Bass fanatics Marshall and Mitchell Robinson are taking the ultimate summer vacation, fishing across the country with their parents. Some kids might shun the idea of mom and dad involved in the fun, but not so for this bass-centric family from South Carolina.
“We decided to make it an entire summer of bass fishing,” said Iris, mother of the boys ages 15 and 12, and wife of Bassmaster Elite Series pro Marty Robinson.
That is an understatement for this not-so-average bass fishing family and how it vacations. This summer of bass fishing began in early June and concludes in August, just in time for the boys to resume school.
Elite Series tournaments in Texas, Wisconsin and South Dakota fill the June calendar into the next month. In August, roles reverse when the parents tag along for the boys’ championship tournaments on Kentucky Lake.
Mitchell will compete nearby at the Junior Bassmaster Championship, while Marshall fishes the Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series Championship presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods.
Marshall will wear a tournament jersey bearing the name of James F. Byrnes High School. What makes it interesting is Iris Robinson is the school’s bass fishing coach, and Marty will serve as Marshall’s boat captain.
Summer break, spring break and even after school, it’s bass fishing all the time for the Robinsons. Their home is ideally located on a lake and the boys take full advantage of it.
“It’s in the front door and out the back to the lake, most every day after school,” said Iris. “They fish all the time, would rather do it than any other sport.”
Actually, the entire family fishes all the time. Iris and Mitchell go rod-to-rod with Marshall and Marty in team tournaments at the family getaway in Florida. During Marty’s summertime tournaments the boys fish along the shoreline from takeoff through weigh-in.
“I feel Marshall was born with it because it’s pretty incredible to see the things he notices,” said Marty. “Just to see where they are now compared to where I was, I mean the high school experience really gets a lot of the credit.”
With Marty away so much at tournaments the job of teaching the mechanics of casting befell on Iris. She learned how to cast and drive a bass boat in order to teach the sons both skills.
“At the time I didn’t know what I was doing but just knew it had to be done so they could learn from Marty,” she said. “I taught them how to cast and he took it from there.”
When home, Marty shares practical knowledge and experience on how to find and pattern the bass.
“Marty is more of a classroom style teacher,” she explained. “He shows and tells them what to do from the front of the boat.”
The Byrnes Rebels were without a coach when school began last August. Tournaments were resuming, Marshall and partner Mason Fulmer were defending state champions, and the future of the program was uncertain.
“I had no idea what I was going to do other than step up and become the coach,” recalled Iris. “I just couldn’t let those kids down.”
Her vibrant, engaging personality and competitive nature made it work, and work well. Forty eager students attended the first meeting, and the roster grew from 5 to 15 teams.
The Byrnes Rebels are recognized as a football powerhouse in the Spartanburg area and the evidence is found in the school’s trophy case. Now sharing that space is a growing collection of trophies won by the other Byrnes Rebels, the bass fishing team.
Marshall and partner Mason claimed the most special trophy of them all on their home lake. On Lake Hartwell, Marshall they won the Mossy Oak Bassmaster High School Eastern Open presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods.
“When he won that Open I swear it was one of the greatest moments of my life,” said Iris. “It was just a great experience also seeing Laker Howell and Marshall both in contention to win.”
Laker is the son of Randy and Robin Howell, and both families share a mutual love of the sport. Laker, his brother Oakley and the Robinson boys, moms in tow, make time for fishing on summer road trips while the fathers and husbands are competing.
“When Laker and Marshall were on the weigh-in stage I told Robin we were looking at our future,” added Iris. “One of these days they all might be competing together and how very rewarding that would be.”
Until then it’s Coach Iris who will keep the championship momentum moving forward in South Carolina.
“I absolutely love it, can’t see myself doing anything else,” said Iris. “This is by far one of he most rewarding things I’ve done as a parent.”