Tommy Biffle exemplifies the new breed of fishermen on the pro fishing circuit. He is not afraid to try new techniques and equipment and takes a scientific approach to his trade.
“There are so many good fishermen out on the fishing trail that if a pro doesn’t keep up to date on the new techniques and trends, he usually doesn’t end up in the winner’s circle,” said Biffle, a member of the Du Pont Pro Fishing Team. “It is so competitive that one or two fish mean the difference between a respectable paycheck and no paycheck at all.”
The Wagoner, Okla. native is working his way up through the regional tournament route to prepare himself for the pro circuit. In 1988, Biffle won ten tournaments on regional fishing circuits in the Midwest and three victories in April alone. In all, the 31-year-old pro has won more than 30 tournaments, mainly flipping and pitching jigs in heavy cover.
“I rely on flipping and pitching because big fish stay protected in heavy cover. Flipping and pitching is the most effective way to catch these spooky fish,” Biffle said. “The most important factor in catching fish this way is to make sure the lure’s entry in the water is very quiet. A big splash or noisy entry usually scares fish away.”
Biffle looks for trees that have fallen into 1 to 6 feet of water. He also likes thick, standing timber. Larger bass “relate” to these objects and ambush baitfish for easy meals, according to the quiet Oklahoman.
He prefers a 7 1/2-foot flippin’ stick with a baitcasting reel activated by a thumb bar. His favorite rig is a 5/8 oz. lead jig with a pork rind trailer. In the spring, he uses a soft plastic “salt craw” trailer or eel. Since he is always near rough, heavy cover, his line must have maximum abrasion resistance so he can fight and land big fish.
“When the cover is really thick, I like to use Magnum 14/40 because it’s super strong and easy to cast accurately and quietly,” he said. “When I flip in water that’s over 20 feet deep, I choose ‘Prime Plus’ because it doesn’t stretch and I can set the hook better and faster.”
It is just a matter of time before Tom Biffle wins a professional tournament. His thirst for knowledge and dedication to perfection are helping him inch closer to his goals of making it on the B.A.S.S. circuit.