Randall Tharp is off to the best start among the 14 pro anglers fishing both the Bassmaster Elite Series and FLW Tour this season.
The reigning Forrest Wood Cup champion had yet to finish outside the Top 25 until a 41st at the Sam Rayburn Reservoir FLW Tour this past weekend dropped his average finish to 18.80 through five events, not counting the Bassmaster Classic, where he placed 5th.
He's currently 9th in the Elite Series Angler of the Year chase through two events and 3rd in FLW Tour points at the halfway point of that season.
Jason Christie, who posted three tour-level victories a year ago, has an average finish of 28.80 so far with four checks in five outings. Brett Hite, who's posted two wins already, is 3rd on the list with a 29.40 average outcome. Finishes of 49th and 90th the last 2 weeks have put a dent in his average.
Greg Hackney, Matt Herren, Hite and Tharp are the only anglers to score money finishes in all five derbies across both tours this season. The fifth stop of the grueling 6-week odyssey that began at Lake Hartwell the first week of March comes this week at the Table Rock Lake Elite Series.
Below is a ranking of the pros fishing both tours this year and their average finish in the five tour-level events so far, with their Bassmaster Classic result in parenthesis:
1. Randall Tharp: 18.80 (5th)
2. Jason Christie: 28.80 (18th)
3. Brett Hite: 29.40
4. Matt Herren: 34.80
5. Casey Ashley: 36.40 (11th)
6. Andy Montgomery: 37.20
7. Greg Hackney: 38.00
8. Steve Kennedy: 56.40 (44th)
9. Ish Monroe: 57.60 (20th)
10. Fred Roumbanis: 62.60 (21st)
11. John Murray: 73.00 (37th)
12. Jason Williamson: 79.40
13. Zell Rowland: 88.00
14: David Smith: 115.60