Mastering the Bassmasters

ANDERSON, S.C. — Mike Golic has fished enough to know he didn't want to fish on Thursday.

 He had planned to spend two hours on Lake Hartwell at the Bassmaster Classic, where he'll be streaming Mike and Mike in the Morning from Friday, but it was 38 degrees and raining.

 He and BASS pro Jason Quinn fished for about half an hour with no luck (his radio partner Erik Kuselias might have had more luck), but it did give him more perspective into what it takes to fish for a living.

 "I can really appreciate what these guys do out here, fishing in all elements," Golic said. "It's their livelihood just like football was my livelihood."

 Golic played nine years in the NFL (1986-1993), split up between the Dolphins, Eagles and Oilers, but now he works as co-host of Mike and Mike in the Morning and as an analyst on NFL Prime Time.

 He said his dad taught him how to fish for bluegill, and he's doing the same for his own children (Mike 18, Jake 17 and Sydney 13) adding, "There's nothing better than a kid fishing."

 While he was in the NFL, he owned a house in Orlando and frequented Lake Toho, looking for bass. At his current home in Bristol, Conn., he said he looks to the trout to feed the addiction. He'll fish for just about anything, inshore or offshore, big or small.

 "I just love it," he said. "This wasn't the ideal day on the lake, but even short fishing trips are great. I just like putting a line in the water. I love the waiting on the fish to strike — the anticipation."

 Golic said he doesn't follow the tour closely, but he does watch the shows on ESPN2 and has met a few of the anglers before. A few years ago, he met Timmy Horton when Golic was arguing fishing with his regular co-host, Mike Greenberg, who was being "a complete idiot about it, obviously," and they had to bring in Horton to settle the dispute.

 His other exposure to the anglers was with Skeet Reese, who was on the radio show in Bristol after winning the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year title in September.

 "The pros in this sport are a lot different than the pros that play in the majors [football, basketball, baseball]," Golic said. "Those athletes are put on a pedestal from an early age, so it's typical for them to feel a distance from the fans.

 "These anglers aren't like that and you get to meet them as a person. They're a lot like the NASCAR drivers; They don't put themselves above the fans."

 Golic's first encounter with professional fishing was in 1989 when he was one of a few NFL players participating in a four-day charity event with professional anglers.

 "I watched them scouting the lake and all the preparation that's involved," Golic said. "What an education that was. I really earned an appreciation for what these guys do."

 He talked more about in and outs of fishing while he was on the water with Quinn, so he "wouldn't sound like an idiot" when teaching his kids. Even with the low pressure environment and short day, Golic said he felt the pressure of sharing a boat with a pro.

 "It was weird because as a former professional athlete, I didn't want to embarrass myself in front of another pro," he said. "I didn't want to cross the line or backlash. I wanted to catch a fish, but I also didn't want Jason walking away thinking, 'that guy's such a tool.'"