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Pretty cool smallie story.


Dignitary Member
Supporting Member
SW Ohio
This isn't an Ohio fishing story but alittle of it taken place in Ohio.

This story starts here at the Bass Pro store here near Cincinnati in the Forest Fair Mall. My brother in law took his family there back this past March to buy some fishing gear and tackle and to meet Mark Zona. Mark is from Michigan and is a commentator for some fishing network on cable. I've been so out of the loop on anything to do with fishing I have no knowledge of him but my BIL and his family do and are very avid fishermen and fisher women. They said he's a sponsor of Bass Pro and has been called the "Z Train" by his peers and fans. At one time he used to be the official weigh in official at the Bassmasters Classic I was told. Anyway, my BIL and his family met Mark and took his pic with their children and had a few minutes to chat and ask questions. They said he was a very nice guy. Very personable and genuine and a pleasure to meet. During their chat mmy BIL David, told him they've fished Michigans St. Clair for smallies and asked if he had any pointers. He told them he fishes there quite a bit and he shared some of his secret hot spots with them that he's had great success in early spring and told them they should try them out sometime. Here is the pic of Mark with Dave's children, Brandon and Brooke.

Well the weekend before this past weekend Dave and his son Brandon hauled their boat up to Lake St. Clair to catch some smallies and try out these new spots. They caught their biggest two date, Dave caught a 5 LB. 6 oz. bass and Brandon a 4lb. 11 oz. fish. Here are their fish pics.



They caught some other real nice ones TOO and had a great trip. On the night after catching their biggest fish they called Dave's wife Nancy back home to tell her the great news and texted her the pics. She then got on Mark Zonas Facebook page and posted the news to Mark.

This story gets better.....

The next morning Dave and Brandon head out before daylight to get a good start as their trip was nearing its end. The visability wasn't the best due to fog and after soon landing their first few fish they noticed a lone boat off in the distance. When taking pics of their catches they'd jokingly say, Do you suppose that Mark Zonas boat out there? Lets take a picture with us holding up our fish with that boat in the background in case it is Mark!
As the boat got closer Brandon said, Dad! I think it is Mark Zona! Dave told him he was nuts but as the boat got closer and closer and they heard the three guys talking they came to realize it WAS Mark and they started getting excited. As they got to within talking distance Mark yelled over if they were doing any good. After telling Mark about the fish they've caught Mark said, "So your the one that caught the 5lb.6oz fish!" They laughed and said yeah and Mark proceeded to pull-up to their boat. As soon as Mark saw Brandon and recognized him from the Bass Pro meeting he reached into his tackle box and handed him a box of fish hooks. Dave said they'd cost about $50 so they musta been some good ones! Lol

Here's a pic of Mark and his buddies pulling away.

Dave told me he wished he'd have asked who his fishing companions were during their short visit because later he found out the guy in the middle is the president of Shimano. Dave was fishing with a Shimano rod he's been fishing with since he was Brandon's age and Dave is in his mid 40's now. We both believe the gentleman would find it rewarding his product is still doing it job after all these years.

Hope you enjoyed this story as much as I did! I didn't know who Mark Zona was before this weekends visit from Dave and his family for my daughters birthday party but I do now! Mark Zona has a new fan....what a good dude!
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Dustin’s fishing coach
Supporting Member
Columbiana County
My experience with most of the pros have all been positive like your BIL just experienced.... Most guys go out of there way too be helpful... Congrats too them for their great experience....