Peter T. prefers to use soft plastics for the simple reason that with one hook he feels he has a better chance of landing bass. "Crankbaits and I don't get along too well," he says.

One of his favorite ways to use soft plastics is Carolina rigging. And although most fishermen think of this as only a deep-water technique, Thliveros doesn't.

"In lakes with a lot of shallow flats that have depressions or drops, like Lake Seminole (Georgia), a Carolina rig allows me to keep my distance from the fish more than anything else," he says.

"If I can see shallow grass or stumps off in the distance, by the time I get close enough to cast a worm to it, I'll spook the bass."

Pre- and post-spawn seem to be the best times for shallow Carolina-rigging, Thliveros says. "That seems to be the time when bass uses these shallow flats most."

Another good time is the fall. "I'll use the same technique, just a little deeper and on fall-type structure like points," he says.

Thliveros adds that the water doesn't have to be super-clear for shallow Carolina-rigging to work, and that he doesn't only use it as a backup technique, as do other pros. "A lot of times I'll go right to it.

There's no real secret to fishing a Carolina rig: cast it way out, let it hit bottom and drag it back, with pauses between the pulls. But the varieties of the actual rig are infinite. Here's how Thliveros puts his together.

He starts with a 7-foot heavy Castaway rod and 6.3:1 Castaway reel (Castaway now sells reels). The higher-speed retrieve reel "helps on the hookset, to take slack out of the line," Thliveros says. "It's also necessary for the times when you want to cover a lot of water with this rig."

Next comes 17-pound Stren Easy Cast tied to a 3/4- to 1-ounce bullet weight, after which he ties 24-30 inches of 15-pound Fluorocarbon leader. He finishes the rig with a 1/0 Eagle Claw HP hook and either a 6-inch Zoom lizard in green pumpkin or watermelon, or a Zoom Super Fluke in the same colors. "I use the Fluke a lot," he says.