Elite Series rookie Tharp signs with VMC, Trigger X

Bassmaster Elite Series rookie and 2014 Classic favorite Randall Tharp has signed onto the VMC and Trigger X pro-staffs.

“I’m very fortunate at this stage of my career that I can pretty much pick and choose the companies that I want to be involved with, and VMC and Trigger X were definitely at the top of my list,” Tharp says. “I’m excited about their product line-ups and by the opportunity I have with those companies.”

Tharp will fish both the Elite Series and another professional bass circuit this season. “I’m really excited about this season,” he says. “I’ve got a lot of challenges ahead of me and I’m excited about being teamed up with Trigger X and VMC.”

Likewise, Trigger X and VMC are excited to team with Tharp.

“Randall is a natural fit for our team and we couldn’t be happier to have him on board,” says Rapala Pro-Staff Manager Dan Quinn. Both Trigger X and VMC are in the Rapala family of brands.

“Rapala/VMC’s pro-staff program features the best of the best, so signing Randall for VMC and Trigger X was an easy decision,” Quinn says. “He really has it all – he has proven to the world that he is one of the very best anglers on the planet, he takes pride in his credibility and holds that very high, which enables him to support and promote the best companies in the world, without question.”

Big hooks & heavy cover at heart

Having made a name for himself cashing checks in tournaments on grass-rich lakes like Alabama’s Guntersville and Florida’s Okeechobee, Tharp is “really excited about” VMC’s Heavy Cover Flipping Hook. “I’m a pitcher and flipper at heart,” he says. “That’s without a doubt one of my favorite ways to catch a bass.”

He’ll be in his element on Guntersville in the Feb. 21-23 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by Diet Mountain Dew and GoPro. “I always try to fish to my strengths and flipping and pitching is among those strengths,” he says. “Guntersville’s a grass lake, so I’ll be able to utilize the VMC hooks as well as the Trigger X soft plastics without a doubt in the Bassmaster Classic. I’m excited about that opportunity.”

Of course, not every fishery on the Bassmaster schedule will be ripe for pitchin’ and flippin’. Tharp’s success will be tied to numerous hooks in VMC’s comprehensive catalog.

“The entire hook line-up is really strong, pretty impressive,” Tharp says. “Throughout my career, there’s never been one manufacturer that has made everything I need to do my job, and I’ve got that now with VMC. They’ve got some unique features on their hooks that are definitely going to be an asset for me next year, fishing 18 big tournaments like I’m going to.”

Pitchin’ plastics & buzzin’ worms

For pitchin’ and flippin’, Tharp will reach most often for Trigger X’s Goo Bug – his “favorite bait shape that they have.” He also likes the Flappin’ Bug, Flappin’ Craw, Flutter Worm, Buzz Tail Worm and Slop Hopper.

“Those are all baits that I plan on using to win tournaments next year,” he says. “The cool thing about Trigger X is that they offer everything that I need – from a 10-inch worm to a drop-shot bait. They’ve got a lot of new colors out this year and a complete line of plastics. They offer all the color and shapes I need to do my job.”

Both the Slop Hopper and the Buzz Tail Worm will likely be tied on as Tharp kicks off Elite Series competition in March on Florida’s St. John’s River. “Those are some of the baits that I’ll utilize … just about the entire event,” he says.

Because Florida fisheries feature a lot of shallow vegetation, Tharp likes his chances with a Trigger Buzz Tail Worm. “I’ve utilized that style of worm for a long time,” he says. “It’s just a staple in my arsenal of lures. I love fishing it in really shallow grass. Shallow-grass fishing is one of my strengths.”