The Importance of Having a Mentor - Major League Fishing

The Importance of Having a Mentor

Pro Ryan Salzman is offering a mentorship opportunity to a high school angler in 2020
Image for The Importance of Having a Mentor
Ryan Salzman Photo by Jody White. Angler: Ryan Salzman.
January 10, 2020 • Ryan Salzman • Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit

If you want a chance to have a pro as your personal coach and mentor for 2020, keep reading.

My name is Ryan Salzman. I’m an Army veteran, a full-time guide on the Tennessee River, owner of True Bass Swimbaits and now a professional angler on the FLW Pro Circuit.

Last year was my rookie season. I had a great year and learned a ton, and now I want to pass on my knowledge to you guys and gals. That’s why I’m going to be picking a high school angler to become my understudy for the year. Instructions on what to do if you want a chance at this mentorship opportunity will be at the end of the article. But first, I want to introduce myself to anyone that might not know me.


Learning to fish competitively

I was 5 years old when my uncle took me fishing for the first time. I had spikey blonde hair, denim overalls and a Snoopy rod. I can remember catching some bluegills from the bank. Ever since then I have been obsessed with catching fish.

I started out catching anything that swims, and quickly transitioned into solely wanting to catch bass. Since that first trip with my uncle, I’ve mostly been self-taught as an angler. In fact, other than being taught how to fish live bait, all my knowledge came from reading about bass fishing online. That was back when I had to wait for the beeps and boops while my computer connected to the internet (I feel old just writing that).

When I was 13, I was introduced to artificial lures by my stepdad, who mostly threw grubs for bass in streams. We lived in Chesterfield, Va., at the time, and we fished Swift Creek. Maybe this is when I fell in love with fishing a swimbait because that is basically what a grub is.

After being shown how to catch fish with that grub I instantly started researching to find other lures that might trick a bass. The pursuit hasn’t stopped, and now, 20 years later, I’m fishing the FLW Pro Circuit.

Throughout the process of learning to catch bass mostly on my own, I realized that my route to pro fishing wasn’t necessarily the easiest or the best. Figuring it out on your own is a challenge. Which is why I think it’s so important to have a great fishing mentor to guide you along the way.

You can see the results of good mentoring in high school and college fishing, which are raising the standard of excellence in the sport of fishing every year. Kids are getting more experience by the time they hit their early 20s than I had by the time I was 30. They can share a boat with a boat captain in a high school event to get one-on-one coaching on how to catch a fish that day.

That’s why I’m interested in mentoring a young angler this season. I want to contribute to the sport and help someone achieve their dreams.


Ryan Salzman

Competitive advantage

I believe that we all know there is a competitive advantage to those anglers with moms or dads who fish competitively versus the anglers who don’t have a parent that knows how to fish. And I know there are many young anglers who don’t have a direct influencer helping them become a better angler every day on the water.

This is where I believe that pro anglers can help out and give back to the high school fishing community. I hosted a high school fishing camp last year with True Bass Swimbaits on Guntersville, and that was the beginning of trying to gather a group of professional anglers to work one-on-one with high school anglers. It was a great event. Jordan Lee even showed up to help teach kids about fishing. How often do you get to go fishing with J-Lee for free? We are going to continue that in 2020 on Guntersville. Make sure to follow me on social media @albassguide_memelord for information on that event.

I’m also going to select one high school angler to be my direct understudy for the 2020 season. If you want to become a professional angler, work in the industry or eventually start a business in the fishing industry, this should be a great opportunity to learn valuable skills. I’m a full-time guide on Lake Guntersville, founded the UNA fishing team in 2008, own True Bass Swimbaits and have worked for many companies up to this point. I want to help set you on your path to accomplishing the goals you have for yourself. If you haven’t set those goals then we’re going to narrow down some options and get YOUR GAME PLAN in motion. We’re also going to be doing a blog together to share our experience as a coach and student to help others learn how to become a professional angler. We’ll even document our progress through my YouTube channel, Alabama Bass Guide. That means everyone can follow along and learn with us and engage with questions or comments.


In order to sign up to be chosen, I need you to complete only TWO STEPS.

I’m going to select the angler by March 1, 2020. Once you have registered and subscribed you are good to go.

I’m excited to get to work with one of you for the year, and hopefully continue this for years to come.

See you on the water!

Ryan “Salzy” Salzman