Joe Diano is another great example of the youth movement in fishing. This young angler not only has proven himself as a successful angler but has also attracted the attention of a number of sponsors. Joe shares with us some of his favorite New York fishing strategies and the keys to his success as an angler.
I keep coming upon more and more northeast guys using big swimbaits. How and when are you fishing swimbaits as part of your approach to bass fishing?
Over the last few year’s big swimbaits have really started to become the next big thing in the fishing industry. At first, I was against using big swimbaits and wouldn’t invest the money in them. After seeing the size of the fish that my buddies have caught from using them and through social media, I gave in. I like to use big swimbaits during early spring for bed fishing and during the fall as well when the northeast waters start to get colder. Glide baits are another type of big swimbait that I like to throw and I will throw them year round.
When throwing the big swimbaits, I always say that you have to throw the bait with confidence that you know you are going to get a bite. Sometimes you can have a day, and catch 5 good fish, or you wont catch anything all day but one really good fish. I usually have one big swimbait/glide bait/top-water swimbait tied on at all times when fishing. Most of the time I don’t go out fishing all day with one swimbait, I do like to change things up, try different baits and different techniques.
What is your personal best largemouth? And what is the fishing story behind it?
My personal best largemouth weighed in at 7 pounds out of Deland, Florida at the Highland Park Fish Camp. My best friend and I were fishing with Shiners and I had tossed my shiner by a tree and it started to swim around at a faster pace then it normally does but it was not fighting. So I took a chance and set the hook. Little did I know that I was going to be a seven-pound momma and I had fought her for some time and then finally landed her. My heart was racing, hands shaking, but I was pumping full of adrenaline. After taking a few pictures, I released her and she just went right back to her home. Of course the next cast I caught a 6 pounder.
My personal best largemouth in New York was in private lake on the first day of a 3-day fishing weekend. It was a Friday night, right before a huge storm was about to hit and I flipped a weight-less stick bait into a lily pad group and felt a little tug. I set the hook into a 5 and a half pounder. She almost took my rod out of my hands and my rod was completely pulled under the boat. We then netted the fish, screamed and raced back to our dock and got the fish healthy. Took some pictures and let her go back in the spot we got her from.
As a young angler, you are on the pro staff of a number of companies. How have you promoted yourself and your fishing to land these sponsors?
As a 21-year-old angler, I have grown up over the years developing and creating a well liked, respectful and hard working reputation. It started with going to a fishing show and talking to different, smaller companies asking if they would be willing to take a chance on a up and coming angler that is eager to grow and learn and represent their company. I said I would help market their company through social media and tournaments and by word of mouth.
Who are your sponsors?
I am from Upstate New York. I fish all different smaller lakes and ponds around Albany and all the way down to Westchester, New York. Not many of the lakes that I fish are public or well known due to the fact that I don’t not have a motor boat that can get onto the bigger lakes. I like that the pressure on the lake from other fishermen is not heavy and that people do not abuse the waters.
What is your favorite technique for largemouth? Walk us through the specifics of that technique and how you approach it.
I would have to say that my favorite technique for largemouth would be fishing a chatterbait. The chatterbait really came into play when I started fishing in the colder water. Early spring and fall were the times of the year that I do the best but I started to throw it during the summer and continued to catch largemouth with it.
I would say that my favorite chatterbait company would be Zman’s. I like to throw it in the 3/8 size and either in black and blue, green pumpkin, or perch. I will only throw a swimbait trailer on the chatterbaits because I like to keep them swimming. Whether I have them moving slowly along the bottom, or in the middle of the water column they are constantly moving.
My favorite companies to use for trailers would start with Tuffbait, Eco Pro Tungsten, and Big Bites Baits. For my rod and reel setup, I use a 7’2 MH rod, a 6:6:1 baitcaster, I use 30 pound braid with a 15-pound fluorocarbon leader.
Same question but for smallmouth.
For smallmouth, my technique changes a little bit due to the conditions that I fish here in New York and also in Massachusetts. I take a super finesse approach towards smallmouth fishing and go with a Drop Shot.
We can start with my setup, I use a 6’10 ML drop shot rod, with a 5:2:1 gear ratio, 15 pound braid with a Fluorocarbon leader. The Fluorocarbon leader will either be 6,8, or 10 pound depending on the average size we are catching that day or what type of structure there is that I am fishing because I do not want to break off. My choice for drop shot baits always range. I would say my go to bait companies would be Keitech, Strike King, Roboworm, and Jackall.
You fished your first tournament this year. How was that for you?
The first tournament was a great experience. Unfortunately I did not place, but was very close to lunker of the tournament. I found that it was different than an average recreational day on the water because I was on a time limit to catch and that I was almost rushed to catch fish.
There was not much time to mess around with different lures and what not, everything was serious and we had to really make sure we watched the time we spent at each spot and each fish. My partner skunked didn’t have a bite all day so I was almost forced to take control and catch fish on my own. I felt that I would have done better as a boater because I would have been able to do my own thing, but at the same time I lacked experience in controlling and driving the boat and in tournament fishing.
What are your fishing goals for the future?
I plan to fish more tournaments in the future. I have to find a boat and or a partner to fish with for the tournaments with a boat. I have to finish up my college degree and land a full time job as well because my future is very important.
My other goals that I have for fishing in the future is to create a company and or work for a company that sells different products to consumers. I would say be a successful sales representative for several different companies.
You can follow Joe on Instagram to keep up with his fantastic fishing. Thanks Joe for letting us get to know you. Good luck with all of your future goals!