Parson’s helped pioneer the popularity of walleye fishing and is without question a legend, a pro. He’s an intense and serious man. He’s as passionate just as driven as the first day he committed to becoming a professional walleye anglers.
Listen to this fantastic interview if you want Gary Parson’s Advice to Walleye Tournament Fishing.
Legendary Walleye Angler, Gary Parson’s, Raw:
There’s a theory, or a general rule of thumb, that if you want to evolve into professional walleye fishing, you must first start in the small tournament circuit. Suggesting you go figure out your gig at a lower level, first, and if you do well enough at that level you can then consider graduating up to the big ranks.
I don’t believe that, and I think that’s the wrong take, to be completely honest.
I think you are much better off to start fishing something like the NWT Circuit, and then jump right into the fray.
Is it expensive to do it that way? Sure. But unless you have something personally invested, where it forces you to pay attention to things like, why you did poorly, and talk and make friends to the guys who have good habits— because you’re making a living in the sport.
You can learn a lot of bad habits from other anglers.
I watch it all the time. I see you guys on the smaller tournaments who might be good anglers, but they develop a lot of bad habits, which prevents them from fishing at a highly competitive level. They don’t evolve into what they could simply because they fail to develop good habits.
For instance, I would give anything to spend the day in the boat with Tommy Skarlis. Tommy is brilliant at fishing wing days. To this day, I would pay whatever the cost to spend a day in the boat watching Tommy fish wing dams on the Mississippi River. He’s the best at it, and I would learn so much.
My point is that there is a lot of opportunities out there for bad information.
And I sometimes think the industry masks what good lures and baits can produce. We talk about two or three different baits when it’s one lure that’s producing all the fish.
So as a young angler, you have to look with your eyes wide option and cut through the crap.
When my son Chase came through, I argued that he was ready to go right away, simply because he had fished in my boat his entire life, that I believed in my heart that he was ready and knew the right things to do. The tournament director wouldn’t let him first as a pro right away, so Chase had to fish as an amateur for a year. All the pros I know said to watch out for this kid right out of the gate—he’s going to be something. And then he won rookie of the year, and he took second in the championship. It was a kid that learned good habits.
Watch what the leaders in the industry are doing and try to replicate the process.