Terry “Big Show” Scroggins has firmly established himself as one of the most consistent fishermen on the B.A.S.S. Elite Tour. Here’s what happens when Big Show meets the big show of the Bassmaster Classic.

If you’ve watched any Bassmaster Classic weigh-ins in recent years, you’ve probably seen Terry “Big Show” Scroggins cross the stage and flash his huge smile.

Scroggins, a Palatka, Florida pro who dominated St. Johns River tournaments for years before stepping up to the Bassmaster Tour (now the Elite Series) in 2003, will compete in his tenth Bassmaster Classic and ninth in a row at Oklahoma’s Grand Lake. Great years are becoming common for Scroggins, who finished the 2012 season third in points race.

“It’s the biggest event in professional bass fishing,” Scroggins said about the Classic. “I’ll tell you, though, it doesn’t seem nearly as big when you are competing in it as it does when you’re not and are looking in from the outside. I’ve been there, and it’s tough. It’s a big deal to me every time I make one. You have to be in it to win it.”

Scroggins has fished a couple of Grand Lakes event, including an Elite Series tournament where he finished 12th. Those were at different times of the year, though, so in a way it’ll be like fishing new water for him.

“It’ll be a different sort of tournament for most of us,” Scroggins said, “with really cold water temperatures.”

Scroggins spent four days looking around the lake before it went off limits to Classic competitors. He didn’t spend time fishing, knowing that what was happening then would have little to do with fishing in February. Instead, he rode all over the lake and watched his electronics, seeking structure and cover that he thought might come into play during late winter and marking a bunch of waypoints.

Definitely comfortable with a “Big Show” atmosphere, Scroggins enjoys the largeness of the Bassmaster Classic. He also likes the “all or nothing” approach of every angler in a tournament where winning is everything and no points are on the line.

Some bass pros are known for their ability to find limits. They consistently land in the money and high in year-end points. Others go for all the marbles and notch wins but also deliver more than their share of bombs. Big Show doesn’t seem compelled to choose. He’s finished in the money in more than 70 percent of the 149 B.A.S.S. events he has fished since 1999, has finished third in the Angler of the Year standings twice, and has been in the top ten in the season standings half a dozen times. He has five wins and 42 Top 10 finishes.

A decade or so of fishing on tour has taught Scroggins a great deal. More so than learning techniques or even strategies, though, he’s figured out the total approach that best suits his easy going, “it’s all good” personality.

“A big thing I’ve learned over the years is how to fly by the seat of my pants and to not get hung up on what happened yesterday,” Scroggins said. “That’s when I do best.”

Scroggins has learned to trust his instincts when he wants to abandon what he has been doing and make a big run or totally change approaches. He’s also learned to recognize when he’s in contention to win a tournament and when he just needs to go catch fish.

Scroggins’ first Bassmaster win came in 2001 on the St. Johns River, his home waters, in only the second B.A.S.S. event he ever entered. The next, at Lake Okeechobee, came two years later during his rookie year on tour.

Scroggins earned a check in all but one Elite Series event during the 2012 season. He caught lots of fish (about 40 a day) at Bull Shoals, where he didn’t make the cut, but could never get the kickers he needed to move up in the standings.

“Any time you end up third in the Angler of the Year race, you have to feel pretty good about the season. Still, I know that one tournament cost me the Angler of the Year title,” Scroggins said.

Scroggins’ best finish in 2012 was sixth place, which he accomplished twice. The first was the season opener on the St. Johns River. The other was the Mississippi River in Wisconsin.

Because Scroggins has been so dominant in Florida, having won four B.A.S.S. events within the borders of the Sunshine State and dozens of local events before that, he tends to be associated heavily with “Florida strategies” such as sight-fishing and punching mats of vegetation. Maybe because of his “Big Show” presence, big physical size and tendency to haul heavy bags to the scales, Scroggins also gets typecast as an angler who only likes to fish big baits.

The truth is though, that Scroggins is among the most diverse anglers on tour, and he actually spends quite a bit of time with a spinning rod in his hand. Past wins on Florida’s Kissimmee Chain and South Carolina’s Santee Cooper lakes – both places normally associated with big baits and heavy line – came via a YUM finesse worm.

Finesse strategies also played a very large part in Scroggins’ 2012 season. That doesn’t mean he’s a finesse fisherman. It means he does whatever seems best for the situation, seeking to never limit himself to a certain type of fishing.


Like most bass pros, Scroggins has his standby lures, many of which he has fished since his Florida-only tournament days. However, one new lure, a BOOYAH Pad Crasher frog, was one of the most important lures for him last season. It was his primary fish-catching lure at the Mississippi River, where he notched one of his two sixth-place finishes.

“It was a new frog for me that I didn’t know that much about, but it worked really well,” Scroggins said. “The Pad Crasher really did the job enticing strikes in the Mississippi’s backwaters. More importantly, it did exceptionally well hooking the fish that bit.”

So, will Scroggins spend the Classic fishing big or small? Old or new? Shallow or deep? Depends on the weather, the fish’s mood and what seems best to Big Show at that particular moment.