UPCOMING EVENT: Walmart Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Okeechobee

Tuesday Tour Update: Daniels is livin' the dream

Boater Mark Daniels Jr., of Fairfield, Calif., pumps his fist after winning the 2013 Federation National Championship.

It didn't take long for the fishing fever to spread like wildfire within Mark Daniels Jr. Growing up in California, Daniels quickly realized that the San Francisco Bay area offered a slew of fishing opportunities - opportunities that would one day lay the foundation for a 2013 TBF National championship title. From catching ocean perch to watching bass fishing shows on TV, Daniels could only dream of turning his passion into a professional fishing career - a trajectory which shows nothing but promise heading into the 2014 season. Fifth-place Mark Daniels Jr plans on flipping most of his day.Daniels fascination with fishing began when his parents started taking him out around San Francisco Bay to chase whatever they could catch before he was even a year old. However, even as a young boy, it didn't take long for Daniels' competitive spirit to come to the surface. Case in point, once he was old enough to handle a rod he quickly grew tired of using live bait. So he would bug his dad to put a lure on instead to provide more action. Even at that young age, Daniels appeared to exhibit all of the hallmarks of an aspiring professional angler. "I really got into bass fishing from TV," recalls Daniels. "I was about 5 years old and I knew right then that I wanted to be like those guys on TV someday." When he was 11, Daniels first set foot in a bass boat. Just a few years later he had joined the Bass Anglers of Northern California (BANC) at the age of 13. "Fishing with BANC really helped me fine-tune my skills," said Daniels. "I learned a lot from the other members of the club. Most of the guys in there were 30 or 40 years older than me so I had a wealth of knowledge to absorb. I was able to kind of formulate my own style from what I learned with those guys." Boater Mark Daniels Jr., of Fairfield, Calif., took home the title of 2013 Federation National Champion with a total catch of 62 pounds, 4 ounces.Daniels was a quick study when it came to catching bass and knew from all of the shows he had watched that there was much more out there for him to experience. So, to broaden his horizons, he joined The Bass Federation (TBF) when he was 16. "Joining the TBF was my first step outward to making (fishing) something bigger. Fishing with them allowed me to travel and get outside my comfort level. I couldn't afford to pick up and move east to pursue a fishing career; I just didn't have the finances to do that. But with the way the TBF runs things I could still get to travel without breaking the bank. "I had been fishing with the TBF since I was 16 and never made it to the national championship until this year. The competition in California is so stiff; it's just so hard to make it to the championship." Now at the age of 32, Daniels saw his dream come true by winning the TBF National Championship on Grand Lake O' the Cherokees this spring. Although it was his first time qualifying for the championship, he sacked up 62 pounds, 4 ounces over three days to claim the $100,000 "Living the Dream" package that will grant him an expense-paid entry to the 2014 Walmart FLW Tour. "Winning the TBF National Championship truly was a life changing experience. It is something I have wanted all my life and now I get a chance at making this my career," Daniels said. "I am meant to be a pro, but if you ask why, I can't really answer. It's just something I can feel and have felt all my life." Aside from winning the "Living the Dream" package, Daniels also received a ticket to the 2013 Forrest Wood Cup on the Red River that was held just a few weeks ago. Clearly unfazed by the pressure of competing with the best anglers in the world, Daniels took 17th place and a netted a $15,000 check, out-fishing nearly 30 of the top pros in the nation in the process - not too shabby for a guy competing on a body of water that he had never been too before. Mark Daniels Jr. talks to Chris Jones during his first time to fish the Forrest Wood Cup as a pro.A self-described family man, Daniels is also a full-time Agriculture Biologist for Solano County. While he has the support of his family to fish for a living, he acknowledges that is still struggling to balance his current career with his dream of going pro full time. As a result, Daniels said he will be forced to make some major life decisions before the 2014 FLW Tour season kicks off. "To give yourself a true shot at making it in fishing you either need to go for it or don't do it at all. With an opportunity to fish the Tour full time and have my entries paid, I can't turn that down. I feel like I can compete with these guys and having a free ride on tour will allow me more time to focus on fishing hard and keeping an open mind. "My job as of now only allows me three weeks off per year. There is a chance they may be able to work with my fishing schedule, but I doubt it. I might just have to walk away from my job. I can remember being 5 years old and dreaming about this opportunity that is now in front of me. I have to take it."

Tags: article 


Forrest Wood Cup Show Airs Monday

Tune in for the epic finale of the FLW season and watch east Tennessee native Brad Knight earn the win on Arkansas’ Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »


Staff Picks for Holiday Gifts

With Christmas just around the corner, perhaps you could use some help with your shopping. Whether you’re looking for the perfect gift for an angler or thinking of what to put on your own list for Santa to deliver, Christmas shopping can be a daunting task. Luckily our staff of elves has some pretty good suggestions to cover just about any taste or budget. READ MORE »


An Angler’s Thanksgiving

A number of pros have reasons to be grateful this Thanksgiving holiday as they contemplate the season behind them and what they managed to accomplish. Yet there are others who didn’t make quite as many ripples in the tournament waters this year, but nevertheless have cause to celebrate and look to the future. READ MORE »


Black Friday Deals



Fishing 101: Soft-Plastic Swimbaits

While all swimbaits accomplish the same thing – imitating a prey fish swimming through the water – there are now hundreds of baits from which to choose, and there are models for tackling just about any scenario. READ MORE »


Critter Shots of the Year

You see some things when you’re on the water for 10 months covering tournaments from Florida to California. Most of the time our on-the-water team has its cameras trained on the anglers, but every once in a while something from nature intervenes that is just too cool to pass up. READ MORE »


How to Succeed as a Co-angler

Fishing tournaments as a co-angler is a great first step to take toward a more advanced level of competitive bass fishing. Not only do you get more time on the water, you often end up fishing behind some very experienced anglers that can teach you some valuable lessons. READ MORE »


Episode 9 of FLW TV Airs Tonight

Watch as Ontario native Curtis Richardson qualifies for the Forrest Wood Cup and earns the title of Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American Champion on Kentucky Lake. READ MORE »


Peek Will Sit Out 2016 Tour

Alabama pro Richard Peek will forego the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour season to resolve back problems. Peek, of Centre, Ala., was told by his doctor that he should take off a year from tournament fishing so that surgery or other measures could be performed to correct a spinal deformity and relieve his pain. READ MORE »


2016 BFL All-American Qualifiers

With the completion of the Walmart Bass Fishing League Wild Card at Lake Hartwell – won by Mike Devere – all but The Bass Federation National Championship qualifiers are in place for the 2016 BFL All-American June 8-11 on Lake Barkley presented by the Cadiz-Trigg County Tourism Commission. READ MORE »


Jigging Up Late Fall Smallies

In the North Country, as fall fades and sportsmen settle in for the arrival of winter, many people put the boat away and forsake the water for the woods. For those willing to brave the elements on the lake, however, the reward is some of the best smallmouth bass fishing of the year for some of the biggest fish of the season. READ MORE »


Rayovac FLW Series Registration Opens

This is the week to register for everyone planning on fishing the FLW Series in 2016. Registration has been open for the top 40 pros and co-anglers from each division of the 2015 FLW Series and the top 50 boaters and co-anglers from each division of the 2015 Walmart Bass Fishing League (BFL) for some time. Tuesday is when everyone else can begin to get in on the action. READ MORE »


College Championship Airs Tonight

Tune in for the 2015 FLW College Fishing National Championship to see Patrick Walters and Gettys Brannon of the University of South Carolina capture the title in front of the hometown crowd at Lake Murray. READ MORE »


5 Pros Weigh in on Hanselman

When Ray Hanselman won the 2015 Rayovac FLW Series Championship to cap his season-long dominance of the Texas Division just about everyone tuned in. It wasn’t just the stunning sweep that captivated pros and fans alike; it was how he did it – leading after the second day in every event he fished and winning with stunning margins of 5 pounds, 8 ounces at Amistad, 7-2 at Sam Rayburn, 12 pounds even on Texoma and 8-2 at the Championship. READ MORE »


Episode 7 of FLW TV Airs Tonight

Watch as Shawn Gordon pulls off the win on Grand Lake in Oklahoma and qualifies for the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita in his home state of Arkansas. READ MORE »


How Hanselmania Happened

In case you’ve been stuck in a tree stand or out of social media range and didn’t already know it, Hanselman won all three regular-season Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division tournaments in 2015. And at the end of October he topped off his stellar run by winning the Rayovac FLW Series Championship on the Ohio River out of Paducah, Ky. READ MORE »


2014 Cup Wins Sports Tourism Award

The 2014 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Murray in Columbia, S.C., was recently named the 2015 Champion of Economic Impact in Sports Tourism for the mid- to large market category by Sports Destination Management magazine. READ MORE »


5 Best Smallmouth Destinations

Fall is the time of year to treat yourself to one last fishing excursion before the snowflakes start to fall. And if you’re going to take a fishing road trip amid a backdrop of autumn’s colorful foliage, it might as well be for fat, angry brown bass, right? READ MORE »


College Championship Field Set

Now that the 2015 FLW College Fishing Conference Championships are complete, 58 teams have earned the opportunity to fish in the 2016 FLW College Fishing National Championship. READ MORE »


2016 FLW College Fishing Rules