This past Sunday, Mark found himself standing on the weigh-in stage on the shore of Lake St. Clair. His wife and two girls with him. This time, he was the angler hoisting the AOY hardware towards the heavens.
The 2018 season of the FLW started with a good feeling for Mark Rose. It would mark his 20th as an FLW Tour Pro. He has made a name for himself as one of the best, and most consistent anglers in the world and in the process had some close-calls with the coveted Angler of the Year title. He has ended the season in the top 10 in the points of 6 occasions prior to this year.
I had a chance to talk to Mark soon after his crowning as the 2018 FLW Pennzoil Marine Angler of the Year. He was finishing a morning jog and was his normal, soft-spoken self. I asked him a few questions about his season and his accomplishment. Let me share the conversation with you.
Was, or is, the AOY title a goal for you this season or prior seasons?
“The only goal I have a as a professional bass fisherman is to be the best me that I can be every day. That means tournament days, practice days, days at home with my family. It’s a 24/7, 365 deal that ensures I end up right where I’m supposed to. If I do that, I am completely at peace with the result. My only real goal is to glorify God every day. The rest will fall into place.”
“I don’t have title goals. I fish for more reasons than a paycheck.”
You’ve been very close to winning AOY before. Was there anything different about this year as compared to past seasons?
“I really had a good feeling coming into this year. Oddly enough, that had nothing to do with the schedule. I literally felt good. Last year I ran into some carpal tunnel issues that plagued me late in the season and it affected my performance. Coming into this season I was healthier and felt better than I had in a while.”
Were there any specific moments throughout this season that you either thought you had it won, or lost?
“Actually, on Day 2 at St. Clair there was a moment like that. I was dragging a Coffee Tube around on a flat and a I drifted over the prettiest arch you’ve ever seen. It was set up just right. I reeled my tube in and dropped it on the fish and immediately my line jumped. I set the hook on a sold 4 and a half pounder. My first thought was “This fish will seal the deal for me”. That was about 5 seconds before it came unbuttoned right at the boat. I vividly remember thinking to myself “Either I just lost AOY, or that fish wasn’t going to ultimately matter”. It was a very standout moment from a mental standpoint. As it turned out, I obviously didn’t need that fish and was God’s plan for me to win.”
Was there a turning point in the season when you believed you would win?
“As I’ve said, I really don’t fish for titles, so I don’t dwell on it. But, as it’s my job to perform well, I always know where I am in the points standings. If there was a specific turning point in the season where I believed that I would win AOY it had to be at Kentucky Lake.”
“Kentucky Lake has always been my ally. It has been the place that I could always count on a good finish. It just suits my strengths and style. Well, this year, after practice, that didn’t seem to be the case.”
“I actually dug myself into pretty big hole the first day. I let the carp deal intimidate me and change the way I fished day 1. It was apparent what I had to show for it. So, I went into day 2 with a totally open mind. I just went out and applied my knowledge and equipment. I went looking like it was day 1 of practice and I found enough to make up some ground and make the cut. I eventually finished 5th and undoubtedly that event was a huge turning point for not only my season, but for my career. I just put my faith in God’s plan for me, my ability and my equipment. The results gave me a new level of confidence.”
What does winning the Angler of the Year title mean to you and your career?
“On the surface, it really just means $100,000 goes into my bank account. I don’t say that arrogantly, but I’ve said all along, I don’t fish for titles. They just come when I fish well. I am completely confident in where I stand with the Lord, with my family and in my career. That’s what I measure success by.”
“On the other hand, the AOY title means credibility in some ways. I hope it gives me more credibility to tell people about Jesus. I also hope that it better enables me to promote my sponsors. They are what makes this entire sport happen. Folks like Strike King that have been with me every single cast of my career. I really hope that this accomplishment benefits them. If this AOY allows me to share how their products will make someone a better angler, or help them make a lifelong memory, it has served its purpose.”
On behalf of Strike King, congratulations Mark. You have certainly earned this prestigious title and it couldn’t have been awarded to better angler or guy.
Follow Mark and other Strike King FLW Pros as they compete in the upcoming 2018 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita in Hot Springs, AR on August 10-12.