Randall Tharp of Port St. Lucie, Fla., will be back where he wants to be today — on Norfork Lake.
In a Bassmaster Elite tournament that splits time between Norfork and Bull Shoals lakes, Tharp is the leader going into the final day.
He caught 5 bass weighing 16 pounds, 4 ounces Saturday on Bull Shoals, lifting him into the lead with a three-day total of 45 pounds, 8 ounces.
Chris Zaldain of San Jose, Calif., is close behind with 45 pounds, 2 ounces. Skeet Reese of Auburn, Calif., is third with 44 pounds, 13 ounces.
But Tharp likes his chances now that the top 12 are returning to Norfork for the final round.
“I think I have something figured out over there,” Tharp said. “I caught 35 keepers the first day over there (and culled to his five biggest). I’m not really sight fishing for bass on beds like most of the guys are. I’m staying on the trolling motor and working an area.
“I’ll bet there isn’t anyone in this tournament who has made even half the casts I have.”
Tharp declined to give specifics, but he said, “I am using a lure and a rod that I designed. I am fishing the way I like to.”
Still, he knows it will be close.
“This one could come down to ounces,” he said. “It will be decided by the fisherman who can catch a big one to top off his limit.”