At Home With Hank Parker

Hank Parker's Fishing Tips

A candid conversation with Hank Parker where talks about life, his key to success, and what's next for him. See Hank Parker like you never have before.



Glenn: Hey, folks. Glenn May here with And I'm sittin' here with Hank Parker. I don't have to introduce him, Hank Parker. 

Hank: Hello, guys.

Glenn: Hank, there's a lot of people on the forums that have questions. They wanna know what's going on with you. Let's go through some of these questions, see if we can answer a few. All right?

Hank: Well, I'm pretty transparent.

Glenn: Well, let's go through the first one here. This is from Dean from Tulsa, Oklahoma and he says, "If you've already left home for a day of fishing, what one item would you go back to get? You know, would that be sunscreen, insect repellent, your cell phone, sunglasses? What would it be?"

Hank: Well, I hate being honest, but you have to be. You know, I'd like to say, "Oh, I'd go back, get that sunscreen because I gotta take really good care...I don't want to deal with any skin cancer." I'd like to say, "Man, there is no possible way I could leave home without my Solar Bat Sunglasses. I gotta have 'em." 

But truthfully, as I got five or six pair in my boat for the simple reason I don't wanna ever be without 'em, but I would have to go back to get that stupid cell phone. I can't get away from it and they'll never know how you could have an emergency call. You know, you gotta get some help out there. So, I have to have that cell phone. So, if I left my phone, unfortunately, I'd turn around and go back and get it.

Glenn: Now, you're not going to play video games and things like that on it?

Hank: Well, I'm not going to say I won't. I'm not making any promises, but I gotta say...well, Martha, might need more and get a hold of me and hey, if Martha calls...

Glenn: Well, you better have your phone with you. 

Hank: Oh, yeah.

Glenn: Absolutely. 

Hank: Yeah, that's right.

Glenn: Have you ever accidentally left the boat at home?

Hank: Left the boat at home?

Glenn: Yeah?

Hank: No, never left it, but I'll tell you what I have done. I've gone to the tournament site a week early, there wasn’t any boats in the parking lot. I'm thinking, "Where's everybody at? Oh, that's next week." So, that's as bad as leaving the boat home.

Glenn: Yep. I hear ya. Well, let's move on to the next question here. It's from Seth Duffy from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and he said, "Would you fish another big money tournament if you had the opportunity?"

Hank: No, I wouldn't. I think Fritz took advantage of it. Several of the Classic winners, they gave everybody the opportunity. I think this year was the first year, it might be last year that was a former Classic winner to come back and face the Elites if you wanted to do that. And several of the guys took advantage of that. 

Bass fishing and tournament fishing are two different things. I love to bass fish as much as I ever have. I'm more knowledgeable than I've ever been, but I'm not as sharp as I once was. I'm not as competitive as I once was. And physically, I could not get back to that level. Mentally, I couldn't get back to that level.

When I fished, I was so incredibly intense. I thought about it day and night. I set strategies day and night. I was what I was. I wasn't the best fisherman, but I worked as hard or harder than 99% of the other guys. I really pushed myself, and I'm not at that point in my life, so I wouldn't want to taint my record. I think I finished in the money 76% of the time, more than any other angler in the history of bass or at least for a period of time. I don't know where we are now. 

Kevin VanDam is just phenomenal. I don't know what his record is, but mine was pretty good for consistency. I couldn't do that today, so I wouldn't wanna taint who I was from a tournament perspective to who I am now. And on a short-term basis, I'm just as competitive as I ever was, but long-term, I'm not and I know that. I'm not as good a fisherman as I was. More knowledgeable, but all around, I'm not as good as I was.

So, I wouldn't want to...if I can't and that's why I wanted to retire when I did. I retired at 36 years old. I was on the very top of my game, but I had television and the one thing that I had, I had demands from my children that they needed. Moms do a awesome job with boys and girls till they get to a certain point, but when those little boys get 12 and 13 years old, they need their dad. My kids wanted to race go-karts. And so, I was so torn that mentally, I couldn't give it 100%. I needed to be home, and I was on the road. And I didn't wanna be on the road. I wanted to be home with my kids.

And so, I couldn't give it all that I had. My philosophy in my whole life has been 99 is not a good number if 100 is achievable. Shame on you if you leave anything layin' on the table. Give it all you've got. And I'm not in the position to do that now, so I couldn't be as competitive as I once was. So, why mess up your record with a halfhearted effort? So, I wouldn't go back if it was a $10 million prize. I wouldn't go back and compete for it even if they gave me a free entry in it. I just wouldn't do that.

Money has never been the motivator for me to compete. People say, "Well, how did you approach fishing the Bassmaster Classic or that Super Tournament or this tournament. I approached it just like I did at club tournament. It was just as important for me to win that club tournament as it was the Bassmaster Classic.

Man, I wanted to win. If I was out there and I was competin', I wanted to win. Club tournament or Classics, it's no different. It's about competin' against the fish and wanting to win and that's where I was. So, really, money has never been the big motivator. I love the money. Don't get me wrong. I like money. It works out good, and it pays bills, and it allows you to do different things, but that's not been my motivator. And if I can't give it my best, I don't wanna be there.

Glenn: Got it. It makes total sense. Thanks for that answer. That was a great answer. I appreciate that.

Let me move on real quick to the next one. This is from George Greb from Davie, Florida, and he said, "I grew up watching your show as much as possible, it was always my favorite. The kids are always a big part of the program. What are they doing now, now that they've grown up and they have families of their own and their careers?"

Hank: I am a very blessed man. I have wonderful children. Hank Junior has four children, two girls, and two boys, beautiful wife named Wendy. Billy is married to a beautiful girl named Laura, no children yet. I keep working with them. My son Ben is currently divorced, dating a wonderful, beautiful lady named Kelly, and he's doing well. 

Billy and Hank Junior, I should have said, were host in a hunting show together called "Hank Parker's Flesh and Blood." So, we worked together on the hunting side. Ben is a financial consultant. My son Timmy is a bodybuilder and a personal trainer. He also does a little cage fighting and a little boxing, which I'm not...I don't want him to get hurt, but he's a really good personal trainer. He has re-upped and he's not like his dad at all. He's got it under control.

And my daughter Lucy, who is awesome, she has a photography business, married to a great guy, my son-in-law, Steven. And they have two girls, Lilly and Ellie, and they're doing great. So, I've got all these kids that have got different careers going in different directions.

Now, Ben, my son Ben, he wanted to be a professional fisherman. And he just decided last year that he was goin' to get a real job and give that dream up. He worked at it really, really hard. And Ben put so much pressure on himself and everybody's, "Well, you're Hank Parker's son. You should do as good as your dad." And it was just too much pressure on him. Man, he's a great stick and he whips me just about every time we get in the boat. He whips me.

Somehow, from the blast off gun goes off, he gets too anxious to put a limit in the boat and he's over here, over there, over there. He just never has quite got in that groove, but he's a heck of a fisherman. And I hate that it didn't work out, but he's decided now. He's gonna work in the financial field and give up his dream of being a professional fisherman.

Glenn: That's great to hear how well they're all doing.

Hank: They're doing great.

Glenn: I remember watching the show when I was a kid and Lucy was on there. Lucy, Lucy, Lucy, that was a great show.

Hank: Sweet little Lucy.

Glenn: That's right. Great memories. Wow.

Hank: Timmy told me one day. He said, "Dad, I know why you named her Lucy." I said, "Why?" He said, "That's short for Lucifer." She gave us boys a hard time. I had one girl and four boys and she ruled the roost, buddy. 

Glenn: That's awesome. Fantastic. Well, let me get to the last question here. 

Hank: All right.

Glenn: It's Jake from Santa Ana, California and he says, "Which fishing technique, in your opinion, seems like..." Let me try this again. "Which fishing techniques, in your opinion, seem like a local thing in one part of the country, but once found by tournament fishermen, spread the fastest nationwide?"

Hank: Well, there's two that come to my mind. One was the little Carolina rig that Jack Chancellor made famous called a "Do-Nothing." That thing just took off, but it was a little four-inch worm that really was birthed in Gastonia, North Carolina, became famous on Lake Wylie. So, it was just totally local. Anytime I went in in place, nobody knew anything about it and there was a doctor there named Dr. Walker. So, it was a Dr. Walker Worm. And it was just real hot on Lake Wylie, but nowhere else.

And then Jack Chancellor started fishing with it and caught just tons of fish on it. He called it the Do-Nothing, just Carolina rig it and drag it and don't do any finesse with it. Don't shake it, just drag it. And it had two little exposed hooks and that thing went nuts, man. He won the Classic on it in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, that little Do-Nothing Worms.

So, that's one and the other is Bobby Garland. Now, I heard you say today earlier that Guido Hibdon is the one that came up with the Gitzit. Actually, that was Bobby Garland. Guido brought it to life and gave it just tons and tons of exposure, but it was just a California bait, was primarily hot on a couple of California lakes and Lake Mead in Nevada and also Lake Powell in Arizona. 

And that was about it. Bobby Garland was pretty famous there, but he's the one that came up with that tube and that thing caught fire. Somehow, I don't know, there are some rivalry between the West and the East, but I'm going to tell you that the West Coast guys, man, flippin', pitchin', drop shot, tubes, all that's West Coast stuff, and that is such a huge part of my arsenal today is all this West Coast innovation.

So, it's arguable that there are several different baits that were local baits that caught fire, but the two that come to my mind personally is that Do-Nothing Worm, that little four-inch worm that Jack Chancellor made famous and won a world championship on, and then Bobby Garland's tube.

Glenn: Absolutely. Wow. Fantastic talking to you, Hank. I really do appreciate it a lot. Thanks guys for submitting those questions and if you have any...What you guys gotta do? You gotta go check out Hank's site. You gotta go to Check out all those tips, tricks. There's videos. There's articles. There's a whole bunch...there's a wealth of knowledge on there that you guys gotta tap into. It's really great reading and watching videos, too. Tons of stuff out there, so, go out and enjoy it. 

And if you wanna get notified the next time we post one of these videos, just subscribe to our YouTube channel. Thanks for watching. Have a great day.

Hank: See you, guys.