Original Caption: Joe Thomas: 'I have always been a competitive person, and in fishing, I seemed to have the talent and the skill. Dec. 1990, photo credit: The Cincinnati Enquirer

Today’s Throwback Thursday historical photo comes from the Cincinnati Enquirer and is about then-28-year-old Joe Thomas.  The title of the article, “Landon angler among leaders in bass world,” talks about his career as a rising pro in 1990.

Earlier in the year, Thomas had won the $100,000 Red Man All-American on Lake Erie and was fast making a name for himself on the professional tournament trail.  He won the 1980 Ohio BASS Federation championship, which put him on track to turn pro.  After that, Thomas worked nights for United Parcel Service to help finance his career.  By 1990, he’d qualified for the Bassmaster Classic, first in 1987, and again in 1990, per the article.

Of course, his goal was to win the BASS Masters Classic someday as that would cement his name, and the accompanying sponsor dollars, in his quest to continue to fish full time.  The article stated that his favorite gear at the time consisted of:

  • 6-1/2 ft All-Star WR-1 heavy action rod
  • 17-pound Stren
  • Zebco Pro reel
  • 1/2 oz Weapon Jig

In addition to his tournament winnings, “Thomas earned more than half of his annual income through sponsorships, endorsements and appearances,” according to the story.

Looking back on history, Thomas qualified for two more Classics over his career, which lasted through 2006 with B.A.S.S. and 2011 with FLW.  According to Bassmaster stats, he fished 231 events, had two second place finishes and two third place finishes, but no wins.  He earned just shy of $400,000 in career winnings with B.A.S.S., along with another $145,000 from the FLW/Red Man trail.

Thomas now concentrates on his television shows, Ultimate match Fishing, Stihl’s Reel in the Outdoors, and American Archer.