Who’s Hot? Tommy Skarlis!
Feb 11th, 2009 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Feb 11th, 2009 at 12:00 AM
2008 was a year of downs and ups for Evinrude/Ranger Pro Tommy Skarlis. He started the year with an ‘out of character’ April out of the money finish at the FLW Tour event on Erie. Tommy is known as ‘Mr.April’ for his many strong performances in April over his career including three PWT first place finishes. His 2002 finish with 138.28 pounds set an all time Walleye Tournament record, so after the 2008 Erie event, he expressed disappointment in the finish and vowed to cash some serious checks the rest of the year.
That’s exactly what Mr. Skarlis did.
Tommy Skarlis carries all the battle scars of a seasoned Walleye Pro. The ‘game’ isn’t easy and there’s bound to be more losses than wins, but Tommy’s always ready after a tough event to prove out his talent and win the next one.
Tommy began his career fishing the Masters Walleye Circuit in 1993. He and his partner Chad Kinkade took a team of the Year and Runner Up team of the year awards while qualifying for the MWC Championship six consecutive times.
“I went through my growth spurt late in life. In high school, I wasn’t very competitive at sports but I was very good at hunting and fishing. You didn’t have to be the strongest kid or tallest kid in class to fish so I focused on that and fell in love with it and the rest is history.”, Tommy said in an interview recently.
Tommy Skarlis entered In-Fisherman’s Professional Walleye Trail in 1996, and commanded immediate respect a s competitor by holding his own against a strong field of seasoned Pros, and by winning the 2004 Angler of the Year title and taking home 21 top-ten finishes. Tommy qualified for the PWT Championship thirteen years in a row.
His sponsors include Evinrude Outboards, Navionics, Ranger Boats, Berkley – Trilene, Gulp, and Powerbait, Lindy Legendary Tackle, Humminbird, Minnkota, Offshore Tackle, Optima Batteries, Fenwick Rods, Abu Garcia Reels, Otter Outdoors, Strikemaster Ice Augers, Drift Control, Reef Runner, Beckman Nets, Gemini Sport Marketing, and Tempress/Fish-On.
His 2008 performance continued with a 24th place Lake Sharpe finish followed by a second at the PWT on Saginaw Bay, a 5th at the PWT on Oahe, a 46th at the Cass Lake FLW, a 45th at the Bull Shoals PWT, and a 71st at the Bays De Noc FLW.
The PWT on St Mary’s River was the 2008 turning point. Tommy was fired up, animated, and ready to compete at the highest level, and expressed his competitive spirit several times during morning interviews with the media, saying it was a ‘Ricky Bobby’ thing…first or bust.
Only two weeks separated the PWT at the St. Mary’s River and the FLW Championship on the Missouri River. In an interview opening morning there, he said, “I need a good finish here. In fact, I need a WIN!” Tommy did just that, taking home a check for $150,000.00, which is, in his own words, “A lot of diapers!”
Tommy’s FLW Tour Championship win set the pace for a strong finish at the final PWT Regional and the PWT One Day Shootout Championship, taking a 3rd and 13th.
It’s a natural for him to be excited about the new AIM Tournaments, Tommy has been a leader in setting the bar for acquiring top shelf coverage of his career by the media, working with some of the top fishing and boating manufacturers, and working as an NPAA board member assisting Walleye Pros in general to maximize their overall public image with sponsors and the angling public.
What will Mr. April do to hold the pace he set during 2008? If his competitive spirit, willingness to step it up and set the pace for the day in morning media interviews, and hard fighting attitude are any indication, Mr. Skarlis will be one to watch in the Anglers Insight Marketing events for 2009.