Friday, August 16, 2013

Rethinking Top Bags

Randall Tharp, Day 1 leader, Forrest Wood Cup, FLW photo
During the morning's takeoff show, Randall Tharp was asked about finding another kicker, and he pointed out that the biggest fish in his 18-8 bag on Day 1 of the Forrest Wood Cup weighed five and change. His smallest was around three pounds. While it's true a really good kicker could put any pro in the mix and was the missing element for many anglers in the field, Tharp's bag actually consisted of five quality fish, suggesting that he might have been onto something a little different -- yesterday at least. And early word from the @FLWfishing Twitter feed says that he already has a couple of good fish in the box.

Considering Tharp's catch more fully made me look closer at Bryan Thrift's bag and do a little math. Thrift's catch obviously was aided by a 7 1/2-pound bass, which he caught on a shaky head and by his own admission did not expect to find. Still, if you take 7 1/2 pounds off his total and divide the remaining weight by four, his other fish averaged close to three pounds. Make the fifth fish a 3-pounder and he'd still be around 14 pound, and still in second place. Oh, and he also has a 3 1/2-pounder aboard already today.

While I'm talking about backing yesterday's catch, it's worth noting, that Adrian Avena (4th yesterday) was already culling by 8:00 a.m. today, and Mark Rose (5th) has a 4-pounder in the box. I'm not saying the leaderboard won't shift. It may shift a lot, and specific kicker fish might play a huge part. I just realized I had been shortchanging the total efforts of Tharp and Thrift by only talking about kickers and wanted to clarify a bit.

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