UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Detroit River

Reel Chat with ANTHONY GAGLIARDI

Reel Chat with ANTHONY GAGLIARDI
Pro winner Anthony Gagliardi holds up one of his five keeper bass from day four on Table Rock Lake.

- MODERATOR COMMENT -
Welcome to FLW Live Reel Chat. Today we're joined by standout Walmart FLW Tour pro Anthony Gagliardi. As the winner of the recent 2009 FLW Tour event at Table Rock Lake, Gagliardi now boasts nearly $1 million in winnings in FLW Outdoors events over the course of his decade-long career. With four FLW Outdoors tourney wins under his belt (this year's Table Rock event, a 2006 FLW Tour event on his home waters of Lake Murray, a 2004 Tour contest on Kentucky Lake and a 2001 BFL victory on Lake Wateree), as well as an amazing 11 top-10 finishes, Gagliardi is one of the most successful and consistent anglers on the Tour. He proved this in 2006 when he won the coveted Land O'Lakes Angler of the Year title.

- MODERATOR COMMENT -
Today, Anthony Gagliardi - a seven-time Cup qualifier - is here to take questions from you, the fans. So, without further delay, let's get started.

Q: Anthony, each of the last two Forrest Wood Cups you gambled and focused on schooling fish. Each time you were close, but the patterns proved to be too inconsistent. Do you have any regrets? Couldn't you have junk-fished on Murray and beat Bennett?
-- Tim (Fayetteville, Ark.)
A: No. I definitely don't have any regrets. Going back to Ouachita, it wasn't that the pattern failed me; it's just that I missed some opportunties. On the last day I kind of figured out that I could get away with a bigger bait, which allowed for more accurate casts. If I had switched on day three, I could have made a run at Scott Suggs. At Murray, I wouldn't have done anything different either. The cold weather that came in late is what ruined me there. For me to win that tournament, I was doing what I needed to be doing. I dedicated all my practice time to the pattern I was fishing. Even during the cut days, that bite returned. I actually went out before we had to go to the Fun Zone those last two days, and they were schooling again. Had I made it, I probably would have won it. If there ever was a tournament that I practiced to win -- that was the one.

Q: Gags, how do the anglers feel as a whole about the move to 150 boats? It seems to me that FLW has finally figured things out with better lakes and a smaller field. I am curious to hear your thoughts.
-- Bryan S. (Knoxville, Tenn.)
A: No doubt. It's been welcomed by all the anglers. You can definitely notice a difference out there. You just feel less boats around you, and you almost wonder where everybody else is. The lakes are just less pressured, which leads to higher weights, I think.

Q: Congrats on the win! I was wondering what type of retrieve you were using with your jerkbait. Was it a more eratic retrieve, or were you letting the lure sit for a while before moving it again?
-- Jay (Lansing, Mich.)
A: I would say a combination of both. I was definitely pausing the lure, but I still tried to fish it fairly erratically. Sometimes I would snap it three or four times in a row, and then I would pause and let it sit there. I did get some that hit it on the pause, but I caught a couple big fish while I was ripping it too.

Q: I see you won the tournament on a few Lucky Craft jerkbaits. I don't have any of these because they are so expensive. They are like $15 a bait. Are they really worth it, and if so, why?
-- Nick L. (Little Rock, Ark.)
A: To answer his question, without a doubt. Sponsorship aside, it's the best jerkbait on the market, and I thought that before I was sponsored by them. I don't know one that can cast farther, and I don't know one that has an action that erratic. That's the key to getting bites on the jerkbait. When you snap a Lucky Craft, and you watch it in the water, it has a shimmy or a wobble to it as it comes to rest. The fish that hit on the pause -- I think that (the shimmy) is why they hit it. The good thing is that you're not going to lose a lot of jerkbaits.

Q: What is a transition bank: 1) a bank where the composition of the environment changes, such as from rock to sand, or steep bank to a flat 2) the first drop of a shoreline after the bank, or 3) something else I hear this term used to describe on Kentucky Lake and do not know what it really means?
-- Bob Priest (Clarklake, Mich.)
A: The term transition bank, when we use it, refers to a change in composition. When I think of a transition, it is something that goes from mud to sand, or pea gravel to chunk rock. It has to do with the composition of the bank you're fishing.

Q: I'd like to ask Anthony if he thinks that having the world's prettiest wife and the world's cutest daughter has helped him hone his fishing skills.
-- Jerry Fulkerson (Concord, N.C.)
A: (Editor's note: Jerry Fulkerson is Gagliardi's father-in-law.) Definitely. Ha ha. I don't really know how to answer that one. But I didn't win my first one until I met my wife-to-be. After I won Kentucky Lake, that's when I got engaged. Now that I have more responsibiliy, I think I pay more attention and focus to what I'm doing. I need to make sure my wife and little girl are taken care of.

Q: Anthony, how do you break down large areas of standing timber on new water and locate fish? Great job at Table Rock; keep up the good work.
-- TJ Crabtree (Chapmanville, W.Va.)
A: That's a difficult one to answer. That's one of the hardest things to break down -- a lake that has a lot of standing timber. If I get to a new lake that has a lot of timber, I will start somewhere else. I will look for a good area first and then see if there is timber there. When I came to Table Rock, I didn't want to focus on timber. The places I caught my fish I picked out based on a point or a creek channel. All timber is good, but timber that is located near an area that should have fish is even better. I guess what I am saying is, yes, I fished timber at Table Rock, but I would have fished those areas if there wasn't a piece of timber there. The timber gave me a specific spot on the point to fish; it was the icing on the cake.

Q: Anthony, what was the water like as far as clarity in the rivers, and how were you working the jerkbait to get the fish to eat it (at Table Rock Lake)?
-- Steve (Rogers, Ark.)
A: I was fishing two different rivers: the White and the James. The area in the White was considerably clearer than the James. Both were clear, but the White had clarity of around 4 feet and the James was around 2 to 3 feet. As for the jerkbait, I was using a fairly standard technique. I would jerk the bait three or four times in a row and then pause it. I would vary the retrieve -- giving it a fairly erratic action while still making sure I made my pauses.

Q: The next tournament is on Lake Norman near Charlotte, N.C. I see you live in South Carolina. Do you fish very often on Norman, and should I pick you on my Fantasy Fishing team?
-- Chris M. (Jasper, Ala.)
A: I do live close, but I don't fish there often. In fact, aside from the two FLW Tour events that have been there, I've only fished it two or three times. I'm going to let you make your own decision as far as picking me, but I will say I feel good about it, and I like the time of the year on the lake. After winning Table Rock, I do have a bit of confidence and momentum going. Those that know me will have me picked -- I will say that.

Q: I know you've won before on Kentucky Lake. Should I pick you for the June tournament?
-- Matt R. (Davenport, Iowa)
A: That's another one that I'm definitely going to have a lot of confidence going into it. The offshore bite should be really strong. If I had to pick a tournament before the year that I thought I had a really good chance at, that would probably be the top one. Fishing that way is definitely one of my strengths.

Q: Do you think Lake Norman will be won by sight-fishing, or shallow finesse-fishing or power-fishing? Who do you like at Norman besides yourself?
-- Holly Brinkley (Bradford, Ark.)
A: Potentially, it could be won sight-fishing. They're already up bedding now, but the fish here spawn for a very long time. There is just a long window down here, so there will be some caught sight-fishing for sure. I don't know that I would go out on a limb and say that it will be won sight-fishing, but it will play a role. I think more than likely it will be won on a postspawn pattern that includes a mix of both finesse- and power-fishing. I think Sean Hoernke will be one to watch for as well as Michael Bennett and Larry Nixon. Maybe a wild card would be Vic Vatalaro.

Q: How do you think Bryan Thrift is going to do at Lake Norman?
-- Jeffrey Ramos (Chicago, Ill.)
A: He is probably due up there more than anybody. He didn't do that great last year, but he is primed for a big tournament. I would definitely look at him.

Q: Do you ever have nightmares about not winning the million dollars on your home lake? Does winning Table Rock help ease the pain?
-- Tom G. (Columbia, S.C.)
A: I wouldn't say nightmares, but I was down for weeks after that tournament. I felt that way because I practiced perfectly and really thought I had a good chance at winning the tournament. I was more confident coming into the Cup than I was at any of my prior victories. Winning this one definitely gets out any bad taste I had in my mouth from last year. That was that, and this is another year, so I can't complain.

Q: As far as Table Rock goes, how do you rate the lake compared to other clear impoundments?
-- Kevin Stice (Branson West, Mo.)
A: It is probably the best clear impoundment I've ever been to, to be honest. We caught numbers of fish, and the quality was impressive. I personally never caught a smallmouth, but I know they're in there. I'd have to rank it right up at the top with the clear lakes I've been to.

Q: Congrats on the recent win. It was a blast to watch the weigh-in live via the Web.
-- Austin (Bedford, Texas)
A:

Q: Anthony, congrats on your win! Well deserved. The water being the way it was clarity-wise, what type of line was your line of choice? Also, did you have a one-two setup? Meaning, did you follow up the jerkbait with another lure?
-- Eugene Ghounarides (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
A: I used two jerkbaits: a shallow-running one and a deeper-running one. For my smaller jerkbait, I was throwing 6-pound Gamma fluorocarbon and for the bigger one I used 8-pound Gamma fluorocarbon. I did that more for castability and depth purposes as opposed to clarity. That thin line diameter just really allows you to get those baits to run a little deeper. That was my main reason for the lighter line. There was no other bait. I simply wanted to make many meaningful casts with the jerkbait. I just wanted to keep it in my hands and make as many casts with it as I could. I was going to either live or die by it.

Q: Don't you always try to fish in order to make the top-10 cut in a tournament?
-- Gene Sullivan (Syracuse, N.Y.)
A: No. You want to make the top 10 in every tournament, but realistically, that's not possible. First and foremost, I want to get one of those $10,000 checks. That probably plays into my strategy a little bit. I'm going to make sure I catch fish so that I have a good chance at getting one of those big checks. Last year my main goal was to catch what I can catch to earn enough points to make the championship. My plan won't be any different this year. Usually when I make the cut, I discover something during the first two days of the tournament. When I practice, I just try to put myself around fish. During the tournament, I usually fine-tune what I'm doing to maybe get bigger fish. When I go to Lake Norman, I'm not soley going to focus on what I need to do to catch 4-pounders. Instead, I want to first get comfortable with how I'm going to catch five. I'm not worried about finding top-10 fish right off the bat. I'm focused on learning the lake, being around fish and giving myself a shot. That's just my approach.

Q: I picked you a couple of times last year, and I had you in my early picks but second-guessed myself, and look what happens. First instinct is usually the best. Anyway, what does it take to get started in professional fishing? Sponsors, entry fees, etc., .... I really want to know.
-- Kenneth (Hamilton, Ill.)
A: Nowadays, it takes a pretty wide knowledge base. There are a lot of guys out there that are really good and really versatile. From a fishing standpoint, you need to learn as many techniques as possible, from finesse techniques to power techniques. From a financial standpoint, fishing is an expensive sport. Expenses are high, and it doesn't take long to get yourself in a big hole. That's where sponsors come in. Without sponsors, I would recommend starting slow and gradually building your career. If you're young, I would definitely go to college and get a degree. Not only do you then have a great knowledge base, you've got something to fall back on. Having my college degree really helped. I knew if things didn't pan out, I could always fall back on my college degree and make a living that way.

Q (MODERATOR): What is your most consistent bait? What advice do you have for an avid fisherman that wants to catch the big ones?
A: This is tough, but I would have to say a Spot Remover jighead (Buckeye Lures), and I use a Lake Fork 6-inch Twitch-Worm on it. I don't care where you go, it almost doesn't matter what time of year -- if you need a bite, you throw it. You can always count on some bites.

Q: Did you use spinning or baitcasting gear for the jerkbaits?
-- Jay (Lansing, Mich.)
A: For the smaller jerkbait, I used the spinning gear. For the Pointer 100, the larger jerkbait, I used baitcasting gear.

Q: What is the difference between clear lines and green lines, in mono and fluoro lines, for fishing clear lakes in shallow water?
-- Bryan Taylor (Alexander City, Ala.)
A: More than anything, the difference is confidence. I can't say that I've ever seen a difference in the amount of bites for mono. For fluorocarbon, that's a different story. I think fluorocarbon is better than clear mono or green mono for getting bites in clear water. The fluoro is just more invisible underwater. It more resembles the light-refraction index of water. Fluorocarbon's (index) number is very similar to the number of water. It is tougher to manage than mono, but you will get used to it eventually. But the benefits far outweigh the advantages. Again, there is no difference between green fluoro and clear fluoro.

- MODERATOR COMMENT -
Bass-fishing fans, unfortunately that's all the time we have for Anthony Gagliardi as of right now. However, FLWOutdoors.com will continue to provide as many installments of the FLW Live Reel Chat series as possible as we head deeper into the 2009 season. Again, thanks to Gagliardi for giving us his valuable time. And a very special thanks to all of the fans who participated in today's Reel Chat program on FLWOutdoors.com. The entire transcript of this Reel Chat will soon be published at FLWOutdoors.com.

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