Todd Goade: “I don’t consider myself a professional angler”
He might not think so, but there are a lot of other angler’s around who would strongly disagree.
Meet Suwanee’s Todd Goade, one of the long-time big sticks on Lake Lanier and BFL’s Savannah River Division (Todd finished 6th in February’s initial kick-off on Keowee, a lake that’s similar to Lanier with big spots, his speciality). The east Tennessee native has won more than $100,000 fishing in his 30-year fishing career.
Georgiabigsticks.com caught up with Todd just after his 6th place finish at the BFL’s initial Savannah River Division event on Lake Keowee. He was preparing for the Bulldog Division’s Lanier Tournament coming up on Feb. 27th.
GBS: How long have you been tournament fishing?
Goade: About 30 years.
GBS: How many tournaments have you fished?
Goade: Too many to count, but I’ve had my share of wins and Top 5’s.
GBS: What was your best fishing moment of 2015?
Goade: Catching a 20lb bag of spots in 2 hours on a double fluke rig of Zoom super Flukes.
GBS: Are you serious?
Goade: Absolutely. I caught em in about two hours! I had fished around about 7 or 8 places and hadn’t caught a fish. It was in October and they should have been biting. I was sitting in the boat and I thought I’d try a few places that I hadn’t fished in years and tie on a double-fluke rig. The first place I came to on the very first cast I threw that rig and twitched it one time and a 5.24 spot rolled on it. On the next stop I doubled up and actually had three doubles within two hours.
Todd Goade’s double on a ‘double’.
GBS: Were you fishing in the creeks or off-shore?
Goade: It was off-shore. I mean, it was just stupid (laughing).
GBS: What is your favorite Georgia lake?
Goade: Lanier. I love the deep offshore structure and spotted bass fishing.
GBS: What is your favorite lake outside Georgia that you have fished and why?
Goade: Keowee (South Carolina). And, for offshore spotted bass Cherokee Lake in Tennessee for smallmouth and largemouth bass. One of the reasons I fish the BFL Savannah River Division is that those lakes just sort of fit my eye. I like the way they set up.
GBS: How about your background?
Goade: I grew up outside of Kingsport, Tennessee and my Dad got me started in fishing when I was six. My first bass was a five pounder in a farm pond on a top water bait. I went to high school at Sullivan South and College at East Tennessee State University. I won the first bass tournament I ever fished at the age of 16 on Boone lake in Johnson City. There are 86 boats in the Springfest Tournament, and I had 16.54 lbs. and won $1,500. That was a lot of money in 1986 and being a senior in High School!
GBS: What’s the biggest fish you’ve caught in a tournament? Outside a tournament?
Goade: My biggest tournament bass was an 8-12. Outside of tournaments, I had a 10-2 and lost a 13 plus at Lake Fork in 1993.
GBS: Have you ever lost a big one that might have cost you a tournament? When & where?
Goade: Plenty….but I mostly remember these two. I lost a four pounder that cost me winning a boat by two ounces and lost one fish in two different tournaments in the 2014 BFL Savannah River season that cost me Angler of the Year.
GBS: Do you have sponsors?
Goade: Yes, they include Evinrude, Zoom Baits, Fitzgerald Rods, Gwinnett Marine, tackleexperts.com, Greenfish Tackle and ZDecals, who did my boat wrap. My sponsors are terrific–and I work hard to try and do a good job representing them at tournaments.
GBS: That’s a great looking wrap you’ve got!
Goade: Thanks, I’ve had a lot of compliments on it. I think it’s one of the best looking ones out there.
Todd Goade’s wrap is one of the best around. You will see it often on display at BFL events and other major tournaments. The wrap was done by ZDecals. Todd told us that he has some great partners in the industry.
ZDecals in Flowery Branch did the carpet decals on Todd Goade’s boat.
GBS: You’ve got some very fine sponsors. What’s your secret?
Goade: Some of it is my marketing background–and I’ve been in sales most of my life. I try to be very responsive and I ask them what their needs are. I try to keep something in the cycle–where it can go from a prospect to a sale and I hope I carry that over to the fishing world as well.
GBS: Is this part of being a professional fisherman?
Goade: Dave, you’ve called me a professional angler but I really don’t consider myself one. I don’t make my living fishing. My definition of professional bass angler is one who is paid by their sponsors and whose primary source of income comes from fishing. I have a great ‘day job’ that is my primary income (Editor’s note: Todd is a National Sales Manager with the 3rd largest pest control provider in the U.S.). I don’t consider myself a pro–but I’m really more of a regional angler who with some marketing skills and an ability to promote product has developed some good relationships with people in the fishing industry.
GBS: Can you provide a little info about your family life?
Todd & Samantha Goade
Goade: I’m married with 2 daughters. Our 14 year-old plays softball and is a lefty pitcher. I plan my tournament season this time of year and get the events on the calendar. With softball and time with the wife and family it is a balance.
GBS: Who is your favorite top tournament anglers (either FLW or B.A.S.S.)? Why do you like them?
Goade: Larry Nixon – the perfect professional. Jayme Rampey, a good friend. I also like Randall Tharp, who works hard for his sponsors and appreciates them. Ott Defoe is a fellow East Tennessean whom I have fished against.
GBS: In your opinion (excluding yourself) who are the Top 4 or 5 pro fishermen in Georgia?
Goade: Chris Baxter, Mark Hardin, Tony Couch, David Nichol, Paul Marks, Trent Gober, Jody Cordell and Brad Wiley. There are so many good ones out there.
GBS: What’s the most amount of money you’ve won in one tournament and on what lake and which tournament trail?
Goade: I once won $20,000 on a North Carolina team trail. That was back in 1995.
GBS: What is your ultimate goal in fishing?
Goade: To be recognized as a good guy in the sport who promoted it in the proper way for sponsors and people getting started in it such as youth or co-anglers.
GBS: What’s the best fishing advice you ever got?
Goade: It was from Larry Nixon- “On a lake you’ve never been to, take it in sections and dissect each section like it is its own lake, you’ll figure it out quicker.”
GBS: What one thing do you see less experienced anglers do?
Goade (laughing): Cast in front of me! Seriously, a lot of times they use the same bait the pro uses instead of something else that will work, and sometimes two of the same bait works negatively. Also, a lot of times they switch baits too frequently, re-tying and wasting tournament time instead of sticking with something they know will work or what the pro has recommended.
GBS: What do you consider your fishing strengths and weaknesses?
Goade: My strength is deep structure offshore spotted bass fishing, although growing up in East Tennessee I fish shallow a lot, too. My weakness would be deep cranking.
GBS: What are you goals for 2016?
Goade: To qualify for the FLW Regional on Lake Hartwell, and cash a check in 50% of events I fish this year.
GBS: Which tournament trails will you fish this next year?
Goade: I will fish the BFL, and some of the Boating Atlanta events.
GBS: Do you guide on any of the Georgia lakes? If so, how can people reach you?
Goade: Occasionally on Lake Lanier, go to my website www.toddgoadefishing.com
GBS: How many days a month are you on the water (on average)?
Goade: About 10-12 days a month from January-June.
GBS: Thanks for your time, Todd. Good luck this year.
Goade: Thanks very much.
(Photos courtesy of Todd Goade)