Q: When did you start fishing, and what was the catalyst? A: My dad took me fishing as a child a lot, and we would go to the Ocklawaha River to catch bream and catfish. I always found my self wanting to catch bass instead of bream and catfish. We also lived on a lake and the bass fishing in that lake was awesome, because it was private and was full of lily pads and shallow cover. I really learned a lot about fishing shallow cover and just how bass relate to it when I was young fishing that lake. I would go there every chance I would get to try and catch bass.
Q: If you could only use one rod and one lure, what would it be? A: If I was only allowed to use one rod and one technique, I would have a 7’8″ Hvy Titan HD with an ounce and a half weight, 60LB Vursa Braid and a Sweet Beaver or a Gambler Why Not. I know it doesn’t work everywhere in the country, but I will just find places to fish where it does work! LOL
Q: Other than bass fishing, what other fish do you like to pursue? Why? A: I also do a lot of red fishing and fish some semi pro red fish tournaments. It is nice to take a break from the bass every once in a while and saltwater fish.
Q: If you could fish any body of water in the world, what would it be? A: I would have to say Lake Okeechobee. It has been good to me in the past in large tournaments, and I just like that lake. I feel like I understand it really well, and the amount of bass in that lake is really mind blowing.
Q: The whole Fitzgerald team is very proud of Bryan Thrift’s AOY win. What makes him so successful, in your opinion? A: I have fished with Bryan a lot, and one thing I notice about him is if he is fishing an area and isn’t getting bit he is ready to move. He doesn’t waste any time. The other thing about Bryan is he is a power fisherman, and when you watch him fish he covers a lot of water. He is getting his bait in front of way more fish than the rest of the field that is fishing at a slower pace.
Q: What advice would you give someone who wants to start a pro or semi pro fishing career? A: I would advise them to go get a college degree in marketing. At that point you can have the foundation on what it takes to sell yourself, because that is what fishing professionally takes. You have to be marketable and be able to sell your self to companies, so you can get their help financially to be able to pay expenses like entry fees, gas, lodging, food, and tackle. The main thing is to be loyal to the brands that help you. I see so many times guys that are with one company, and another company comes along that sells the same style product and offer them just a little better deal so they jump ship going with the new offer. Now I agree with trying to get the best deal out there, but loyalty goes much farther. Once you become known as being one to jump from company to company, the major brands see that, know that, and will stay away from getting you a deal because of it.
Q: What would you say was the defining moment for your brand to transition to the national stage?
A: The thing that got us on the national scene was the fact that guys fishing the Bassmaster Opens, FLW Costas, FLW Tour, and the Bassmaster Elites are having huge success with our products. That gets a lot of national attention, and when you have one of the best (the best in my opinion), Bryan Thrift, using your stuff it helps a lot. Bryan’s signature series rods have really helped with getting national attention, as well, because they offer great techniques and specific actions for guys all around the country.