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

Tom Monsoor Q&A

Tom Monsoor Q&A
Tom Monsoor (illustration by Rachel Idzerda)


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How many times a year do you get asked about swim jigs? It’s all that popped up when I Googled you.

Probably 200 days a year.

 

I hear even many of the pros on Tour come to you and ask about it.

Oh, sure. Every tournament I’ll have guys say, “I need a dozen of this one or that one.” It’s unending because there are just so many different styles.

 

So you pour jigs for other pros, too? How many would you say you pour in a year?

Not that many. Maybe 300. It’d be a lot more if I offered it, but the only guys who ask are guys who know me really well.

 

It has to be pretty cool to have so many people asking your advice and throwing your jigs.

It is. You know what I get asked about even more? How to sharpen a hook the right way. I must get 30 guys at every registration who come up to me with a sharpening stone and ask me to show them. 

 

Professional anglers don’t know how to sharpen hooks …?

Not the right way. There’s a right way to sharpen a knife and sharpen an ice pick. There’s a right way to sharpen a hook. If it doesn’t stick in your thumbnail on its own at a 45-degree angle – not pushing it in; on its own – then it’s not sharp.

 

I hear you’re pretty good at catching more than just bass. Tell me about the Monsoor Fishing Co.

Oh, I’ve done that my whole life. We catch probably 1 to 2 million pounds of carp and sheepshead a year.

 

What do you do with them?

We sell them. The carp go everywhere. Europe, and a lot to New York. They want them alive, like lobsters in glass cases.

 

People eat carp?

People swear they’re delicious. There’s a restaurant in Omaha that’s famous for its open-faced carp sandwiches.

I’ve tried them every way possible. They don’t work for me.

I’m so glad other people like them, though. It’s given me a great life.

 

How did you get into that business?

My dad, Edward, was a doctor. He knew everybody. One day when I was a little kid we were driving by the river, and he stopped to talk to some commercial fishermen. This guy held up a big carp, and my dad asked how much it was worth. He said “a buck and a half.” I told my dad that day I was going to be a commercial fisherman.

 

So was your dad a big fisherman?

He liked to fish, but it was my mom, Lola, who loved to fish. Every chance she got she’d drag us out to go fishing. She lived to fish. In fact, to the day she died, she had a wooden, flat-bottom rowboat on Blue Lake in La Crosse.

 

Can you imagine if you grew up anywhere else and not on the Mississippi River? 

No, I can’t imagine it, and I don’t want to.

I’m 67 years old … 67? Maybe 68. As you get older you don’t want to remember. But anyway, I have a dog named Jigs and a girlfriend, and all I do is fish. It’s great, though the one is a very demanding woman.

 

Your girlfriend? 

No. Jigs. She’s a big yellow lab, and the most affectionate thing you’ve ever met. She also wants attention all the time. Oh, my gosh, is she high-maintenance. But she loves to fish as much as I do.

 

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