Vance McCullough's blog

Benton, Avena and a talented cast of young pros vie for Bassmaster ROY title

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In his first career Bassmaster Elite Series tournament on the St Johns River, Drew Benton took a lead, which he has not turned loose of, in the Rookie of the Year race. photo by Vance McCullough In his first career Bassmaster Elite Series tournament on the St Johns River, Drew Benton took a lead, which he has not turned loose of, in the Rookie of the Year race. photo by Vance McCullough


I enjoyed watching future Major League stars come through Jacksonville when I was a boy. We have a Southern League team, the Suns. Perhaps the best stretch was during the ‘80’s when they farmed for the Montreal Expos and, for that time, were known as the “Jacksonville Expos” – commonly called the ‘Jaxpos’. The talent in those days was incredibly strong and included eventual National League MVP Larry Walker and a few others who would eventually play on my TV set instead of our stadium in town.

Tharp takes first Elite Series title amid 'complex' tournament format on Bull Shoals and Norfork Lake

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Randall Tharp of Port St. Joe, Fla., wins the 2016 Bassmaster Elite at Bull Shoals/Norfork held out of Mountain Home, Ark., Sunday, with a four-day total weight of 61 pounds, 10 ounces.
Photo by Seigo Saito/Bassmaster

Randall Tharp led the Bassmaster Angler of the Year race before he weighed his fish today. When he left the stage he did so with an Elite Series trophy.

The former Forrest Wood Cup Champion said he wanted to test himself against the best competition the Elite Series had to offer. Tharp has passed the test.

He did so today by overtaking a pair of Californians, one who has also mounted the highest summits of our sport - Skeet Reese, along with an aspiring young pro who has shown flashes of things to come - Chris Zaldain.

Tharp Grabs Lead As Bassmaster Elite Series Event Shifts Back To Norfork Lake

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Randall Tharp of Port St. Joe, Fla., takes the lead on the third day of the Bassmaster Elite at Bull Shoals/Norfork, bringing 16 pounds, 4 ounces to the scales on Saturday for a three-day total weight of 45-8. 

Photo by Seigo Saito/Bassmaster

MOUNTAIN HOME, Ark. — Randall Tharp suffered through one of the toughest seasons of his professional career in 2015, but it seems to have given him some extra motivation for this year’s campaign.

Tharp opened the 2016 Bassmaster Elite Series season with back-to-back Top 20 finishes — and now, he has caught enough fish at this week’s Bassmaster Elite at Bull Shoals/Norfork to move himself into position to claim his first Elite Series win.

Herren leads Day 1 of unique Elite Series tourney on Bull Shoals and Norfork lakes

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Matt Herren of Ashville, Ala., took the lead on the first day of the Bassmaster Elite at Norfork Lake/Bull Shoals, bringing 17 pounds to the scales on Thursday. The full field fishes the second day on Bull Shoals Lake.

Photo by Seigo Saito/Bassmaster

Interesting format this week for the Elite Series - 2 different lakes. A lot of guys sight-fished today on Norfork Lake. Some will do the same tomorrow on Bull Shoals. Some guys will completely change plans. "Now I've got to go re-string 40 rods because, to me, this is a totally different fishery than Bull Shoals," said Gerald Swindle after weighing his fish today.

Canterbury leads tightly-packed field heading into final round of FLW Tour on Beaver Lake

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Canterburry takes the lead in a tight race as we head into the final day on Beaver Lake. photo by Garrick Dixon, courtesy of FLW OutdoorsCanterbury takes the lead in a tight race as we head into the final day on Beaver Lake. photo by Garrick Dixon, courtesy of FLW Outdoors

 

'Change' is the word at the FLW Tour on Beaver Lake. The lead has changed again, most of the top guys are frequently changing locations to run new water, and it seems that the most productive patterns are changing as well.


Bryan Scmitt may have missed the Top 10 cut but he certainly figured out a key ingredient to success on Beaver Lake. "This is the kind of place where you need to fish new water each day." Schmitt placed 14th with 39-5 over his 3 days on the lake. He'll leave with a nice check and valuable points.

Robertson takes lead at halfway point of FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake

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Darrel Robertson is in a familiar place. Can he close the deal this year? photo courtesy of Garrick Dixon, FLWOutdoorsDarrel Robertson is in a familiar place. Can he close the deal this year? photo courtesy of Garrick Dixon, FLWOutdoors

 

Last year when the FLW Tour visited Beaver Lake, Oklahoma pro Darrel Robertson was in second place as the tournament progressed into the third day of competition. Robertson struggled on day three and didn’t advance to championship Sunday.

Myers wins nail-biter Elite Series tournament on Winyah Bay!

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Britt Myers' first bass of the day was also his biggest. It provided the 4-ounce margin by which he won the 4-day tournament. photo by Steve Bowman/B.A.S.S.Britt Myers' first bass of the day was also his biggest. It provided the 4-ounce margin by which he won the 4-day tournament. photo by Steve Bowman/B.A.S.S.

 

What an excitig finish for the Elites at Winyah Bay! Carolina's own Britt Myers won by 4 ounces! Myers tallied 56 pounds 3 ounces across 4 challenging days of tidewater bassing that included a couple of cold fronts and a couple-hundred miles of boat travel each day.

Brett Hite turned-in 55 pounds, 15 ounces to take runner-up honors.

Kelly Jordon placed 3rd but was still within a pound of the champ with 55-3.

B. Hite takes over lead, Jordon lurks close behind as Elite tourney on Winyah Bay enters final day

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Brett Hite prepares to take the stage - and the lead. photo by Seigo Saito/B.A.S.S.Brett Hite prepares to take the stage - and the lead. photo by Seigo Saito/B.A.S.S.

 

Third lead change in as many days at the Elite tourney on Winyah Bay.

First day leader Carl Jocumsen collected his $10,000 paycheck today. He missed the Top 12 cut so his work here is done.

Day 2 leader Britt Myers slipped to 3rd today. He says a late discovery today will put him position to take the title tomorrow.

Kelly Jordon, riding the momentum of yesterday's giant sack (biggest of the tournament so far at 24-7) hangs in 2nd, only a pound and two ounces off the lead.

Myers is steady AND spectacular; takes lead as Jordon pursues with HUGE sack at Elite Series on Winyah Bay!

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Myers makes good on first cast of the day, goes on to smash better than 21 pounds! photo courtesy Ronnie Moore/B.A.S.S.Myers makes good on first cast of the day, goes on to smash better than 21 pounds! photo courtesy Ronnie Moore/B.A.S.S.

 

Day number 2 is in the books and Davy Hite is in from the water . . . finally. The local pro gut stuck in mud and missed the weigh in. Tides are affected by the wind. There was wind today. It affected Hite in a bad way. He wasn't the only one who struggled with getting stuck (more on that in a minute).

Jocumsen stuns with 19-11 to take early lead among Elites on Winyah Bay

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Carl Jocumsen of Queensland, Australia, took the lead on the first day of the Huk Performance Fishing Bassmaster Elite at Winyah Bay presented by GoRVing, bringing 19 pounds, 11 ounces to the scales on Thursday. 

Photo by Gary Tramontina/Bassmaster

Completely surprised at Jocumsen's 19-11 today. Mark Menendez said before the tourney started that he would gladly take 10 pounds per day and skate out of town with it. Menendez did that today (10-13) and it was enough to put him in 11th place.

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