Tour's oldest rookie marches to own drummer

Have you ever heard a voice in the back of your head that just won't quit – one that guides you? Dave Gliebe hears it, and he embraces it when it comes to his fishing.

"That voice is why I've caught so many fish in so many tournaments," Gliebe said.

Don't let the voice throw you, Gliebe isn't crazy. In fact, he's is one of the most relaxed, laid-back and nicest gentlemen you'll ever meet.

To understand just what Gliebe means by "voices," it's important to know a little about the concept of "subliminal fishing." Gliebe uses subliminal fishing – or his subconscious – to guide him to the honeyholes when he's fishing.

"The way it works is that all of that fishing experience is in your subconscious. Everything you see, hear and smell when you're out there on the lake stacks up. I remember little details from lakes I fished 20 years ago. The trick is to force yourself to listen to those voices and not let negativity creep in," Gliebe said.

It's akin to any other activity that requires recognition without computation. Think of swinging a baseball bat. You see the pitch, recognize its type and movement, and you swing away or let it pass based on those variables and past swings.

Gliebe's terminology might be foreign to most bass anglers, and some of his methods have been considered unorthodox, but unorthodox is just his way. He's a well-decorated and ultra-respected angler, fishing the CITGO Bassmaster Tour as a 61-year-old rookie.

Don't let the rookie status on the Bassmaster Tour fool you, Gliebe has won numerous tournaments on a lot of different circuits, but he understands that to truly fish the big-time, there's no other place than the Bassmaster Tour.

"It's almost like starting over out here, but after a year I hope to have everything down pat," said Gliebe. "Now, the money has gotten really big out here, and I can't ignore that."

Gliebe should feel right at home despite the increased prizes. Over the years he's won cash, 45 boats, two trucks and a Cadillac for his angling efforts.

Back in the 1970s, Gliebe and flipping inventor Dee Thomas brought the long-rod technique east, establishing it as a method that every serious angler must have in his or her arsenal.

Gliebe won two BASS events and numerous other titles in the late 1970s, but decided to return home to California rather than keep fishing in the east.

"I left because I got tired of being away from home, and the money got bigger out west," he said.

When asked if he harbored any regrets for his decision to stop fishing the national tour years ago, Gliebe responded with a resounding no.

"I was really weary from driving all the time back and forth, and I missed my family. It was all kind of overwhelming, and I needed a break." Gliebe said.

His unorthodox career also included an attempt at writing a fishing book that eventually had to be scrapped after he gave his only manuscript to a man who presented himself as a friend of a publisher. Gliebe hasn't seen the man since and estimates that over twenty years of fishing knowledge and notes were contained in the text.

Fortunately, Gliebe doesn't let it get to him. At 61, his connection with his subconscious and his multitude of angling experiences are all he needs to be successful on the Tournament Trail.

"My age is not a big deal to me. I can still compete with the young guys," Gliebe said. "Sure, youth is good, but it's hard to beat experience."

In Florida, Gliebe didn't fare nearly as well as he wanted. He finished 72nd at the season-opening event on Lake Toho and 107th on the Harris Chain.

He rebounded, though, at Lake Guntersville, finishing 26th and missing the cut for the semifinals by a little more than four pounds.

Currently, Gliebe sits in 64th place in the CITGO Angler of the Year race, but with three events left, there's still plenty of fishing to be done.

When asked about the remaining tournaments, Gliebe said he felt extremely confident about the locations and that he's been hearing entirely different voices lately.

"When I was fishing Guntersville, I kept hearing this voice that said 'Clarks Hill, Clarks Hill, Clarks Hill'," Gliebe laughed.

Sponsors of the CITGO Bassmaster Tour include CITGO Petroleum Corp., Toyota, Busch Beer, Purolator, Triton Boats, Mercury Marine, Berkley, Lowrance Electronics, MotorGuide, Bass Pro Shops and Cialis (tadalafil).