“You gotta have open eyes and open ears and open mind in this business,” says Martin.
Since he was 5 years old, Mark Martin wanted to be a fisherman. And he was lucky: he became one of the most beloved pro-walleye anglers out there. In 1990, he won the Professional Walleye Trail (PWT) Tournament of Champions. From that tournament he got two things: (1) the highest cash prize ever awarded at a walleye tournament (2) the nickname “The Original Champ”.
Those two accolades helped fuel a lifelong career on the water. These days, he’s also passionate about teaching the next generation about fishing and promoting their work.
Martin remarks, “I’m always asking myself – how do we teach people how to do it better? Because the more people involved in this sport, the further it’ll go.”
We sat down with Mark Martin to hear about his insights into the world of fishing, and his relationship with Smooth Moves.
Interview With Mark Martin
Smooth Moves: Hi Mark! It’s lovely to chat with you this afternoon. I think people are excited to know: what’s one boating or fishing tool that you always have with you?
Mark Martin: On my phone and on my boat I always have the Navionics Apps. Whether I’m in seminars or on the road, I use these apps to discuss fishing and lakes. I can bring a specific lake or reservoir up on my phone and discuss the area in question intelligently.
It doesn’t matter if the person I’m talking to is hundreds of miles away, we might as well be shoulder to shoulder. Even when you’re not on the body of water, the app allows you to be on the body of water. I can navigate no matter where I am.
The technology of fishing and hunting these days is incredible. Live imaging and live targeting – you can see the fish swimming right in front of you!
Smooth Moves: You’ve participated in fishing championships for a long time now. Do you find they are different today from when you started?
Mark Martin: When I was in those championships, I felt like an NFL player coming into a stadium. It was standing room only, people were screaming. The spotlight would be on you and holding up your catch was like holding up a brick of gold. It’s so different these days.
Sadly, the archives of so many of the PWT Videos & Articles of the Events and Championships are taken off the internet – it’s hard to find them online anymore. And nowadays it’s nearly impossible to make a living fishing in these tournaments. The money just isn’t the same.
Smooth Moves: You made a living primarily fishing for walleye. What is it about fishing for walleye that gets people so hooked?
Mark Martin: For most people out there, walleye is the most difficult fish to catch because they don’t understand it. The techniques can be so varied.
Having a background in a variety of fish actually helps you fish walleye. For example, if you don’t fish bass, you’re gonna fall short on some walleye techniques. Or, you can use a bobber that you’d fish for bluegills, put a leech on the hook and catch a walleye.
To be a successful fisherman, you have to understand different species of fish. Every one of those species I do well and I take something from every species I catch over the course of my lifetime.
If I didn’t know how to learn from the fish I catch, I’d be missing a link in every technique.
Smooth Moves: That’s a beautiful sentiment. Now, let’s talk Smooth Moves. Do you remember when you first heard about Smooth Moves’ boat seats?
Mark Martin: I remember it like it was yesterday! I had a bad back and it wasn’t getting any better. I originally bought these seats to do my guidework. They were more dependable than other brands out there, and I’ve had them ever since. The quality of these seats is so high. It just saves your butt from compressing your spine.
Mark Martin: They’re both great, but I prefer the Ultra. It’s nice to have that automatic adjustment built into it. For us older guys, it’s easier! I’ve worked hard enough in my life—if a product allows me to work more efficiently, I want it!
Smooth Moves: Why would you recommend Smooth Moves to other professional anglers?
Mark Martin: There’s no equal. You can get other air ride type seats, but they never reach the pinnacle that Smooth Moves is at. Other brands try to recreate Smooth Moves but they don’t hold up over time. Whenever I show people Smooth Moves, they’re amazed.
When it’s your career, it’s instrumental to fish in all different types of conditions. If I didn’t have these seats, I wouldn’t have gone out on certain days. I wouldn’t be who I am today without these seats.
Price isn’t the factor. Comfort is the factor. The more you’re gonna fish, the more you’re gonna want Smooth Moves.
Smooth Moves: When people ask you if Smooth Moves is a worthwhile investment, what do you say?
Mark Martin: When you’re out there fishing, you can injure yourself for life. Those injuries can make it so you don’t enjoy fishing anymore.
I’ve made all those mistakes, I’ve been there. I know for a fact that my career would have ended in 1988 if I hadn’t found these seats. Now the best thing I can do is educate people about these seats and get them into the right people’s hands.