It's here – the final day of the Forrest Wood Cup.
Someone's life is going to change today and it could come down to a big bite in the final minutes or a missed opportunity that costs someone a shot at the victory. Either way, we're looking forward to bringing you some details and insight from the water as we watch the action unfold.
It's going to a hot one today with temps cracking 90 later this afternoon. We're all sunscreened up and ready to follow the leaders to their first stops.
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1 pm: With Tharp and Wheeler inaccessible we've decided to call it a day on the water. The afternoon bite has been good for some guys so we still might see a difference maker caught. Weighins should be good. Thanks again for following along.
12:30 pm We left the launch pond and ran south a bit and found Jacob Wheeler fishing in Long Lake. There's an ultra shallow and skinny cut back in there and he's maybe 100 yards in. His chase boat is stationed in the river likely so he doesn't stuck unnecessarily. This place look very similar to what Tharp's fishing.
12:05 pm: The boat carrying the drone camera was hung up briefly but is now easy back out of the pads, per Tharp's wishes. Tharp is still a solid 150 yards away well back into the pad field. Again this was an area that drew tons of anglers during the 2012 Classic. Gonna go silent for a bit. Phone's about dead.
Noon: We've come back to the edge of the pocket where Tharp is and another scream and holler go up as we assume he's caught another upgrade. A camera boat with a drone camera has pushed into the area much to Tharp's chagrin. Wife Sara is camped on shore in a lawn chair watching her husband try to win half a million dollars.
11:05 am: Robbie Dodson just pulled into Port Lake and isn't fishing far from Tharp as the crow flies, but there's a peninsula between them. He just put his fourth keeper in the boat. He's pitching to the edge of heavy pads. Some clouds have shown up and the sun is playing peek-a-boo right now.
10:50 am: Five media boats are stacked up at the edge of the pocket Tharp is fishing. He's a good 100 yards away and all of a sudden a big yell goes up. He's got an upgrade and a good one likely. His wife Sara is on the porch of a cabin on shore and she saw the whole thing unfold.
10:35 am: Tharp has run back into the launch pond known as Port Lake. He has pushed through into a pad field just north of the ramp. This is where he wanted to go first thing on day 1 and 2 but another boat best him there. He has asked us and other boats to stay back in the open water so we're gonna hang out. As we ran into Port, we passed Mark Rose fishing laydowns and saw Kerry Milner as well.
10:30am: Tharp ran south on the river and stopped near a stretch Larry Nixon has been flipping. He's casting toward shore. Now he's back at the wheel and on the go again.
10:12 am: Tharp made a short move north and is in the river now. He's casting to a small rocky point/jetty. Looks fishy here.
10:10 am: Tharp has reached the mouth of the channel where it meets the river and is working down the river bank now. Not sure when he's going to move to his next spot.
9:50 am: Tharp has four now and just missed another. He's working down a long, rocky bank that backs the housing subdivision. And he's how got a limit. Just caught another 100 feet from where No. 4 came from. Maybe has 10 pounds at best.
9:40 am: Correction on Tharp's best fish. It's closer to 4. We overheard him chatting up a homeowner who'd come out to his dock to watch Tharp fish under the walkway leading to shore. We're thinking he would've like too have had his limit by now. Bite is slow in here today for some reason. Still seven boats in the Tharp-mada.
9:28 am: Third keeper for Tharp. His best one is over 3.
9:05 am: Tharp still looking for keeper No. 3. He's coming up on a rocky stretch of bank then a couple of docks before he hits the small riprap rock that lines the channel out to the river. From the river to the back, this lake is probably a half-mile long.
8:45 am: Slow spell for Tharp. He's picked up the pace a bit. He has three docks coming up that have produced for him this week.
8:25 am: Tharp has reached the back of the lake and is working around to the other bank, which is getting hit by the sun. We've seen some bait breaking the surface. Interesting to watch him work the swimjig. He's constantly twitching the rod while reeling almost to give it his own chattering action.
8:15 am: Ron says that's the biggest fish he's seen caught in this lake and he's lived here for 5 years.
8:05 am: Tharp is still looking for keeper No. 2. He said he's caught a limit in here pretty quickly on previous days. He's used about five different rods already. He's back to skipping now. He just stuck a 3-pounder. "Bingo, boys," he hollered as he swung it in the boat.
7:50 am: Tharp continues to work his way down the bank skipping his bait back under low-hanging branches and stopping to flip laydowns. The Power-Poles went down for a minute as he picked apart a woodsy section but didn't get bit. It's flat calm in here. He's got six boats watching him right now.
7:35 am: The lake Tharp is fishing is mostly a 3- to 6 foot-deep flat but it falls off in the back to 14 feet. How do we know this? Ron lives in this housing development and fishes in here frequently.
7:16 am: We followed Tharp to his first stop. It's a lake off the main river north of the launch called Haven Lake. There are some pretty houses overlooking the lake and Tharp starts down the rocky bank with a crank or ChatterBait. He hooked up on his second cast but it was a short. A little while later his rod bends and he grabs the net. He sees it's a drum and tosses the net down. He moves across to the other bank 50 yards away and catches his first keeper off a rock pile. Another bass grabs his bait, but it's short. Still, the first keeper of the day has to take the edge off.
6:40 am: No breeze this morning at the ramp and there's not a cloud in sight. Little bit of morning surface haze. Pretty cool that three past All-American winners qualified for the final day – Troy Morrow, Jacob Wheeler and Kerry Milner.
6:30 am: We can't say enough about Ron Festavan, who's been our river chauffeur this week. He's a classy gentleman whose knowledge of the Red River is seemingly boundless. He's fished the river for decades and each time we've pulled up on a Cup angler, he's been able to describe in great detail the makeup of the area they're fishing and how it could play into someone's strategy. It's like having John Madden in the boat without all the "booms" and "pows."
It's been a pleasure sharing the boat with Ron this week and we know we've got a good friend in Shreveport now when we come back.