“Your line is one of the most critical links between success and failure in fishing,” explains Tharp, a 4-time Bassmaster Classic contender. “It’s one of the most crucial pieces to the puzzle. I mean, you can have the best lure or hook in the world, you can have the best rod and reel in the world, but if you don’t put the right line on, the rest of that stuff is useless. It all has to work together.”
Bass pro Randall Tharp now relies on Rapala® Respected brands hook, line and sinker. The champion angler, already a pro-staffer for Rapala lures and VMC® hooks and tackle, now represents Sufix fishing line as well.
“I’ve got another great tool now that’s going to give me an advantage,” says Tharp, the 2013 Forrest Wood Cup champion and current Bassmaster Elite Series competitor. “On the Elite Series, we’re always trying to be on the cutting edge of technology and line is something that over the last 10 or 15 years has really evolved and changed a lot – not only in braid, but in our monofilaments and fluorocarbons as well.”
While most recreational anglers are quick to supplement the classic baits in their arsenals with game-changing new Rapala lures like the Shad Rap, Rip Stop and BX Brat, Tharp has noticed they are often slower to adopt innovations in fishing line. And many anglers continue to use only one kind of line in all situations. But a “one-size-fits all” attitude toward line will result in fewer fish coming in the boat, Tharp says.
Working together is something Rapala brands Promotions Manager Dan Quinn and Tharp have enjoyed the last few years on the Rapala and VMC pro-staffs.
“Randall has proven himself and his value to what he brings to the table with the other brands, so it was an easy transition to add Sufix in,” Quinn says. “He’s one of the best – on and off the water – works hard, and is a real asset to the company. His previous confidence with Sufix 832 makes it even easier.”
Flippin’ and Pitchin’ Line
Having made a name for himself cashing checks in tournaments on grass-rich lakes like Alabama’s Guntersville and Florida’s Okeechobee, Tharp has for years relied on Sufix 832 Advanced Superline braid for pitchin’ and flippin’.
“I’m a pitcher and flipper at heart, so I love that line,” he says. “It’s the only braid you can fish with for a solid year, every day, and by the end of a year it’s as round as it was when you put it on your spool. A lot of other 8-strand braids tend to flatten out and don’t perform as well.”
Sufix 832 is Tharp’s braid of choice also for fishing buzz baits, frogs and walking baits around vegetation. “I definitely like a walking bait on braid, just for the pure casting distance,” he says. “The hook-up’s better on a long cast with braid.”
When fishing deep-running DT® series Rapala crankbaits and Shad Rap®s, Tharp will tie to 10-pound-test Sufix Castable Invisiline™ 100% Fluorocarbon. When he’s cranking a square-bill bait like Rapala’s new BX Brat, he will most often tie to 10- or 12-pound test Sufix fluoro. He will sometimes upgrade to 14-pound-test, “depending on the type of cover I’m fishing it around,” he says. When he’s fishing vibrating jigs, he will tie to 17- to 20-pound-test Sufix flouro.
Finesse Fishing Combination
When fishing finesse baits this season, Tharp will tip an 8- or 10-pound-test 832 Advanced main line in the Ghost color with a long leader of 6- to 10-pound-test Sufix fluoro.
“If it’s a smallmouth, gin-clear-water deal, I’ll go lighter,” Tharp explains. “But on a Kentucky Lake, where I’m targeting 5-pound fish with spinning equipment, I’ll go heavier – usually 10-pound braid tied to a 10-pound leader.”
Pushing the Limits
Another key motivator for Tharp joining the Sufix team is the line manufacturer’s vision for the future – he’s seen some of what’s on the drawing board.
“I’m super excited about the new stuff that will be coming out,” he says. “Sufix is pushing the limits of what can be done. I want to be a part of that.”