Strike King’s Mark Rose’s $50,000 Bet That Paid Off
Editor’s Note: Mark Rose of Marion, Arkansas, fishes the FLW Tour, the FLW Stren Series (Central Division) and the PAA (Professional Anglers Association) tournament trail – a total of 20 tournaments each year. Rose has made the championship tournament for each of these trails. Entry fees and expenses for these 20 tournaments totaled about $50,000, and Rose was betting he not only could get his $50,000 back but also make enough money to take care of his family. Would you dig into your pocket and bet $50,000 that you could beat some of the best bass fishermen in the world in 20-different tournaments? Rose did. This week, we’ll learn what lures he bet-on this season and used to win.
Part 5: Strike King’s Rodent – Another Lure on Which You Depend
Question: Okay, Mark, this is your last lure. You’ve chosen the Shaky Head jig with a Finesse Worm, the Burner spinner bait, the Football jig and the Diamond Shad lipless crankbait. You’ve got one more lure that you can pick that you’d fish in all tournaments held all over the country in all weather and water conditions to put bass in your boat and help you win more than $50,000 a year. What’s the last lure in your five favorites?
Rose: The Rodent. I’ll never go to a tournament without four or five bags full of Strike King Rodents. I have so much confidence in this bait, because I can fish it so-many different ways and catch bass on it in so-many different ways. The Rodent is viewed by most as a bulky flipping bait. But I’ve used the Rodent on the Strike King Shaky Head jig and caught bass with it. Too, I’ve used it as a jig trailer. However, my favorite way to fish with it is with a 3/8-ounce slip sinker and a No. 5/0 hook on 20-pound-test fluorocarbon and pitch it around cover and in cover. My favorite color is the double header, a green-pumpkin/watermelon type color with some red flake in it. I like to fish it around any kind of cover like logs, brush, laydowns and rocks. It’s deadly under boat houses. There’s no place that you can’t pitch or flip the Rodent without bassing success.
You can swim the Rodent, drag it or use it as a falling bait. Since it’s not really big, it won’t intimidate a limit-sized bass. And yet, it’ll catch a lunker. The Rodent is one of those go-anywhere, do-anything lures that’s extremely versatile and consistently produces bass. I can fish it on ledges, I can flip it in holes in the grass, and I can aggravate a bedding bass into biting with it. When you’ve got to catch fish, the Rodent is just a hard bait to beat. Another reason I like the Rodent is that it’s different. It doesn’t look like most creature baits, and it doesn’t swim like most other creature baits and soft plastics. It’s a little-bitty fat boy. If you think about it, most flipping and pitching baits are either somewhat long and skinny or big and bulky. But the Rodent is a little bulky bait. It has a different swimming action with its flappers on the side, which also give it a different type of falling action.
When you fish the lakes that we fish during the tournament season, those bass have been beat-up for 4 days before the tournament even starts. They’ve seen all the lures in everybody’s tackle box. But during this 2009 tournament season, I’ve been betting that the bass haven’t seen the Strike King Rodent. Even if they have, they probably haven’t seen the Rodent in the double-header color. So I’m putting a new lure with a new color in a those bass they’ve never seen that bait before. That’s the reason I think I’ve been so successful fishing this particular lure.
Question: What advice would you give to weekend fishermen to help them catch more bass?
Rose: These are my five-favorite lures to catch bass anywhere, anytime under any weather and water conditions. So first of all, I’d say you need to have these five lures in your tackle box or tied onto rods on your casting deck anytime you’re on the water, because I do. The second piece of advice I have is anytime a lure manufacturer tells you that a lure’s designed for one purpose, immediately look at that lure and start trying to figure out the many-different ways you can fish it.
When a lure manufacturer says, “This lure is designed to solve this fishing problem,” that’s the way that 90% of the people who buy that lure will fish it. But if you look at the lure and say, “Okay, this is a Burner spinner bait. It’s designed to fish fast in clear water. But it’s also a spinner bait. So what other applications can I use with this lure to fish it in places and ways that most-other fishermen won’t be fishing the lure?
I’m always asked, “How can tournament pros come on to a lake and oftentimes catch more bass than the people who fish that lake every weekend?” There are many reasons, but one of those reasons is we’re fishing lures in different ways than most people use them. Too, we’re fishing lures in places where those lures haven’t been designed to be fished. Can you remember a time when no one will throw a crankbait into an underwater tree top or a brush pile? Yet today, most fishermen have found that they can catch bass by crashing that crankbait into that thick cover. That’s a classic example of tournament fishermen fishing a bait in a different place and a different way than most anglers were fishing it at that time.
Once recreational fishermen saw that they really could run a crankbait through thick cover, bounce it off that cover and catch bass, this tactic moved into mainstream bass fishing. Each one of Strike King’s lures has been designed to solve a fishing problem. We have learned that each one of the lures we fish with can solve many problems that most people never consider. This reason is why that my top-five lures to fish anywhere at any time under any water and a weather conditions may be different than someone else’s top five. All I have to say about that is, these lures produce bass for me, and that’s why I’ve picked them.