When it comes to the world of pro bass fishing, the bass-fishing competition at ESPN's Great Outdoor Games (GOG) competition isn't a big deal. Instead, the few pros who get asked to fish it see it more as a friendly grudge match with the opportunity for TV exposure.
For the past two years, Peter Thliveros has walked away with the lion's share of that exposure (plus a gold medal and a small check) because he's won both times -- off the same spot. Will he "three-Pete" this year? Not if the competition has anything to say about it, and this year the competition is stiff.
Also fishing are the the Top 4 anglers in the world: Kevin VanDam, Mark Davis, Clark Wendlandt and Rick Clunn. Joining them are Larry Nixon (7th in the world), Gary Klein (13th in the world), Davy Hite (B.A.S.S. Angler of the year and 18th in the world), TV host and pro angler Shaw Grigbsy and B.A.S.S. Federation champ Ken Christ.
Honey Hole or Bust?
Asked if he'd go back to his honey hole, Thliveros said, "Yeah, I'm going back to it -- but I'll have more competition out there this year than in the past. The guys already told me they're going back up there to fish. I won't have free run of the place so that will make it tougher. It's not going to be that spot that wins it."
Still, Peter T. thinks that spot and areas like it are suited for his style of fishing. "It's just the way I like to fish," he said, "open water with grassy humps." Since Thliveros is deadly with a Carolina rig, that situation is ideal for him, though he said that he also plans to flip a tube.
"I don't think the other guys took it as seriously as I did the first two years, but that's changed," Thliveros added. "Now that there's been a lot of publicity associated with (the GOG), they're starting to see how big it is.
"Kevin takes nothing lightly when it comes to fishing. And I know from talking to them that Gary Klein and Clark Wendlandt are both frothing at the mouth about this event."
> Specs -- This is a two-day event. The anglers will fish a full day today, and then the field will be cut to the Top 6 and the weights zeroed for fishing tomorrow. Five-fish limit, 12-inch minimum.
> Field -- Here's how ESPN said the field was chosen: the current B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year (AOY); last year's B.A.S.S. AOY; the current FLW AOY (Jay Yelas had prior commitments so Shaw Grigsby was picked as an alternate from the B.A.S.S. wins list); Clunn and Nixon were taken from the B.A.S.S. all-time money list; Peter T., Klein and Wendlandt won the gold, silver and bronze GOG medals last year; and Ken Christ is representing the B.A.S.S. Federation.
> Fun -- "The Games are so much fun, more fun than any tournament we fish," Klein said. "Probably the most special thing about going to the Games is all of the other events taking place while we're there. I'm an outdoor enthusiast, so I'm interested in the dog trials, the log rolling, the wood chopping, the shooting events and the archery."
> The bass-fishing competition is one of two fishing competitions (the other is fly fishing), and is one of 16 GOG events, most of which have to do with the timber sports.
> No word yet on air-times for the bass fishing competition.