After 22 years as a full-time bass pro, MLF pro Mark Rose is going strong: The West Memphis, Arkansas, pro has finished in the Top 10 in Angler of the Year standings on either the Bass Pro Tour or Pro Circuit five of the past six seasons.
One might think that after the tournament season is done, Rose would take some time off and relax, but part of his relaxation is actually part of his preparation for the coming season. Is it gym time or running that keeps him ready? Nope. It’s crappie fishing.
According to Rose, his time spent crappie fishing in the winter equates to staying in shape for his sport, similar to a baseball player hitting the gym in the offseason.
“Wintertime crappie fishing keeps you physically in fishing shape,” Rose insists. “Fishing all day uses muscles in ways they’re not used when you’re hunting. Crappie fishing – or any fishing, really – keeps the muscles in your fingers, wrists, and arms in shape for the next season. By fishing throughout the winter, your posture for fishing stays strong, and it helps you keep your ‘sea legs.’ You know what I mean: if they haven’t been on a boat for a while you can see the lack of balance in anglers haven’t been fishing.”
Rose, a former college athlete, pays attention to proper nutrition, and adds some basic exercises (squats, pushups, etc.) and stretching to maintain overall body health in the winter. He also believes that his time on the water in December and January helps his mental game stay in shape as well.
“(Winter fishing) keeps your mental pencil sharp,” Rose says. “We’ll have a couple of months when the tournament fishing season ends, and some of us will start eating a lot and not spend time on the water. You can lose your focus. But, getting out crappie fishing keeps you focused on things like learning how to use your new electronics, and other subtleties, like how the crappie relate to schools of bait. They’re very similar to bass. Other things like learning finesse techniques and just how strong a really light line can be are super useful.”
Rose also believes that dealing with the cold and shorter days translates into being sharper when the Bass Pro Tour season starts.
“Dealing with the frigid conditions keeps you mentally strong, and you have to hunt and find the crappies,” Rose says. “You don’t have all day, there’s limited time thanks to less daylight. I treat it like it’s SCORETRACKER going off: when they’re not acting the way you want them to act, you need to figure them out if you want to fill the cooler.”
“I equate crappie fishing to duck hunting. You can talk, laugh, joke around, and shoot the bull with family, friends or clients. I’ve had several business meetings while crappie fishing. It really is a great way to have fun and keep in physical and mental shape for the upcoming bass fishing season. Catching crappie can fill your cooler with some tasty table fare, too.”