Come learn the latest techniques from nationally known anglers at our fishing seminars conducted atop the Hawg Trough. This huge aquarium is one of the show’s leading attractions and fits nicely inside of Rupp Arena. Here visitors can receive expert information from the pros as they watch various seminars conducted throughout the show. Watch in amazement as some of the best anglers in the country share their secrets and catch fish right before your eyes!
Anglers at the show: Joe Thomas (Thursday & Friday), Terry Bolton (Saturday & Sunday) & Alex Davis (Saturday & Sunday)
Angler. Author. Entertainer. Joe Thomas has done it all. From competing at the highest levels of professional bass fishing to authoring the definitive account of life as a pro angler to hosting today’s most popular television series focusing on bass fishing, there’s a common thread that runs through Joe Thomas’ life. It’s not hard to imagine a young Joe growing up as a kid in southwestern Ohio with dreams of one day becoming a bass pro. But it is difficult to imagine that even he could foresee the impact that his 30 year career would have on the sport. Today, Joe Thomas has achieved iconic status as an angler, author and television series host. And that’s just the beginning!
In the summer of 1976, Joe Thomas told a lie, or really more like a small fib, that would change the rest of his life. Having been introduced to bass fishing by a friend, Joe wanted to join a local bass fishing club and compete against other anglers. The problem? You had to be 18 years old to join the club. So, with two full years left to wait, Joe decided to cross his fingers behind his back and tell the club officers that he was indeed 18 and ready to fish. It’s anyone’s guess as to whether the club members knew his real age, but it didn’t matter. Here was a kid with a burning passion for bass fishing and it soon showed. Before long, Joe was beating anglers twice his age on some of the toughest fisheries in America like the Ohio River. He would go on to qualify and win the Ohio BASS Federation Championship and make the decision to turn pro in 1980 while still enrolled at Ohio State. Before long, he was fishing against Rick Clunn, Roland Martin, Larry Nixon and other legends of the sport. He fished. He watched. He learned. By the end of the 1980’s, Thomas had become one of the top anglers in the sport and he proved it by winning the prestigious 1990 All American Championship on Lake Erie.
With a rocket sized confidence boost and a check for $100,000 in his pocket, Joe Thomas would go on to become a fixture on both the BASS and FLW tournament trails. He would also pioneer efforts to bring sponsors to the sport that didn’t have anything to do with boats, line or lures. Even before the phrase “non-endemic” was coined, Thomas had attracted a sponsor base that saw the potential in aligning their products and services with a traditional American pastime and the guys who travelled from reservoir to reservoir in hopes of winning the next big championship. Today, Fortune 500 companies like Pepsi, Wal-Mart, Chevrolet, Toyota, Stihl and many more are associated with professional bass fishing and the sport has undergone dramatic growth matched only by NASCAR.
Bolton, a former junior college tennis player, has racked up just shy of $1 Million in earnings in his FLW career. This Kentucky native has seen more than half of his top-10 finishes come from the legendary ledges at Kentucky and Barkley lakes. He has also done well at the Forrest Wood Cup, finishing in the top-10 several times. Bolton has fished the FLW Tour, FLW Series, EverStart Series and BFL tournaments throughout his career. Bolton is a self-described “metal-head” and loves to fish a spinnerbait on his favorite body of water, Kentucky Lake. When not fishing, he enjoys duck hunting.
Although Davis has only competed on the FLW Tour since 2013, he is no stranger to tournament-fishing competition. Since 2009, he has competed as a professional on both the BFL and Rayovac Series circuits. 2012 was Davis’ breakout season as he racked up a BFL and Rayovac FLW Series win, both coming on Lake Guntersville. When not fishing, you’re most likely to find Davis hunting. He likes to deer hunt in the off season, but turkey hunting is his favorite. Davis is an only child and you can usually find him accompanied by his best friend, his father, all year on the FLW Tour. Since Davis was 20 years old he has made a living guiding on Lake Guntersville. He estimates that he runs around 150 guide trips throughout the year, but fishing the FLW Tour has always been his dream.