Mark Zacher's a pretty cool guy

Every so often in this business you meet a guy who’s special, pretty cool is how I say it. Mark Zacher’s one of those guys. He’s from South Dakota and he won the “Fish with Ike” Sweepstakes back in April. We did our day on the water last Monday on the Mississippi right after our Elite Series tournament.

I knew right away that he was a serious bass angler. He looked and talked the part. I call guys like him Fish-Heads. Now, that’s in no way a derogatory term, and it has nothing to do with his appearance. He looks just fine.

It does, however, have everything to do with his passion for fishing. Mark lives, eats and breaths bass fishing. That’s my kind of guy. He knows his tackle, what it will do and how to use it. And, he likes to be on the water. It’s what he’s about, really. Most important of all, he wants to learn.

We decided what we were going to do before we ever left the dock. It was going to be a practice type day. That means new water, fishing around and trying to figure out what they were doing. We devoted the first half of our day to largemouth. The second half of our day was all about smallies.

I thought that would be a good approach given the high level of his experience. There was no point in my going to a spot where I knew there would be fish, pointing and telling him where to throw his lure. He’s way beyond that.

We had a great time. It was pretty much a typical Mississippi River bass fishing. I’d guess we caught 20 fish each, maybe a few more, but they were mostly small. Mark had one right at 3 pounds and I had one almost that big.

While we were fishing we talked about tackle and equipment. I’m always impressed with the knowledge guys like him show. He knew what was going on, how to use everything, and generally showed that he was on top of his game. I showed him a few things and he showed me a few things.

I want to thank my sponsors. They put together a really nice package of tackle. We spent a lot of time going over what he had and how I think he might want to use it.

Things like this are good for our sport. It puts everyone in contact with everyone else. That makes sure the up-and-coming anglers get a chance to meet and fish with those of us who’ve been around for a while. Frankly, I’d like to see more contests and events like this. I know I had a good time and I know that he did, too.

One final thought: If you have any doubts about how small and close knit the fraternity of bass tournament anglers is consider the fact that Mark fishes with Jami Fralick’s dad. How’s that for proving we live in a small world?  

Good luck to you in the future, Mark!

Mike Iaconelli's column appears weekly on You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter or visit his website,

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