Randall Tharp moved one step closer to achieving his goals for the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open at Ross Barnett Reservoir on the second day of competition.
Catching a 13-pound, 4-ounce limit kept the St. Joe Beach, Fla., angler in the lead of the pro division with 29-4 and enhanced his chances of earning an Opens triple crown by winning this tournament, qualifying for the 2014 Bassmaster Classic and finishing atop the Central Open points standings.
“My main goal is to win the points title and qualify for the Elites again,” Tharp said. “I have caught a few fish before on Guntersville (site of the 2014 Bassmaster Classic), and I sure would like to fish that Classic.”
Tharp estimated that he caught about 10 keepers and about half of the fish bit after noon. “It was a little slower for me this morning,” said Tharp, who didn’t think the 45-minute fog delay this morning hurt him. “Where I fished today was really foggy. I didn’t start where I wanted to because I didn’t think I could get there safely.”
The touring pro thought the fishing throughout the day was more consistent than yesterday. “I did go some periods for an hour or an hour and a half without getting a bite, but when I got a bite, it seemed like it really counted. As the day progressed, my bites gradually got bigger, which was the opposite of yesterday. It really shut down for me yesterday at about 11 o’clock, but today I caught two good ones late.”
As the angler in the lead on Day 2, Tharp wins the Livingston Lures Leader award of $250.
Texan Kente Kimura caught a 13-3 limit today to move up from sixth place into the runner-up spot with 27-5. “I had to make a lot of adjustments. but I caught pretty much everything on the same pattern,” he said. “I had only one fish untilnoon today, so that kind of made me nervous. I tried some different things that didn’t work, so I went back to what I was doing.”
He believes the key to his pattern is timing and being in the right place in the afternoon when the bite is best for him.
Rounding out the Top 5 in the pro division are Brian Potter, Claremore, Okla., third, 26-2; Gerald Spohrer, Gonzalez, La., fourth, 23-10; and Cliff Crochet, Pierre Part, La., fifth, 23-3.
A three-fish limit weighing 7-9 boosted Will Major into the top spot of the non-boater division with 15-13 and earned him the Livingston Lures Leader award of a $250 gift pack for being at the top of the standings on Day 2. The Port Allen, La., angler had to fish some different water with his new partner, Timothy Fox, and he did just fine.
“We went to a different area and a different type of fishing, but I stuck with my same baits,” said Major. “My partner said he was on big fish. He asked me what I wanted to do all day, and I said let’s go fish the big fish.”
Leading the Carhartt Big Bass award on the pro angler side on Day 2 is Roland Martin of Naples, Fla., with a 6-7 he caught Friday. The co-angler Carhartt Big Bass leader is Jim McCaskill of Brandon, Miss., who brought a 6-2 bass to the scales.
Host of the event is the Ridgeland Tourism Commission. Anglers will take off at 7 a.m. CT on Saturday from Madison Marina, 115 Madison Landing Circle, Ridgeland, MS 39157. The weigh-in will be held at 3:45 p.m. CT at Bass Pro Shops, 100 Bass Pro Drive, Pearl, MS 39208.
A moment of silence is being observed during each tournament day this week to honor the memory of James “Jimmy” Johnson of Ganado, Texas, who was fatally shot on Oct. 13 while staying at a motel near the lake. Johnson, 56, was scheduled to compete in the tournament and was ranked No. 11 in points in the Bassmaster Central Opens division before this week’s competition.
Other anglers who made the top 12 cut include the following:
Angler Hometown No./lbs-oz Pts Total $$$
1. Randall Tharp Port Saint Joe, FL 10 29-04 148 $250.00
Day 1: 5 16-00 Day 2: 5 13-04
2. Kenta Kimura Livingston TX JAPAN 10 27-05 147
Day 1: 5 14-02 Day 2: 5 13-03
3. Brian Potter Claremore, OK 10 26-02 146
Day 1: 5 15-12 Day 2: 5 10-06
4. Gerald Spohrer Gonzales, LA 10 23-10 145
Day 1: 5 14-07 Day 2: 5 09-03
5. Cliff Crochet Pierre Part, LA 9 23-03 144
Day 1: 4 13-02 Day 2: 5 10-01
6. Gene Eisenmann Frisco, TX 10 22-05 143
Day 1: 5 15-06 Day 2: 5 06-15
7. Justin Lucas Guntersville, AL 9 21-12 142
Day 1: 5 13-02 Day 2: 4 08-10
8. Jeff Avery El Dorado, AR 10 21-09 141
Day 1: 5 09-14 Day 2: 5 11-11
9. Carl Jocumsen Queensland AUSTRALIA 10 21-03 140
Day 1: 5 09-09 Day 2: 5 11-10
10. Stephen Browning Hot Springs, AR 9 21-02 139
Day 1: 5 10-07 Day 2: 4 10-11
11. Keith Combs Huntington, TX 10 20-10 138
Day 1: 5 13-00 Day 2: 5 07-10
12. Philip Crelia Center, TX 9 20-02 137
Day 1: 5 09-13 Day 2: 4 10-05