Reel Chat with MARK ROSE - Major League Fishing

Reel Chat with MARK ROSE

Rose shares his thoughts on his recent FLW Tour win on Wheeler Lake, his favorite go-to baits, how he came to excel as a ledge fisherman and much more
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National Guard pro Mark Rose of West Memphis, Ark., tied for second place after the first day of FLW Tour competition on the Potomac River. Photo by Gary Mortenson. Angler: .
October 2, 2012 • MLF • Uncategorized

Welcome to FLW Live Reel Chat. Today we’re joined by National Guard pro Mark Rose of West Memphis, Ark., who recently took home the top prize of $125,000 after winning the 2012 FLW Tour Wheeler Lake event.

With nearly over $1.6 million in FLW earnings, Rose is arguably fishing as well as he ever has in his career. Boasting 32 top-10 finishes since joining FLW back in 1996, Rose has scored major victories in each of the last three seasons including last month’s FLW Tour win on Wheeler Lake, a 2011 FLW Tour win on Pickwick Lake and a 2010 FLW Series victory on Lake Chickamauga.

In addition, Rose has recorded an astounding 10 top-10 FLW Tour finishes since 2008 and walked away with this year’s inaugural Forrest L. Wood Sportsmanship and Community Leadership Award presented by Goodwill.

Today, Rose is here to take questions from you, the fans. So, without further delay, let’s get started.

Q: Congratulations on your win Mark. You have done well along the Tennessee River ledges. My question is this: When fishing lakes such as Pickwick or Kentucky, at what point in the fall do you leave the ledges and focus mainly on creeks? Do you use water temperature as a guide? It seems the baitfish pack in creeks early, but that does not necessarily mean the bigger bass have pulled in yet.
— Scott (Oakland, TN)
A: Well, Scott is right that the fish do start heading to the creeks – water temp is a big key. But it’s not just that, when the days get shorter and the nights get cooler the baitfish will head toward shallower water, grass and the backs of pockets. Therefore the bass will follow suit and head back there to the grass with them. So when the leaves start changing, the days get shorter and the nights get cooler, that’s a good rule of thumb when the bass will start transitioning.

Q: Where did you first get the idea to use two Lowrance units on the front of your boat? And if two is better, would three be even better?
— Tim Kennedy (Hixson, TN)
A: Actually I have three on the front of my boat, two HDS-10s on RAM mounts and one HDS-5 mounted up front. When I first started fishing offshore and learning, one of my good friends who taught me a lot about offshore fishing had his boat set up that way. So I set mine up the same way and have been comfortable with it ever since. And yes, I do think the more the better – that way you have a bunch of different options to look at different maps.

Q: My go-to bait is a Berkley Bungee worm, which is not made anymore. My question is: Do you know of a worm that moves like that one did in the water?
— John Newton (Taylorsville, KY)
A: I’m not real familiar with the Bungee worm but I know it flexes and moves in the water. It’s kind of molded with a curve. Unfortunately, I don’t know any other worm that acts just like that. I do like some other worms however that will catch fish just as good. My favorite worm for a shaky head is the 7-inch Strike King finesse worm. And the Strike King 10-inch Thumper worm is a good all-around casting worm.

Q: What is the best line test to use when drop-shotting and do you recommend using braid with a fluorocarbon leader? What type of rod and reel setup do you recommend?
— Tyler Ward (Grover, NC)
A: For drop-shotting, the best all-around is 6-pound test. You can land a giant fish in open water but the line is still small enough to be pretty non-noticeable. As far as rod setup, I personally use a 6-foot, 6-inch medium action. I recommend anything from 6-6 to 6-8. You need that soft tip to protect that light line. I personally don’t use braid with a fluorocarbon leader but that’s not saying you shouldn’t use that. I might very well wind up doing that myself. There’s definitely nothing wrong with it – I know some of the best finesse fishermen in the world do that exact same thing. You’ll just need to learn a very good connection knot that’s really small and goes through your guides very well. As far as a reel setup, I personally use the 2500 series and I think lots of manufacturers make really good spinning reels. You really want to keep your setup fairly light so you can detect the strikes.

Q: Congratulations on your latest win. How does the grass in the Tennessee River system (Guntersville, Chickamauga, etc.) affect the ledge fish in September and October? Do they tend to get up around or in the grass more or are there always some quality fish on the ledges around 15-18 feet deep?
— Tim Kennedy (Hixson, TN)
A: The grass is helpful in any fishery because it makes the whole system thrive. Grass is a just a real lively place for the fish to live in. But how it relates to ledge fishing, in the summer months, there are always fish on the ledges and muscle bars. During the fall, the fish move into the grass a whole lot more. In mid-summer, however, the grass really doesn’t grow to the depths where a lot of the fish are and that’s why they concentrate more on the ledges.

Q: During fall transition, do you think that rattling baits will outperform silent baits considering the massive amount of shad moving in?
— Bryan Anderson (Keller, TX)
A: I don’t think that it’s really a seasonal thing. Rattling baits and silent baits are two tools you always need. I’ve seen times when I couldn’t get a bite with a silent bait and tried a rattle and had a lot of success. And vice versa. You need to have lots of different lures when you fish a ledge-fishing tournament, some with rattles and some that don’t have any. It’s mostly just a trial and error thing trying to figure out what the fish want. But in my opinion, it doesn’t really have anything to do with seasons.

Q: Texas has its first real big cold front and fall turnover is here, but the fishing is slow. Normal baits like squarebills and spinners are producing some, but not greeting us with open arms. How should we approach this transition period and what baits should we be throwing? Thanks.
— Bryan Anderson (Keller, TX)
A: I just came back from fishing a tournament in Texas so I know what you’re saying. The temperature is dropping and the fish are starting to leave the deeper water. I didn’t do as well at that tournament because I probably stayed too deep for too long. And you can’t be hard-headed about that. This is the time of the year you really need to think shallow, get around docks, grass, shoreline cover, etc. Use the fall transition to think shallow and think shad. During spring I think red baits. But in fall, think shad. Those big balls of shad move around the lake, create a canopy overhead and fish use them as both cover and food.

Q: Mark, what did it feel like to win the inaugural Forrest L. Wood Sportsmanship and Community Leadership Award?
— Winston Close (San Diego, CA)
A: Well, it was a great honor. I just won a tournament last week and I think I take more pride in winning the leadership award than I did winning the tournament. The leadership award means a lot to me because it’s voted on by peers and staff and tells you what kind of heart you have and what you stand for. I try to share the love of Christ with everyone around me. And to be recognized for that really means a lot.

Q: Mark, how does your recent victory on Wheeler Lake stack up to your other titles over the years?
— Pat Zak (Oakland, CA)
A: I consider it to be as big of a win as anything I’ve ever won. It ranks right up there with anything I’ve done. We had a lot of top FLW guys and some really great BASS anglers in the field so it was special. But I fish against the fish and not the fishermen and it was just a special week for me. I figured out where the big fish were, didn’t lose a lot of fish and executed well – so it really ranks right up there for me.

Q: At what point in the Wheeler Lake tournament did you realize you were on the right fish to win?
— Jim Interlandi (Chicago, IL)
A: As soon as I realized that the deep fish I was looking at were bass I had an idea. I caught a few and realized they were the right quality. I caught some decent fish shallow but they weren’t the same grade of fish. So I had a good idea after a few days of practice. I knew I was fishing deeper than most anglers and was doing something a little bit different and I was rewarded.

Q: How long did it take you to master ledge fishing? Also, what steps did you take to greatly improve your technical skills in this department?
— Jon Pageler (New York, NY)
A: I’ve gotten good with that technique but I can’t say I’ve mastered it. I continue to learn along with a network of buddies. We’re always trying new techniques, baits, styles and colors and you don’t ever completely feel that you’ve learned everything. As far as setup, I tried to get the best electronics I could. If you don’t have Lowrance Structure Scan you’re also at a very big disadvantage. You can fish ledges without it, but it’s a lot harder to compete against the guys who do. Once you understand your electronics, it’s just a matter of playing around with the fish trying to figure out how to get them to bite.

Q: Congratulations to the best offshore fisherman in the world! What advice do you have for young anglers pursuing a career in tournament fishing?
— Mic Miller (Buena Vista, GA)
A: If you’re asking me, I’m just going to tell you straight from the heart. First and foremost, talk to God about it. My next advice would be to work very hard on the fishing end of things. Many young people ask me at shows how to get sponsors. And I tell them to spend more time on the water and don’t worry about sponsors right away. Once you develop your talents on the water, the sponsorships will follow.

Q: Mark, what are your favorite lakes to fish in north Texas and southern Oklahoma?
— (Springtown, TX)
A: Toledo Bend would be my favorite in that region over there. It has good wood, shallow structure, clarity, deep fishing, rivers – that lake really helps you become a well-rounded angler. I spent some time on the Arkansas River and that’s probably one of my favorite places in Oklahoma. I know there are some other great lakes over there like Grand Lake but I’ve never personally fished there before.

Q: Mark, congrats on your latest win! Having been in the pro fishing game for so long, what is the biggest change/progression in the sport since you first began your professional career?
— (Springtown, TX)
A: Probably the advancement in electronics. Structure Scan, GPS and sonar now have really revolutionized the sport. Industry wise it’s really neat to see so many non-endemic sponsors participating in tournament fishing – like National Guard and Walmart and that’s been pretty cool as well.

Q: What makes the 6XD the best deep-diving plug on the market?
— Sam (Jackson, TN)
A: I definitely agree and it is a great question because there are so many deep-driving crankbaits out there. The reason why I think it’s the best is that the bill on the crankbait, where it connects, we’ve taken away all of that bulk of plastic away from there. Our bill is thinner so it gives you maximum depth and it’s a streamlined bait. Also, you’ll see near the tip of the bill, it’s curved up. A crankbait only has a certain amount of time to get to that maximum depth so the 6XD with that curve, it dives down deep and gets down quick. As a result it’s in the target zone more of the time. Another great thing about it is the sound with the rattling version. It’s a different sound chamber than you’ll find compared to anything else on the market. It’s got quality components as well. And having said all that, it’s still a $5 bait.

Q: Have you been able to get a sneak peek at the new Lowrance HDS Gen2 Touch? If so, what are your initial impressions?
— Steve (Springdale, AR)
A: I have not seen it yet but plan on taking a trip to Lowrance this fall and really look forward to learning all about it.

Q: I heard that you were a college athlete. What sport did you play and for who?
— Harold (Huntsville, AL)
A: I played college baseball. The first two years I played at Northwest Community College in Senatobia, Miss. And my final two years I played at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, Ark.

Q: I usually go to a Roboworm in oxblood or a sexy shad color on a drop-shot when I need a bite. What is your go-to bait when drop-shotting?
— Tyler Ward (Grover, NC)
A: Probably a Strike King 4-inch green pumpkin finesse worm. I would add that my go-to setup is not really a drop-shot but a shaky head and I use the same worm on the shaky head with an addition of a 7-inch worm as well.

Q: Hey Mark, great job last tournament! How would you catch fish on Cherokee Lake right now? Tennessee is fun but can also be tough in transition.
— C.J. Callahan (Church Road, VA)
A: I would really try to get them figured out on an Alabama rig. I know it’s been a big player on that lake and this is the time of year that bait really shines. It’s by far the best bait you can throw when the bass get on shad like that. I’d look on all the main-lake points, bridge columns and any other kind of point on the lake.

Q: Mark, is there such a thing as too much shad? What do you throw when there are thousands of shad around your boat while fishing grass?
— Billy (Dardanelle, AR)
A: That’s a really good question; it’s even one that stumps me at times. I’d recommend getting away from that shad style of bait and move to something like a bluegill style of bait. In other words, don’t try to compete against what’s real. I’ve had plenty of success over the years using that strategy.

Unfortunately, that’s all the time we have to chat with Mark Rose today. Thanks, once again, to all the fans who tuned in and participated in today’s Reel Chat. And a special thanks to National Guard pro Mark Rose, the 2012 FLW Tour Wheeler Lake winner, for giving us his time and insights into bass fishing.