When Gary Klein made his way east from California at the tail end of the 1970s to enter BASS competition, he had a distinct advantage over the competition: He was one of the few practitioners of the flipping technique most of his adversaries hadn’t even heard of it.Fans of professional bass fishing may remember the rookie campaigns of Kevin VanDam and Timmy Horton as transcendent, but Klein’s inaugural season was every bit as stout. He won an event and finished second in the angler of the year race to Roland Martin.
It was Martin’s last AOY title, and Klein later claimed the crown, but that first season still weighs on him. He had led the race all season, only to see Martin claim first place on the last day.“I ended up one pound, fourteen ounces away. Since 1979 I have logged everything I caught, and I’ve logged missed opportunities. If I get ten bites, I want to touch ten fish. That’s what separates the polished pro from the weekend fisherman.
“I looked at my missed opportunities and had to figure out why they happened. The rod was definitely a part of it.”
Since that time, he’s been noted for his perfectionist tendencies. He’s also maintained many of his sponsors, companies like Quantum, Mercury, and Berkley (Trilene) for over two decades.
I started competing in bass fishing tournaments when I was a sophomore in high school. Back then, Western Bass was the association that I fished on the West Coast. I started fishing BASS in 1979. I won the second BASS tournament that I entered which was Lake Powell. I lost angler of the year to Roland Martin that year on the last day of the last tournament by a mere 1lb4oz. Since then, I have won the prestigious BASS Angler of the Year title twice.
I enjoy spending time with my family in the outdoors. I also enjoy exploring primitive survival skills. I am a highly skilled marksman Both of my girls are also outdoor enthusiasts. They hunt and fish! I would like to touch on this side of my life on the website.
- Hometown: Weatherford, TX
- Birth Date: October 11, 1957
- Occupation: Professional Angler
- Favorite Fishing Technique: Flipping
- Favorite Bait: BOSS football head jig with a Berkley Havoc MaxScent Creature Hawg trailer
- Favorite Lake: Lake Falcon, TX
- Fishing Tip: Never set the hook until you feel the weight of the fish
- Personal Quote: “You can only be as good as you allow yourself to be”
- Current Tours Fished: BASS Elites, Opens, and Major League Fishing
- Number of Years as a Pro: 36
- Largest Bass Caught: 13lb8oz
- Largest One Day Catch: 30lb1oz Lake Falcon, TX
2 BASS Angler of the Year Titles, 1989 and 1993
8 BASS Tour Titles
Top 10 BASS ‘All-time’ Money Winner
1 Major League Fishing World Championship Qualification
30 BASS Classic Qualifications
2 FLW Tour Titles
6 FLW Championship Qualifications
U.S. Open Champion
Gold Medalist ESPN Great Outdoor Games
2 Silver Medals ESPN Great Outdoor Games
World Championship Fishing Champion
World Championship Fishing All-time Money Winner
Ranked Top 10 ESPN Greatest Angler Debate
One of only two anglers to have won a BASS tournament in each of four decades
Only angler to qualify for the BASS Classic in each of five decades