Mark Martin’s Ice-fishing Vacation School

Mark Martin with another Walleye

I’ve been blessed with so many friends that have invited me to fish with them. Some of those invites have been to go ice-fishing. But this Florida native has always replied “Thank you but doesn’t ice go in your tea?” But my curiosity about the tactics, conditions and feeding response of those icy-fish had won. Besides, how often does an angler get to go fishing with PWT Champ, Mark Martin? So I booked my flight to Bay City, MI.

Since this trip was waaay out of my box, I had to gear up. Frabill kindly sent me some of their Ice-hunter combos to try. These rods are sensitive and the reels are extremely smooth. Teeg of sent some Grabber Hand Warmers and a pair of ice-cleats. (Never needed those in Florida) Our friendly rep, Nathan Rice shipped a SnoSuit to the hotel for me. (It wouldn’t fit in my overnight bag and I couldn’t wear it on the plane.)

Mark Martin’s Ice Fishing Vacation School entails an afternoon of seminars with the pros at Linwood Beach Marina and a trip to Frank’s Great Outdoors. Then you fish two and half days, with on the ice training. The camp includes a bag of tackle samples too.

I spent day one visiting with the anglers and pros; learning the techniques employed on the ice and shooting photos of them with their fish. I got to fish a few hours with nary a bump. But after listening to David Rose’s wit and wisdom, my head was full of ideas and my sides were splitting. I look forward to fishing with this acclaimed, Northern Michigan guide soon.

My biggest surprise was how warm I was, layered up inside the Snosuit. I shed the top and my cap by nine o’clock that morning!

Day two’s mega bite of 300 fish made the snow storm just a minor inconvenience. But I missed it. Something akin to “Montezuma’s revenge” had a hold on me and I spent the day in my hotel room, on the porcelain fishing chair. While I was disappointed, I was happy for the anglers that attended. They learned a lot about ice fishing and caught a pile of Walleye, Whitefish and even some Smallies.

I didn’t get to fish much myself.  But I was able to bag some good photos and see how our products are used on the ice. It was a pleasure to meet so many great guides, writers and anglers. Come join us next year for a great adventure.

Blessings, TJ

About TJ Stallings

45-year tackle industry veteran Marketing and Crazy Ideas at TTI-Blakemore Fishing Group (Home of Road Runner Lures and six hook brands including Tru-Turn, Daiichi, XPoint, Team Catfish, Mr. Crappie and StandOUT Hooks.) Home of Gun Protect. The opinions expressed in this blog are those of TJ Stallings and not necessarily those of TTI-Blakemore.
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13 Responses to Mark Martin’s Ice-fishing Vacation School

  1. Oh, man – TJ! I can’t believe you didn’t get to catch any – what a bummer. What a bummer! Oh, man, I’m so glad you got to try it out, but it’s WAY more fun when you catch ’em! A 300 fish day, even for a group of anglers, is a GREAT day. That’s an awesome photo of Mark.

  2. Mark Martin says:

    TJ, Thanks for all your help, can’t wait till we get you out the next time stay in touch Mark Martin.

  3. tjstallings says:

    Thank you Mark. I appreciate the hospitality.

    No worries Teeg. The photos are more important than the fish. I’ll be on the water both days next year and get my shot at some ‘eyes. Thanks for the hand warmers and ice grippers.

  4. phil junker says:

    Sorry you were under the weather, and missed pulling the fish through the ice.
    Hey, you could have used those ice shoes in the parking lot here in Florida in early January.
    Phil Junker

  5. Bill Laufer says:


    Sorry that you were under the weather while you were in Michigan. Glad to hear that the SnoSuit served you well while you were on the ice. Those suits are amazing!

    Hopefully you’ll go again next year…maybe I’ll be able to be with you…who knows…


  6. Thom McCollum says:

    Hey TJ, This is the “husky” fella that fished with you last year at the ice fishing school. I wondered if you would make the trip north again, after the blizzard we experienced last year. So are you coming up again? I want to hear about how things are down in the gulf after the big spill. Looking forward to seeing you again. BTW – the bleedin hooks were a real winner on the walleyes this summer. Thom McCollum

    • TJ Stallings says:

      Thom, several of us were “husky” as I recall. 🙂 I enjoyed my trip up there so much and meeting everyone. I’ll follow up with Mark and see if I’m invited. Happy to hear the hooks are working on the ‘eyes. About the spill… Clean up continues. Life begins at bacteria, then plankton, then shrimp… HMS (Highly Migratory Species) like Tuna, split their stocks to breed, half of them go one way, the other the gulf. Will they breed in the gulf or will we lose a generation of Tuna? We won’t know how much damage there really is, for years. I sure have lost a lot of sleep over it.
      Thanks for the shout out. Blessings, -tj

  7. John says:

    ? Can you fish with night crawlers using the dropShot method of fishing for walleye’s? And be successful?

    • TJ Stallings says:

      Absolutely! You may have to remove a smallmouth now and then. 🙂

      • John says:

        First year ice fishing, which way would u suggest on how to hook the night crawler ? I appreciate you helping out this 61 yr old rookie getting back into ice fishing. Is there any articles on ice fishing with night crawlers.? A lot on jigging and use of minnows. But haven’t seen any on the use of night crawlers. Thanks again. To help out this old newbie!

  8. John says:

    Use night crawlers the dropShot method for ice fishing?

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