Q&A with Marshall Robinson: ‘I’d been dreaming about going pro since I was 4-5 years old' - Major League Fishing

Q&A with Marshall Robinson: ‘I’d been dreaming about going pro since I was 4-5 years old’

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Mercury pro Marshall Robinson will carry on the family tradition in 2024 when he joins dad Marty on the Bass Pro Tour.
November 11, 2023 • Matt Naber • Bass Pro Tour

Be it on the dance floor or the water, 2024 Bass Pro Tour rookie-to-be Marshall Robinson will bring a level of finesse next season that’s uniquely different from that of his father, 17-year tour-level pro and BPT veteran Marty Robinson

Just before turning 20 in August, Marshall was crowned the Tackle Warehouse Invitationals Polaris Rookie of the Year and qualified to fish alongside his dad on the Bass Pro Tour. Shortly thereafter, younger brother Mitchell confirmed that he’ll join Marshall and Marty in some Toyota Series competitions in 2024. It’s been an exciting, heady time for the young Mercury pro as he prepares for his first year on the biggest stage in the sport. 

In August, you earned Polaris Rookie of the Year on the Tackle Warehouse Invitationals and qualified to fish the Bass Pro Tour in 2024. Describe what you were feeling onstage after you’d been given the trophy. 

MR: Rookie of the Year felt super good. It was a feeling of relief to know all the work I put in paid off. You only get one shot at Rookie (of the Year), and I knew I’d never have another opportunity to go for it. BPT felt like a dream come true. No joke, I’d been dreaming about going pro since I was 4-5 years old. 

It’s pretty remarkable that you’ve qualified to fish the highest level of professional bass fishing after only one year of fishing as a full-time pro. When you were a kid, dreaming about being a pro, did you ever imagine it would happen this soon?

MR: I’ve thought about it, and it’s pretty amazing to be one and done and not have to face much adversity as far as failures. It built my confidence up for next season, so I feel like I can accomplish anything now if I really work for it. I didn’t know (it would work out like that), all I knew was I really trusted myself and had worked my whole life and I wasn’t going to let myself get out-worked. I was going to work harder than anyone else and not let it be on me if I failed.  

What’s going through your mind as you prepare for your Bass Pro Tour debut next season?

MR: I’m super excited since it (the schedule) just came out. I’m (already starting) to plan out the pre-fishing for each event. 

Are there any places on the schedule that you’re especially excited about? 

MR: I’d say there’s two that got my attention. One would be Santee (Stage Two) because I fished one big tournament there and finished fifth, and it had been cut short, but I felt like I could win it. It’s hard for that to happen, where there’s a feeling like that with all the good anglers out there. The other is Dale Hollow (Stage Three). I’ve never been there, but my buddy Jack Daniel (Williams) won there, and Drew Gill talks to me about it. You can really mix it up with (LiveScope) and blind cast, and it has big smallmouth and big largemouth, and the water’s clear and it’ll be cold, so it sets up to my strengths. 

You had an interesting rookie season. You started with a Top 20 at Okeechobee, stumbled pretty hard at Eufaula at Stop 3, but then rebounded with a third-place finish at Stop 4 at Lake of the Ozarks. What was going on during that point in the season and how did it influence the remainder of the season?

MR: Eufaula is definitely where I stumbled, but the craziest thing is that was one of my best practices, so it sucked to not put it together at the tournament. I knew I’d hurt my shot to make the BPT and had a lot of work to do and didn’t have any room for error and would have to put my work in – and it ended up paying off with three really good tournaments. I really saved myself at the Potomac. I was 111th on Day 1 and came back with a better bag on Day 2 and moved up to 28th. Looking back, it was my best single day of fishing. It meant the most and had the biggest effect out of any other day I’ve had. 

You’ll get another crack at Eufaula in 2024 on the Bass Pro Tour. What’s the plan next time around?

MR: I feel good, like I don’t feel lost or at a disadvantage. I think I rushed myself and fished too fast and fished over the bass, so when I go back, I’ll figure out where to hit and at what speed and if I need to finesse. If I can put the puzzle together, I feel like I can have a good tournament there.  

You learned the basics from your dad but have grown into your own style of fishing. What are the differences and similarities in your fishing styles?

MR: I’m sure without even knowing it that I have some habits from him, but for fishing style, he moves fast if he needs to but likes to fish slower-moving baits. He likes to throw a jig or crawl a blade runner or shaky head, and it seems like he’s always dragging something. But I like to cast and wind. It’s not that I don’t have patience; I just have so much anticipation. If I have a ChatterBait and crankbait, I feel like I cover more water and improve my chances of hooking a fish. I’d also say that even though I learned to fish from instinct, I like to catch on my LiveScope. But my dad has so much history and knowledge that (LiveScope) collides and messes with his confidence. 

Aside from your dad, who else have you learned from?

MR: My dad is the main one, and I fished with Terry Scroggins some and Casey Ashley a few times. I also fished with Jonathon VanDam and talked to a lot of those guys while growing up. Kevin VanDam gave me some pointers and advice, and it’s cool to hear from him because everything he is saying is super good to know since he’s considered the best to ever do it. 

In addition to the BPT with your dad, you’ll also get to fish with your younger brother, Mitchell, on the Toyota Series in 2024. Your family has to be excited about that, right?

MR: We’ve looked forward to this for so long. Any fishing tournament is fun, and I enjoy competing, but it makes it even more enjoyable if the whole family is there and you’re fishing against each other. And, when the day is over, you tell stories. It makes the whole experience better, like you’re having fun again even though you’re competing. If the competitive aspect takes over, it takes the fun out of it, but with your brother and dad there, it brings the fun back into it. 

Do you and Mitchell have a sibling rivalry? 

MR: We do have a rivalry, but we’re pretty good about not getting aggravated with each other and don’t let it get in the way of our friendship. If he pulled up on me, it wouldn’t bother me. When we were younger, we were more for our parents to deal with. We would argue and were hot-headed and got into fistfights over a dang fish. 

What’s your favorite technique and bait – the one thing you’d love to fish 365 days a year?

MR: A ChatterBait, that’s my favorite way to catch them. 

What’s the most important lesson you learned this season that you’ll apply to the 2024 BPT?

MR: I’d definitely say the most important lesson is to stay with it and it’s never over. If I had given up on myself, the season would’ve been over at Eufaula – but it’s not over until the last cast of the last tournament. It’s a big mental game, so keep casting until the last minute is up. People think some guy has it, but then it will blow your mind how quick something will happen if he has a bad day and you catch some. You have to stay on your game. 

You’ve decided to go straight into pro fishing instead of doing college first, but do you plan to go to college later? What are your career plans/goals?

MR: Nah, I’d say one of the best things I had going is my dad owns a plumbing business, so coming out of high school the plan was to work with him and start fishing. I did that instead of college because in plumbing you don’t need a college degree. It was one of the best decisions I have made in my life. 

Your dad’s nickname is Marty “The Party” and he’s known to bust a move onstage. Can you dance, too?

MR: Oh yeah, man, we were burning the dance floor up at Laker Howell’s wedding (in August), and I would go head-to-head with him on the dance floor any day. I’d say I’m the better dancer, but you’d have to ask him the same question.