1. Have you fished in Pa before? If so, where?
I grew up in Northwest PA, I just moved to SC 8 years ago.
2. What’s your favorite body of water in Pa?
Well that one is tough, but my favorite lake would have to be Conneaut Lake. You can hit smallies and largemouths. It has great grass and a lot of hidden structure. Deep or shallow you can find fish however you want to target them. You can also get a bonus musky or pike.
3. What’s your favorite time of year to fish in Pa?
That one is easy - Fall. After the summer boats are all put away you can go out on the lake and pretty much have it all to yourself. I think the fishing is better in the fall. The fish really seem to put on the feed bag.
4. Are there any differences to fishing in Pa vs. other parts of the country?
The South is made up primarily of really large reservoirs. A lot of PA’s waters are good old natural lakes
5. What’s your biggest fish/limit from Pa?
I have a 6.2 pound smallie out of Erie and 6.4 largemouth out of Wilhelm, 49.5 inch musky out of French Creek.
6. Any spots in Pa you’d like to fish that you haven’t yet?
There are so many places in the Eastern part of the state that I never got to; Lake Nockamixon is one of them.
7. What is your favorite species to target in PA?
I am a true bass fisherman but in PA you can get in the middle of the steelhead run. During spring and fall there are plenty of musky and pike you can target. Down here in SC we have Jacks, 2-3 foot pike and that is about as big as they get.
8. When the fish just aren't biting, what lure or presentation do you use to get bites?
I go with my confidence baits. I have 2 choices - if conditions dictate backing down, the jig is my choice. If I feel I can get a reaction, it is the Fluke.
9. How do you stay focused when what was working is now not?
The biggest thing is realizing it is not working; you can be fishing a long time before you even realize that something has changed. But after you have been fishing a while you’ll notice that most patterns are time oriented. You have a morning bite and then it slows down and you have a secondary pattern for most of the rest of the day. Or you have a current pattern when the water is moving.
10. What’s your most memorable moment in fishing?
I was fortunate enough to win the TBF National Championship in 2008. Watching my grandson catch his first panfish all on his own. While I was the PA State Youth Director my son won the State Championship and I got to hand him the trophy.
BONUS QUESTION! 11. Who got you started in fishing or how did you start fishing?
I started fishing with my Poppy, he would take me along while he was bullhead fishing and I would try to catch bass.
BONUS QUESTION! 12. Any odd techniques or things you do to prepare for a tournament or a day out on the water?
I have 2 songs that I listen to while I am getting ready Aerosmith’s Mama Kin and Spongebob Squarepant’s Sweet Victory.
BONUS QUESTION! 13. Any odd techniques you use while fishing? (strange rigging or using a bait differently).
I fish the Fluke as fast as possible; I jerk the bait very hard and just give a slight pause for the fish to engulf it.
BONUS QUESTION! 14. You can only take 1 rod and reel with you on the boat. What set up do you choose?
That would have to be my jig rod. It is the most versatile lure in the water. Fast or slow deep or shallow you can use the jig anywhere. And just for a bonus it is a big fish bait of choice.
BONUS QUESTION! 15. What’s your favorite lure/technique for fishing a heat wave?
Well the “heat wave” down here starts in mid-June and runs until late August. We have a lot of blueback herring that the bass just start following after post spawn so topwaters and swimbaits work well.
BONUS QUESTION! 16. What’s your favorite lure/technique for fishing a cold snap / mid winter?
The winters down in SC are not quite as cold as the winters in PA but the fish still have a winter pattern. I like planting brush piles and working my dropshot in them.
BONUS QUESTION! 17. What are a few lures/techniques you have in your “Panic Box”?
When it gets really tough and I do not have a clue what is going on the shaky head will give me a place to start.
BONUS QUESTION! 18. Besides bass, what are some other species you fish for?
If I am out practicing or just play fishing I will not pass up active fish. Whether it is a school of stripers that pop up in front of me, a bed of bream, a school of white bass on my graph I will take advantage of any fish that gets in the way.
BONUS QUESTION! 19. Anything you would like to accomplish in the coming years?
I would love to get back on the tour, but it takes a lot of financial obligations to run the circuit and without a major corporate sponsorship it is just too hard to do.
BONUS QUESTION! 20. Anything you would change about your career at this point?
No not really, I try not to dwell in the past so as far as that goes I made the choices that were right for me in that moment in time.
BONUS QUESTION! 21. Any non-fishing items that MUST be with you while fishing (something for luck, memories, etc...)?
I have a rod that my Poppy used. It is a fiberglass stick of unknown origin. I don’t use it but it is always on my boat.
BONUS QUESTION! 22. Who are some anglers that you admire or inspire you?
There are so many truly great people that fish. Larry Nixon is a really nice guy and he will talk to you just like a normal person. KVD is a huge inspiration. I swear he can find fish in a bathtub. And he does it fishing the way he wants –amazing
BONUS QUESTION! 23. Any fishing superstitions? (keep the banana’s off the boat?)
Other than the music thing not really, I like bananas.
We would like to thank Craig for taking the time to do this segment with us! Be sure to check out Craig's website at http://www.bass-hawg.com