pole for accessing those shallow-water locations.
Photo: Thomas Allen - You'll also find a stern navigation light and a push-pole for accessing those shallow-water locations.
As you step down into the main cockpit, there are a few other storage boxes, including a cooler. The Phoenix 921 is set up with the bass angler in mind.
Photo: Thomas Allen - As you step down into the main cockpit, there are a few other storage boxes, including a cooler. The Phoenix 921 is set up with the bass angler in mind.
In one of the compartments, he keeps a tie-off rope handy.
Photo: Thomas Allen - In one of the compartments, he keeps a tie-off rope handy.
There's an additional rod-storage locker next to the passenger seat, and in our minds it's one of the best innovations in the boat.
Photo: Thomas Allen - There's an additional rod-storage locker next to the passenger seat, and in our minds it's one of the best innovations in the boat.
That's where he keeps his spinning rigs. If you've ever tried to load your rod lockers with both styles of rods and reels, you know it's a giant, tangled mess. Not in this boat!
Photo: Thomas Allen - That's where he keeps his spinning rigs. If you've ever tried to load your rod lockers with both styles of rods and reels, you know it's a giant, tangled mess. Not in this boat!
This really is a great method of rod organization.
Photo: Thomas Allen - This really is a great method of rod organization.
The
Photo: Thomas Allen - The "Honey Badger" just don't care ... Commence with the Whacking!
Even a stylish cockpit drain. Phoenix thought of everything in this rig!
Photo: Thomas Allen - Even a stylish cockpit drain. Phoenix thought of everything in this rig!
Tharp smiles every time he sits in this seat. Lots of work is done at the helm in front of his dash-mounted Lowrance units.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Tharp smiles every time he sits in this seat. Lots of work is done at the helm in front of his dash-mounted Lowrance units.
A pair of Lowrance HDS 12s provide the necessary information to locating and catching big bass anywhere across the country.
Photo: Thomas Allen - A pair of Lowrance HDS 12s provide the necessary information to locating and catching big bass anywhere across the country.
Tharp keeps the starboard-side unit on mapping, and the port-side graph can be a combination of Downscan and traditional sonar, or other options.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Tharp keeps the starboard-side unit on mapping, and the port-side graph can be a combination of Downscan and traditional sonar, or other options.
Beneath the console the throttle is driven by a T-H Marine Hoot Foot, and the primary control panel is to the right.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Beneath the console the throttle is driven by a T-H Marine Hoot Foot, and the primary control panel is to the right.
And, what is this thing?
Photo: Thomas Allen - And, what is this thing?
Ever get irritated when you slide your boat up to a dock and you have to get up and find a rope and hope to tie it off before the wind blows you too far away??  Problem solved!
Photo: Thomas Allen - Ever get irritated when you slide your boat up to a dock and you have to get up and find a rope and hope to tie it off before the wind blows you too far away?? Problem solved!
This is Tharp's eject switch. By merely flipping this switch, a rocket will shoot him 200 feet into the air and a parachute will safely land him back to earth.  Not really. But, it would be cool if it did.
Photo: Thomas Allen - This is Tharp's eject switch. By merely flipping this switch, a rocket will shoot him 200 feet into the air and a parachute will safely land him back to earth. Not really. But, it would be cool if it did.
Tharp digs into his center console.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Tharp digs into his center console.
Beneath the lid are his biggest fans.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Beneath the lid are his biggest fans.
Inside he keeps an extra pair of Costa sunglasses.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Inside he keeps an extra pair of Costa sunglasses.
Alongside a few other items that can make a tough situation much easier to deal with.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Alongside a few other items that can make a tough situation much easier to deal with.
He also keeps his lake map cards inside a small water-tight case, a small notebook and a coin that is significant to him.
Photo: Thomas Allen - He also keeps his lake map cards inside a small water-tight case, a small notebook and a coin that is significant to him.
The back of the coin features the Last Supper.
Photo: Thomas Allen - The back of the coin features the Last Supper.
Another cool feature to Tharp's Phoenix is a seat lift.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Another cool feature to Tharp's Phoenix is a seat lift.
In the event of rough water and big waves, sitting a little higher makes it easier to see, and sometimes a more comfortable position.
Photo: Thomas Allen - In the event of rough water and big waves, sitting a little higher makes it easier to see, and sometimes a more comfortable position.
When not in use the cushion folds back down and is out of the way.
Photo: Thomas Allen - When not in use the cushion folds back down and is out of the way.
The Phoenix livewells are spacious as well. A key feature enjoyed throughout this boat.
Photo: Thomas Allen - The Phoenix livewells are spacious as well. A key feature enjoyed throughout this boat.
While a bit putrid, the puked up baitfish at the bottom of Tharp's livewell tell an interesting story.
Photo: Thomas Allen - While a bit putrid, the puked up baitfish at the bottom of Tharp's livewell tell an interesting story.
Moving to the port side rear storage compartment, Tharp has strategically stashed a few important items.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Moving to the port side rear storage compartment, Tharp has strategically stashed a few important items.
A spare prop and a couple of extra life jackets.
Photo: Thomas Allen - A spare prop and a couple of extra life jackets.
On the starboard side is another life jacket, tool box and other items.
Photo: Thomas Allen - On the starboard side is another life jacket, tool box and other items.
Gill raingear is easily stowable in its bag.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Gill raingear is easily stowable in its bag.
There is also a bag with extra ropes in it, and a lure retriever.
Photo: Thomas Allen - There is also a bag with extra ropes in it, and a lure retriever.
Inside to toolbox lid are a few zip ties and a spare pair of contacts.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Inside to toolbox lid are a few zip ties and a spare pair of contacts.
Inside the main toolbox compartment is a prop-nut wrench, a spare trolling motor prop and flares.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Inside the main toolbox compartment is a prop-nut wrench, a spare trolling motor prop and flares.
The next box contains the all-too-important toilet paper, camouflaged marker buoy, first aid kit and a fire extinguisher.
Photo: Thomas Allen - The next box contains the all-too-important toilet paper, camouflaged marker buoy, first aid kit and a fire extinguisher.
He paints the marker buoys to keep them from being easily seen, which could lead to his spot being poached. This is a slick trick.
Photo: Thomas Allen - He paints the marker buoys to keep them from being easily seen, which could lead to his spot being poached. This is a slick trick.
Here's an overview of the power plant.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Here's an overview of the power plant.
Tharp's battery of choice is Odyssey Batteries.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Tharp's battery of choice is Odyssey Batteries.
Rather than using the confusing and often ineffective buckle that comes standard with boat battery brackets, Tharp uses a fabricated piece of aluminum as the base.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Rather than using the confusing and often ineffective buckle that comes standard with boat battery brackets, Tharp uses a fabricated piece of aluminum as the base.
And each battery is cinched down with a ratchet strap. Simple, yet effective.
Photo: Thomas Allen - And each battery is cinched down with a ratchet strap. Simple, yet effective.
Here's the main power switch.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Here's the main power switch.
Each of Tharp's four batteries get their power from Minn Kota's MK 460 PC onboard charger.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Each of Tharp's four batteries get their power from Minn Kota's MK 460 PC onboard charger.
At the rear is a Yamaha 250 Sho, and a pair of Power-Poles.
Photo: Thomas Allen - At the rear is a Yamaha 250 Sho, and a pair of Power-Poles.
Photo: Thomas Allen
Thanks for the tour Randy. We love your ride!
Photo: Thomas Allen - Thanks for the tour Randy. We love your ride!