It takes decades of experience, years of studying and a lifetime on the water to become a master angler. Or does it? Mark Hanowski, a 12-year-old from Little Falls, Minnesota, had the gumption to write a letter to us here at NAFC Headquarters explaining his love of fishing. He even sent us a how-to article on power bass fishing. In the process, he became one of the youngest published fishing writers you’ll ever find.
The sixth-grader spends 80 days a year on the water–during the summer, that is, when he’s not stuck in school. “In May I’ll be sitting in my classroom looking outside and I wish I could be out fishing,” Mark says. “I daydream about catching a nice fish.”
Mark catches plenty of nice fish. As a kid–well, as a younger kid–Mark honed his skills fishing the fertile Mississippi River with his dad and grandpa. He developed a childhood crush on big bass. He’s already got a 5-pound smallmouth and 6-pound largemouth to his name.
He wouldn’t mind becoming famous, but this is one 12-year-old boy who doesn’t dream about becoming a professional baseball player. In fact, one of the biggest burdens in Mark’s summer schedule are those darned 6 p.m. baseball practices that cut short his fishing day.
“When I grow up I want to be either a professional bass fisherman or a bass fishing journalist who works for a major magazine and gets paid a fair amount,” says Mark, noting his back-up plan is to work as a biologist and make fish attractants for baits.
The scientific side of biology doesn’t scare Mark. In fact, science is one of his favorite classes and he studies fish, water quality and wildlife to better understand his quarry. “He’s weird,” admits Mark’s dad, Tom. “He gets the magazines and the videos and he watches all these fishing shows and he sits and studies fishing.”
Mark’s family has known about his obsession for years. As a 6-year-old during an outing on the pontoon boat, Mark ignored a pouring rain and kept fishing while the rest of the family huddled under the canopy. “He refused to come in,” recalls Tom. “He was happy as a clam.”
“The only bad thing is I didn’t catch a single fish, but it was still fun,” says Mark. “I like the suspense of when you might catch a fish, not knowing if you’re going to get a bite or not. You know its going to pay off eventually.”
Of course Mark’s passion will pay off eventually. After all, decades of experience, years of studying and a lifetime on the water await him. In the meantime, Mark doesn’t mind being an unusual sixth-grader. “When I talk about fishing to my classmates they don’t get it,” he says with a laugh. “They look totally confused and just walk away.”
On the Mark
More about the 12-year-old fishing writer…
Favorite Movies: Advanced Bassin’ Today and Bass Location Secrets
Favorite Actor: Adam Sandler
Favorite Actress: Jessica Simpson
Favorite Video Games: Guitar Hero and Rapala Pro Fishing
Favorite Restaurants: Perkins and Subway
Favorite Singers: Eric Clapton and Aerosmith
Favorite Body of Water: Mississippi River
Dream Birthday Gift: A bass boat
CLICK HERE TO READ MARK’S FIRST PUBLISHED ARTICLE: POWER FISHING FOR BASS