Ish Monroe is coming here Saturday expecting to be grilled. He wants his brain to be picked. He wants to be pressured to give up his deepest secrets.
Life is all about bass fishing for Monroe, and he doesn’t hesitate to open up the vault and divulge the tricks and tactics that have enabled him to win nearly $1.2 million on the Bassmasters Elite Series.
Monroe expects to be interrogated down to the finest detail when he and fellow pro John Crews host a free fishing workshop from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Jann’s Netcraft on Briarfield Boulevard in Maumee.
“Ask me anything — that’s what I tell people when I have the opportunity to do events like this,” Monroe said earlier this week. “It is an open-ended deal. I love to devote a lot of time to question-and-answer sessions each place I go. People want to know as much as they can about fishing, and I’m willing to tell them everything I know.”
The Ann Arbor native, whose family moved to San Francisco when he was young, has won four times on the Bassmaster circuit. The soon-to-be 39-year-old Monroe has finished in the top 10 in 24 tour events. He has won tournaments on Florida’s vast Lake Okeechobee, upstate New York’s Oneida Lake, Grapevine Lake in Texas, and Lake Amistad, also in Texas.
Monroe said that while the techniques might be a little different from one place on the map to another, the majority of his approach to bass fishing remains constant.
“The message doesn’t change much at all, no matter where I am around the country,” he said. “A bass is a bass — all around the world. It’s a fish that constantly challenges us, and one that as soon as you think you have it all figured out, it will humble you in a split second.”
Monroe, who now makes California his home, comes to Netcraft armed with a certain degree of familiarity with the waters most anglers in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan are regularly working.
“I’ve fished the Huron River (Michigan), Lake St. Clair, and of course Lake Erie, so none of this is foreign to me,” he said. “But no matter where you are, everyone is fishing the same conditions and facing the same challenges, so how well you prepare becomes critical, and then how you put that preparation into practice out on the water.”
Monroe, who counts Cocoons fishing eyewear, Ranger Boats, Yamaha outboards, Lowrance marine electronics, Daiwa fishing tackle, and Missile soft plastic baits among his primary sponsors on the tour, attributes his success to state-of-the-art equipment and a highly organized approach to fishing.
“I can tell you everything that’s in my boat, and where it is,” Monroe said. “I like being very organized. They say luck is really when preparation meets opportunity, and I want to be as organized and prepared as possible to meet the opportunities out on the water.”
Monroe, who sits fourth in the Bassmaster Elite Series points standings, said he encourages anglers to approach fishing like they would any job, or project.
“I think it is so important to do your homework ahead of time, so you go out with some kind of plan on what you are going to do,” he said.
“Now you also have to be flexible and ready to adjust, because conditions change and situations change, and adjusting to those things is really important. Having a good fallback plan can make the difference between having a great day fishing, or having just an ordinary day.”
Monroe fishes about 20 pro tournaments each year, and then spends another few months doing promotional appearances for his sponsors, and working the major outdoors shows. In the brief “off-season,” he concentrates on getting in shape for the coming round of tournaments.
“I work out five days a week, but unfortunately, there’s only time for that in the off-season. I have to lose the 20 pounds I put on during the tournament season and doing the promotional work, and focus on living a healthier lifestyle.”
The next stop on the Bassmaster Elite Series tour will take Monroe and Crews to La Crosse, Wis., next weekend to fish the Mississippi River. They will tackle the St. Lawrence River in New York in mid-August, and then close the 2013 Elite season on Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River with the Lake St. Clair Championship (Aug. 22-25).
“I am a very lucky guy, because I get to do what I love and do it for a living,” Monroe said. “I consider fishing to be the purest thing around. I’ve got pictures of me out fishing when I was just two, and I still love it. I’d rather be fishing than doing anything else.”
DETAILS/DIRECTIONS: Pro bass fishermen Ish Monroe and John Crews will be at Jann’s Netcraft at 3350 Briarfield Blvd. in Maumee on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Netcraft is south of Salisbury Road, and on the west side of Briarfield. The store is located just west of I-475/U.S. 23. More information on the appearance by Monroe and Crews is available by calling Netcraft at 419-868-8288.
WALLEYE TOUR: About 130 boats were expected to zip off from the area around the West Harbor Public Ramp on Catawba Island when safe light arrived early this morning, getting the Lake Erie stop on the Cabela’s National Walleye Tour started. The event runs today and Saturday, with weigh-in both days scheduled for 3 p.m. at Waterworks Park in Port Clinton. Anglers from Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Colorado, North Dakota, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Montana, Wyoming, and Ontario are expected to compete in the event.
Contact Blade outdoors editor Matt Markey at: email@example.com or 419-724-6068.