The first time Florida bass fishing legends Terry “Big Show” Scroggins and Peter “T” Thliveros met, Scroggins was 10 years old and mowing the lawn at Ditto Lure Company, where Thliveros worked as a teen pouring Ditto’s famous Fire Claws and Gator Tail worms.
Both youngsters had dreams of fishing for a living, but it’s doubtful they imagined back in 1979 that Peter “T” would later create a unique finesse Carolina rig that would put thousands of dollars in their pockets as pros.
Yes indeed, credit the “Petey rig” for a portion of the $4 million dollars the two best buddies have won as pros, including Scroggins’ Bassmaster Open win at Lake Toho, and Thliveros’ victory at the 2007 Bassmaster Memorial at Onondaga Lake near Syracuse.
“Yup, I’ve known Pete for 42 years. And anytime you’re struggling to get a bite, that Petey rig he came up with will save your butt,” insists Scroggins, who also shares a love of cooking and grilling with Thliveros.
It’s sort of a finesse Carolina rig without a glass bead or two-way swivel. Scroggins throws it on spinning tackle. He first slides a 1/8- to 3/8-ounce worm weight on his line, then adds two bobber stoppers immediately behind.
He keeps about 18 inches of line between the bobber stoppers and the hook – to which he most often attaches either a 5-inch Zoom Super Fluke or a Big Show Kicker Tail worm. Of course, you can adjust the distance between your worm weight and the lure by simply sliding the bobber stoppers up or down your line.
The main line on Scroggins’ spinning reel is 10-pound braid, but he ties it to a 10-pound fluorocarbon leader.
“You’d think since we’re Florida boys this would be a warm water largemouth rig, but it’s not,” Scroggins says. “It’ll catch smallmouth and spotted bass too. In fact, some of Pete and I’s best days with the Petey rig have been up north around aquatic vegetation.”
Scroggins says it really seems to shine in the fall of the year-round vegetation, but he can’t emphasize enough that much like a shaky head or drop-shot, the Petey rig is an all-seasons rig from north to south, hydrilla to rocks – anytime you need a bit of finesse to make ‘em bite.
“The whole key is to not get in a hurry,” he emphasizes. “The best way to get bites is to leave it dead still for a couple seconds between every short hop or drag. If you fish it slow and let that Fluke or Kicker Tail sit still for a couple seconds, that’s where the magic is.”
Thliveros worked as a chef for years in the family restaurant when not on the road competing, and Scroggins has been featured in his own grilling blog series. Neither men ever lack a healthy appetite. Scroggins says Pete can even cook a wild hog on a rotisserie that is “off the chain delicious.”
But when bass seem to lack an appetite you can bet both these veteran Florida pros will serve up a Petey rig as the featured menu item.