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Mark Rose: Learning to Love the Offshore Bite

Article Courtesy PAA

June 4, 2012

By Pete Robbins

For a river rat like Mark Rose, raised fishing the shallow oxbows of the Arkansas and Mississippi Rivers, offshore structure fishing was initially a conundrum that he could avoid.

“I made a living for about five or six years as an old bank beater,” he recalled, referring to his early days as a tour-level angler. “But in the four day events, by days three or four, the ten laydowns I was beating on wouldn’t pan out. Then I’d go home and watch the TV show and saw guys like David Fritts. What I worked for all day he’d catch in 15 minutes.”

As his schedule increasingly featured waterways where offshore specialists prevailed, Rose had no choice but to attack his weakness head-on. Fortunately, he only lives a couple of hours from the TVA chain of lakes, ground zero for that type of fishing in the summer. The results are overwhelming: In 2007 he won an FLW Series tournament on Pickwick; in 2010, he won an EverStart Series event there; and in 2011 he won an FLW Tour Major on that same body of water. Clearly he’d overcome any reluctance to fish deep water structure. In fact, he’d mastered it.

While Rose has refined certain tactics in recent years – for example, a big flutter spoon — he attributes his growth as an angler to many days spent without making a cast.

“I’ve spent hours and hour and hours on the TVA system, idling around, seeing what I was missing,” he explained. “I’m still not an expert. I don’t think we’ll ever completely master it, but at a time when my career was starting to get in the doldrums, this created a newfound passion.”

Unfortunately for some aspiring pros, understanding your electronics is not something that can be achieved at home or in a classroom. “There’s not a book you can read,” Rose explained. “It’s all about the amount of time looking at it. Until you see critters on your unit or how a ditch lays out, you’ll never understand what shadows and dark spots and other markings mean.”

He recommends that novices start off by looking where they know schools of fish exist, to learn how they’re represented in pixels. Once that’s done, “you can find new schools on your own,” he said. “That’s when you’ll really get excited.”

The addition of Structure Scan to his Lowrance products has made his time on the water even more efficient, but has required an additional learning process. He’s used the newer technology for three solid seasons and credits it with helping him catch fish he might have otherwise passed by.

“Down scan is easy to read, but with side scan you have to relearn your boundaries,” he said. The technology is particularly useful in water deeper than seven feet, but Rose noted that even on clear-cut shallow waters like the Potomac River he’s used it to find shipwrecks, stumps and irregularities in the grass.

Now that he’s fully embraced the electronics revolution, Rose has four – yes, count ‘em, FOUR – big Lowrance graphs on his Ranger. There are two HDS-10s on the front deck, and both an HDS-10 and HDS-8 at the console. That gives him the flexibility to devote each screen to one job – for example, he might have two-dimensional sonar on one front unit and the other completely devoted to mapping. In some cases, he’ll even put in two different map chips to see little subtleties that one or the other might leave out.

That level of electronic outfitting may not be practical for the average angler, but in any case, Rose advised anyone looking to maximize their catch to “get the best you can afford.” Simply put, what was state-of-the-art 10 or 12 years ago is light years behind today’s mid-level units. With each minor bump in price, you’ll typically get a substantial improvement in the size of the screen as well as the number and quality of the features provided.

“It’s like watching the Super Bowl,” he laughed. “Do you want to watch it on a 13-inch TV or do you want to watch it on a 60 inch big screen?”

Big Hill to Climb

 Mark Rose

Mark Rose has his work cut out for him if he's going to qualify
for the Forrest Wood Cup this year. (Photo: FLW Outdoors)

Rose Keeping Struggles In Perspective

Friday, April 13, 2012

from: Bassfan BassFan



By Todd Ceisner
BassFan EditorTo listen to Mark Rose give the play-by-play of his first two FLW Tour Majors of the season is to hear the similar accounts of dozens of other pros who endured comparable struggles at Lake Hartwell and Table Rock Lake.

For some, it was a poor practice that never turned into a consistent bite during the tournament. Others had their game plans undermined by a change in the weather or a drop in water level. Others, still, just flat-out missed getting on a solid pattern altogether. For Rose, it was a little bit everything and then some. After putting together consecutive 3rd-place finishes in the FLW Angler of the Year (AOY) standings in 2010 and 2011, BassFans were apt to believe Rose was in prime position to make the move to the top of the heap this season. After two bombs -- 98th at Hartwell and 127th at Table Rock -- to open the Major schedule his focus isn't on AOY. He's more concerned with today and tomorrow, taking on what's in front of him -- the here and now.

"My motto is I fish as hard as I can at every tournament and I try to honor God in the process," he said. "I leave the results up to him as I don't have a lot of control over that and I can lay my head on my pillow at night and be content knowing that I have worked hard."

"I'm living out my faith through fishing, which is something that's very dear to my heart. It's actually why I fish. God's blessed me with ability to make a living at it. I still have a great group of sponsors who know you're going to have a few bad tournaments. It's not like my career is over. I'm going to work really hard."

Currently, he has 177 points and sits in 117th place in the AOY standings, 139 points out of 35th place, the cutoff for automatic berths for the Forrest Wood Cup. He knows the size of the task that lies ahead of him if he has designs on fishing his sixth straight Cup. Add in an 81st-place finish at the Okeechobee FLW Tour Open and it's fair to say Rose is mired in your garden-variety mini-slump.

No Excuses

Reached by phone earlier this week after a quick lunch with his wife in Memphis, Tenn., Rose's voice drips with experience and poise. Hearing him offer his impressions of his season so far and where he hopes it eventually takes him, you wouldn't think he was going through his toughest season since 2003, when he finished 124th in points. He's finished no lower than 59th in the 8 years since.

He's a deeply spiritual man and he says his faith has provided him with the outlook necessary to endure the tough times he's having on the water.

"I've got it in perspective in my mind," he said. "I try to keep my career that way. It's disappointing from the standpoint of being a competitor. It seems like an eternity to me -- three major tournaments, but in all actuality, I've had 6 days on the water that haven't gone my way. When I look back on it, it's not going my way right now. I have as many excuses as the next guy. I have a lot on my plate, more so than normal right now.

"The bottom line is I was there and I had the opportunity to catch them and somebody else did. I didn't. I don't play the excuse game. I'm not going to blame it on anything even though I have stuff to blame it on. Hopefully, it'll turn around, but if it doesn't, I'm competitive, and I'm very content with where my career has taken me. I've put my career in the Lord's hands and I've asked for His will to be done throughout my fishing career so I've got to learn to accept it. Even though I'm competitive, I've got to accept the good and bad."

He's had plenty of good happen to him on the water, to be sure. Last year alone, he racked up one win (Pickwick Lake FLW Tour Major) and three other Top-6 finishes, including a 3rd at the Cup, earning nearly $300,000 along the way. Things have gone much differently this year.

At Hartwell, he was fishing deep water in the rivers, but couldn't get the quality bites that tournament winner Brent Erhler was getting in the lower main lake.

"I was only catching spots deep and I really thought it was going to be an Alabama Rig deal," he added. "I've said it before, those herring lakes are one of the missing pieces to the puzzle for me. I haven't figured out those lakes yet."

At Table Rock, he focused on main-lake points, but that pattern faded as the current being pulled through the lake tailed off.

"I probably should've turned my electronics off and got on the bank and gone fishing," he said. "I should've been up in that muddy water or sight-fishing more. I tried to do a little bit of both and didn't do either one of them well."

Flash Forward

If there's any place Rose could get his season turned around, it's Beaver Lake, the next Major on the schedule. His worst finish there in the last 5 FLW Tour events there is 49th and he has a pair of runner-up efforts to his credit over that span.

"I'd like to tell you I'm going to go to Beaver and win it, but there are 160 guys that going to disagree with that," he said. "I'm going to try to turn the competitive part of this around by just continuing to do what I do and continuing to work hard. Hopefully, things will turn around.

"I'm going to go to Beaver and work as hard as I can and fish hard and I'm going to honor God and leave the results up to him."

On the horizon, though, is the possibility that he could miss qualifying for the Cup, an outcome he's prepared for.

"The Cup is certainly a big tournament," he said. "It's something that I'd like to be at every year. It's one of the two biggest tournaments of our sport. Every fisherman on the FLW trail, it's where they want to be. I've certainly dug myself a big hole and it's going to be hard, but I'm going to work as hard as I can. I can't sit here and say I'm going to get there because there are a lot of people who want to get there, too.

"If the Lord wants me to be there, I'll be there. I certainly haven't lost the competitiveness to make a good effort to try to get there."




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