After winning the Ohio State B.A.S.S. Federation Championship in 1980, the then 18-year-old Joe Thomas was hooked on fishing. Lured away from his pursuit of a Fisheries Biology degree program at The Ohio State University, Joe has been a professional fisherman ever since.
The winner of the 1990 Red-Man All American Championship, Joe career tournament winnings are rapidly nearing the $1 million mark. He has qualified for the prestigious Bass Masters Classic four times, and competes in both the FLW Tour and FLW Eastern Series.
From July through December, you'll find him on what might be called the "Joe Thomas Hour" on Outdoor Channel. He hosts two shows back to back on Friday nights: Stihl's Reel in the Outdoors with Joe Thomas at 8 p.m., followed by Ultimate Match Fishing at 8:30 p.m.
The Ohio native fishes off a twenty-foot Ranger Z520 with an Evinrude 250 E-Tech engine. When he's fishing in more confined areas, he turns to a shorter aluminum duck boat. (Both of these craft are insured by American Modern.)
A popular speaker, and author of Diary of a Bass Pro: A Year on the Inside of Fishing's Fast Track, Joe brings his unique bass boat rig to boat shows and fishing schools throughout the US.
He's caught virtually every kind of fish, but says his most unusual catch came when he accidentally flung a crank bait up on the shore.
A cat promptly jumped on the lure. Not wanting to hurt the feline, Joe said "I didn't know what to do other than feed out line. I didn't want to jerk the line because I didn't want to hook the cat." Eventually the cat abandoned the lure and Joe lost out on catching what was at least a twelve-pounder.