Realtree Fishing: 10 Questions with Mark Rose

Learn More About FLW's Angler of the Year

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Angler of the Year

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1 | Angler of the Year

Q. How does winning FLW’s Angler of the Year title rank among all your other accomplishments?

A. It ranks right up there as far as my fishing titles go, atop them all. I’ve won tournaments, and that’s great, but to know that you came out ahead of FLW’s best fishermen – that’s something special. In every FLW Tour event you typically fish against about 170 anglers and considering the talent that they represent, finishing at the head of the pack is awesome, but also humbling.

Professional bass fisherman Mark Rose capped a spectacular season in the FLW Tour by winning the Angler of the Year title for his consistent excellence competing against some of the best pros in the country. Here he is at the moment of triumph with his wife Christi and daughters Natalie and Hannah Grace. (Courtesy FLW/Photo by Charles Waldorf)

 

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Consistent Excellence

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2 | Consistent Excellence

Q. What’s your main occupation during the off-season – how do you unwind?

A. My main occupation during the off-season is pretty much being a salesman for every company whose products I endorse, including Realtree Fishing. I’m traveling a lot and doing the things that I need to do in the fall for as many sponsors as I can. I try not to do a whole lot from mid-November through the new year because I want to use that period for family time and enjoying the holidays and, most importantly, celebrating the meanings behind those holidays. We live in a country where we’re able to give thanks during Thanksgiving for the many blessings in life that the Good Lord has given us and then to celebrate the Savior’s birth at Christmas. During that period and all around then I’m also doing a lot of hunting. I consider that part of the family time because my girls hunt with me. If I never kill another whitetail buck or a duck, it’s OK, because seeing the joy on my kids’ faces when they do well is worth a whole lot more to me.

Mark Rose was introduced to the standing-room-only crowd at the Forrest Wood Cup championship in August as the reigning Angler of the Year, emblematic of consistent excellence in fishing. (Courtesy FLW/Photo by Andy Hagedon)

 

 

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Award Presentation

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3 | Award Presentation

Q. What’s your favorite type of hunting?

A. Probably whitetail deer; I bowhunt and gun hunt. If there was a slingshot season I probably would do that to. If they have any kind of season for deer hunting, I’m probably going to take advantage of it.

Mark Rose drew a standing ovation in August when he was presented to the standing-room-only crowd at the Forrest Wood Cup championship as the 2018 Angler of the Year. (Courtesy FLW/Photo by Matt Pace) 

 

 

 

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Angler and Hunter

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4 | Angler and Hunter

Q. Who’s your favorite hunting buddy?

A. I have two hunting buddies: my two girls. There’s Natalie, who’s a junior at the University of Arkansas, and Hannah Grace, who’s a seventh-grader. They’ve been hunting with me since each was about 8 or 9. My entire family has been hunters going back at least to my granddad and great granddad. As far as any of us has been able to tell, Hannah Grace is the youngest Rose to have ever killed a deer. She got it close to the Cache River Bottoms when she was eight-years-old. Heck, I didn’t get my first deer until I was 13 and Natalie was right along in there too.

Mark Rose at the Forrest Wood Cup championship award ceremony. (Courtesy FLW/Photo by Matt Pace)

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Bass and Deer

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5 | Bass and Deer

Q. How are hunting and fishing bass tournaments alike?

A. Closer than you might think. There’s a lot of correlation between deer and bass. Hunting or fishing, either is about learning to read critters – especially how they use habitat. In a way, bass and deer use the same type of areas: bottlenecks, funnels, feeding areas, and so on. In their own way, they use the same migration routes consistently. There are parallels in how the weather affects them and how they change according to the weather and the moon phases. Once you understand their ways it makes you a better deer hunter or a bass fisherman.

Mark Rose’s specialty is picking bass off deep ledges with crankbaits such as the one he’s shown tying on. (Courtesy Strike King/Photo by Darren Jacobson)

 

 

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Fishing and Hunting

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6 | Fishing and Hunting

Q. The best hunters are very observant and focused. It’s probably the same in fishing, isn’t it?

A. Absolutely. In preparation and sheer determination and focus – a lot of it is the same. I don’t believe that being successful at anything is just a matter of luck, though a lot of people seem to think that. There is an X factor of luck once in a while, but there’s a reason why some fishermen are successful year after year. There’s a reason why some hunters harvest giant whitetail deer year in and year out. It’s because of hard work, preparation, reading the outdoors and habitat and understanding what you’re seeing and learning how to use it to your advantage.

Though Realtree Fishing’s Mark Rose is known as an offshore ledge specialist, his ability to catch bass under a variety of circumstances has put him at the top of the tournament-fishing game. (Courtesy Strike King/Photo by Darren Jacobson)

 

 

 

 

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Baseball and Bass

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7 | Baseball and Bass

Q. In 1993, you joined the baseball team at Arkansas State as a slugging outfielder. When did you decide to become a pro-tournament fisherman instead of a major leaguer?

A. Once reality set in and I realized I was not going to make my millions in baseball, I decided it was time to go to work and get settled in life. I needed to make a living for my wife Christi and me. Out of college I worked as an executive with the Boy Scouts. Of course I was still competitive and tournament fishing filled the bill for my redneck desire. So competitiveness, a desire to make a living and fishing tournaments all collided back then. In my first major tournament I finished third and won $25,000. Now here I am.

Just as he was when he played college baseball, Realtree Fishing Pro Mark Rose is at the top of his game when it comes to catching bass in tension-packed tournament situations. (Courtesy Strike King/Photo by Darren Jacobson)

 

 

 

 

 

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Self-Taught Professional

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8 | Self-Taught Professional

Q. Early on, did you have a person who inspired you or taught you a lot about fishing?

A. Not really; I was pretty much self-taught. Back then I sort of followed the example of professional fisherman Mark Davis of Mount Ida, Ark. He started out as a guide and understood fishing and the business side of fishing better than most. You might say he was a mentor. Besides, he liked crappie fishing and bluegill fishing, which I do too. His demeanor and mine are pretty much the same. We’re just a couple of old country boys.

Mark Rose is one of the most popular bass tournament pros in the fishing ranks…and one of the most successful. (Courtesy Strike King/Photo by Darren Jacobson)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Next Big Goal

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9 | Next Big Goal

Q. You’re Angler of the Year and you’ve won almost $2.5 million in your pro career. What’s your next big goal in fishing?

A. My goal is always to be the best Mark Rose I can be every time I go out there, in whatever tournament it is. I try to prepare myself physically, mentally and spiritually. I have a motto: Fish hard, honor God and leave the results up to Him. I just go out there and do my best and be content with the results. The results will satisfy me if I have lived up to that motto.

Having won more than $2 million during his career, Realtree Fishing’s Mark Rose of Arkansas is one of today’s most successful bass tournament fishermen. (Courtesy Strike King/Photo by Darren Jacobson)

 

 

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Future Plans

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10 | Future Plans

Q. Any plans after your career in bass tournaments is over?

A. I’m 47 years old and figure I’ve got about 10 more good years fishing. Then I’ll ride off into the sunset with a yippee ki-yay like the Lone Ranger. Once I’m gone from the professional side of the outdoors, I’ll probably get more involved in outdoor ministry, which is a passion of mine. Reaching outdoorsmen to let them know how much Jesus loves them is my heartbeat.

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Realtree Fishing tournament pro Mark Rose ended a storybook season in 2018’s FLW Tour as he won the Pennzoil Angler of the Year title over some of the best bass fishermen on the planet. It wasn’t a big surprise to anyone, as Rose’s consistency has been a linchpin of his enviable career. Now that the season is over and the Arkansas pro is taking a breather from the stress and physical demands of tournament fishing, we thought it would be a good time to catch up on what’s happening in his world.