When an angler misses the final cut by a mere ounce, he's usually left scratching his head, wondering what he could've done differently to effect a more favorable outcome.
Not Randall Tharp.
At the St. Johns River Elite Series, he balked at the crowds of competitors in Lake George and opted to fish isolated eelgrass mats in 2 to 4 feet of water in the river with a ChatterBait. He caught all of his fish within 10 miles on either side of the takeoff in Palatka, Fla.
"I think I was the only one that did any good that didn't go to Lake George," Tharp said. "Based on the conditions we had, there was no way I could've won doing what I was doing. If we had had some rain and wind, I'd have had a really good chance because it would've taken away the advantage the other guys had over me and given me more of an edge.
"It was rewarding for me to finish 13th doing what I was doing."
He said the tide greatly influenced when the fish would become active.
"When current was ripping hard between the tides was when I was catching them the best," he said. "It was more of a reaction bite than anything else, like when it would pop free from the grass. The fish would position in eddy pockets and points in the eelgrass."
The Big Bite Lookback, which focuses on the angler who's first out of the final cut at each tour-level event, is brought to you by the great folks at Big Bite Baits.