This week's interviewee is FLW Walleye Tour National Guard Pro, Mark Courts. While he is a man of many words on stage, he kept his interview short and sweet. Read below to learn a "little" more about this phenomenal angler.
Twenty Questions With Walleye Pro Mark Courts
We will follow up this interview by doing a live chat on Wednesday night, January 19th at 7PM Central Time in the Walleye Central Chat Room. Mark will be our host for an hour, so mark your calendars. There is no registration needed to enter the chat room.
Juls: First, tell our readers a little bit about yourself. Who is Mark Courts?
Mark: 36 year old Minnesota professional fisherman starting my 12th season from Harris Minnesota that lives on a 35 acre hobby farm with his wife Vicki we have 20 goats, 3 dogs, and 3 cats.
Juls: How old were you when you first began fishing as a child?
Mark: 3 years of age
Juls: Who took you fishing for the first time?
Mark: my family
Juls: How did you get started tournament fishing, and do you remember how you got your first sponsor?
Mark: started to fish team tournaments with my dad my first sponsor was Berkley which happened first pro event in spirit lake iowa which was a NAWA event.
Juls: What is your favorite memory from all your years of fishing? (tournament or fun fishing, it doesn't matter)
Mark: winning the PWT championship in Bay City Michigan my wife’s home town.
Juls: Several Pros are involved in helping some of their sponsors develop new products. Are you doing anything like that too? If so, can you tell us anything new that is coming out?
Mark: Absolutely, we are constantly working with our sponsors on new proto types, new designs, and new software whether it be baits, lines, rods, reels, boats motors or electronics.
Berkley has some pretty exciting things coming out shortly both in baits and lines. Also, Northland’s new “Live Forage” stuff will be hot in the summer of 2011.
Juls: What did you do for a living before you became a full time professional Walleye tournament angler?
Mark: Trained hunting dogs.
Juls: You have been sponsored by the National Guard now for a couple of years, and have done them proud. What does that mean to you?
Mark: It is an honor to represent all the men and women of the National Guard around the country. For me to be doing something I love representing them goes to show you what our military gives us the freedom to do.
Juls: Who are the rest of your sponsors?
Mark: Navonics, Minnkota, Ranger, Evinrude, Northland, Berkley Trilene, Power Bait, Gulp, Dobyns rods Pflueger, Costa Del Mar, Cannon
Juls: We're in the midst of the "off season", so what are you doing now? Are you doing any sport shows or boat shows where people will be able to meet you and talk to you? And, if you know a schedule, can you list it here?
Mark: This month I will be attending the St. Paul Boat Show, Rapid Marine Open House, and the Minneapolis Boat Show.
Juls: Do you do any kid's events?
Mark: Yes, last year I worked the kid’s events at the FLW tour events.
Juls: When did you get your first boat?
Mark: I was 8 years old when I got a 12 ft Alumina Craft with a 6 horse Johnson outboard motor.
Juls: Your life was "on the road" many months out of the year, so how did you meet your lovely wife, Vicki, and does she like to fish too?
Mark: I met my wife Vicki in Bay City Michigan when I was fishing a tournament on Saginaw Bay, in June of 2002. Yes, she enjoys fishing.
Juls: Do you do any guiding? If so, how can people contact you?
Mark: No, I do not guide with my current schedule.
Juls: Do you hunt? I know you have some fantastic dogs too, do you train dogs for other people too?
Mark: Yes, I hunt for deer, ducks, geese, turkey, mule deer, pheasants, and quail. We have three dogs. Two labs; one yellow named, Berkley, and one black lab named, Cracker, and a red Irish Center named, Rowdy.
Juls: What are your top five favorite lakes or rivers to fish?
1. Devils Lake- fish can be caught just about any way you like to fish. The population is healthy, and the structure that can be found there is incredible.
2. Lake Erie- “Walleye Capital of the World” doesn’t need more explanation than that, does it?
3. Leech Lake-Great lake for live bait rigging
4. Sturgeon Bay- Big Fish!
5. Wherever the fish are biting the best!
Juls: What are your plans for the coming season? Will you fish only Pro/Ams or will you also fish some team events?
Mark: I plan to fish the FLW tour events and some Stren or BFL Bass events.
Juls: If you could only catch fish one way...what would that presentation be? What is your favorite?
Mark: Pitching jigs.
Juls: How do you approach your prefishing when you go to waters you haven't fished before?
Mark: Number one key to fishing new bodies of water is, really trusting your electronics. This year I am really looking forward to running my 1198CSI combo Hummingbird Electronics.
Juls: If you could only give one piece of advice to someone who wanted to get started in professional Walleye tournament fishing, what would that advice be?
Mark: Go get a college education in business management and marketing and then spend a ton a time on the water and find someone who will support you as much as my family and wife have for me.