Guiding and Mentoring - Major League Fishing

Guiding and Mentoring

How I met my buddy Marky Mark
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Ryan Salzman Photo by Justin Onslow. Angler: Ryan Salzman.
July 20, 2020 • Ryan Salzman • Angler Columns

I hope everyone has stayed safe from the craziness of the world’s current events. It’s always funny how when you plan something, life throws you a curveball and redirects you. We had to put our lives on hold for basically three months. I am a fishing guide outside of tournament fishing, and it was awful. I had to cancel 32 trips at $500 a pop – I will let you do the math on that!

Now that we are back on track with fishing, and hopefully developing some normalcy to our lives again, I am excited to keep going with what I started talking about at the beginning of the year – mentorship of young anglers. I caught some flack, in the beginning, saying that mentorship is not something you should have to pay for, so I decided to take a look at that thought. There are tons of services where you can hire someone for their expertise and knowledge. A guide is certainly one of them, just like paying to be a marshal with FLW during one of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournaments! I loved being a marshal when I was in college. I got to ride with pros and learn from the best for multiple days for only $100!  I got to watch guys like Ish Monroe, Marty Stone, Marty Robinson and Byron Velvick to name a few. I still use the techniques I learned from watching them to this day while fishing the Pro Circuit.

So, back to the question of whether or not you can pay for someone to be a mentor? Of course! As a fishing guide, I am hired as a mentor every single day. We are hired to teach you new techniques, show you patterns for a tournament, teach beginner fishermen/fisherwomen the basics of fishing, and my favorite, take out aspiring high school anglers that want to venture into the world of professional fishing. You can never replace an organic friendship and mentorship, but through guiding, I have developed some genuine relationships with people that I think will make an impact on the bass fishing world and I l want to highlight some of those in this blog and upcoming ones.


Meet Marky Mark

The first angler I want to discuss is 13-year-old Mark Trant. I call him "Marky Mark." I met Mark during an outing at Pickwick Lake. Mark is a hammer. He’s No. 1 in the Angler of the Year standings for the 2020 Northwest Louisiana High School Fishing league (out of more than 140 teams). He’s got three top-five finishes, two top 10s, five top 20s and qualified for the 2020 Student Angler Federation High School Fishing National Championship. Now, I didn’t know all of that at the time, but I could immediately tell that Mark had a knack for just catching fish. We were on a ledge and I was about to start teaching him how to work a certain lure, when all of a sudden, he sets the hook and catches a 3-pound largemouth. He had a certain swagger or style to his fishing that you rarely see in a youngster. I was impressed. He ended up out-fishing me like three to one that day. He had a fish pushing 6 pounds and multiple over 4 pounds and I quickly realized I was taking notes from him! I didn’t tell him that though. But seriously, I tell everyone he is the next John Cox.

Mark sent me a few words and I’d like to share them with you below:

I met Salzman (who I jokingly like to call Salmon) in 2019 when I went pre-fishing for the FLW High School Fishing National Championship with him, my dad and brother. It was really cool getting to fish with a pro and I caught one of my biggest fish with him. It was one of the best fishing trips ever and we were catching fish every cast at one point. Salzman even helped us get our graphs and trolling motor back on track for the tournament. We clicked right away, and we kept in touch through Instagram. I came to the FLW Cup to see him weigh-in. It was clear I was one of his favorites, and at the Cup that proved to be true when he brought me on stage for his weigh-ins. It was unreal to be up there! It felt very cool to have a pro at the Cup knowing me and allowing me to be a part of something I dream of doing some day. He is a super nice guy and an excellent fisherman and takes the time to teach and guide others! I can actually say one of the best in fishing is a friend, and I've fished with him!  I look forward to catching up with him again on Guntersville or Pickwick soon.

Having Mark and his whole team meet me at the 2019 FLW Cup was awesome. We all made some great memories, and one of my favorites was definitely when I got to bring Mark on stage during weigh-in. He videoed the whole experience, and it is something I will never forget. I have made a fishin’ bud for life!

I hope that everyone enjoyed getting to know Marky Mark in this blog. The next blog is going to be Garrett Langlois. I met him fishing the bank one day, and it goes from there! If you guys want to follow me on social media you can go to my Instagram which is @albassguide.

‘Till next time, tight lines!

Ryan Salzman