Welcome to the UltimateBass member Spotlight Interview. This is the place where each month readers can come and learn a little something about our members, who they are, what they do, what they think about topics of interest, and the like.
Pro-angler interviews are prevalent on most web-sites, television, radio, and newspapers. However, UltimateBass is a web-site for anglers by anglers, so why not interview our own anglers. From our most sponsored angler, to our sponsors, right on to our weekend anglers, Everyone has a story.
This month we get to talk with one of America’s best, Mitch Bowen. Mitch is the Air Force on active duty, stationed at Barksdale Air Force base in Bossier City, Louisiana. Mitch is a very competitive angler with the Twin Cities Team Club, also in Bossier City, La. Mitch has been a member of UltimateBass since September 20th of 2004 (a recent one year anniversary), and is an active poster on the forums. A very likeable fella, and a hoot to fish with, Mitch is just an all around good guy.
I want to thank you up front for your service to our great country, and further thank you for participating with this interview.
Dave: Where are you from originally?
Mitch: Shelby North Carolina
Dave: How long did you live there before leaving and do you still have family there?
Mitch: Well I lived there till I left for boot camp at 17 years old. My whole family and in-laws live there within 30 mins. of each other
Dave: What one most influential person would you like to meet and fish with?
Mitch: Bill Dance
Dave: What makes you choose Bill Dance? Do you think he has become too ‘commercialized’ in the last few years?
Mitch: He is a jack of all trades when it comes to fishing. He doesn’t have to have a $40.000 bass boat to catch fish like a lot of the guys on the trail today. I really don’t think he’s commercialized because it’s his job. He makes his show to pass on his knowledge to the next generation. I think the B.A.S.S. has become too commercialized more than anything else. There all about the top dollar.
Dave: When did you start fishing and why?
Mitch: I started fishing when I was 5 or 6 years old. I grew up in the country on a farm with a man made pond down in the woods. My whole family would go down there and camp out for the weekend and fishing was the thing to do. I learned how to fish in that little pond and still go fishing there every time I go home to visit. The reason why I fish is hard to explain other than I have a desire to do it. It’s like if I don’t fish and hunt then I failed as a man!
Dave: What is your favorite fishing technique, i.e.: flipping, pitching, bait of choice equipment, time of year, depth, etc….
Mitch: I would have to say my favorite is working soft plastics in the spring and fall around grass beds and pads in 2-6 feet of water. I have 4 matching Bass Pro Extreme Rod-n-Reels. 2 are 6.3:1 and 2 are 5.3:1. 3 are 6′ long and 1 is 6’6” long. I can cover a lot of different types of areas with different lures without stopping to retie every time the cover changes.
Dave: How do you apply the articles to what you do on the water, and do you have a system that you use to help you find fish?
Mitch: I’ll pick something I don’t know about and read every article I can found on it. Then my next “Fun” trip out I try to put it to use. I’m still working on my fish finding system. The more I learn the easier it gets to start in a good spot. If I don’t know the area then I use 4 rods and switch back and forth till they tell me what to use. I’ll have a T-rig plastic, spinnerbait, topwater, and crankbait lure on each rod and cover water.
Dave: What is your greatest weakness and how do you plan on improving it?
Mitch: The lack of knowledge is what I consider to be my greatest weakness. I improve this a little each day by asking questions, reading articles, or getting hands on training with people like Dave, Mike Noble, Fogy, and KennyP. I’ve fished with each of these people and walked away with some good knowledge.
Dave: Do you find fishing mostly relaxing, or do you find it more like a job, but one that you enjoy?
Mitch: Mostly it’s my day to just get away from it all but it’s easy for it to seem more like a job when you’re in a tournament.
Dave: What is your favorite local body of water and why do you like it?
Mitch: I would have to say that Cypress Lake is my favorite because it has a little of everything on it, i.e. pads, grass, flats, points, deep channels, deep docks, etc….
Dave: Tell us a little more about cypress (for those that don’t know about it) like directions and seasonal patterns…depth and the like…
Mitch: Cypress Lake is located in the northwestern part of Louisiana. Take I-20 to I-220, which is a 17 mile bypass above Shreveport-Bossier City Area. Get off on Airline Drive North and go about 6 miles north. You’ll come to a 3-way stoplight with white marker poles in the middle of the road. Turn right and go about 4 miles (crossing over Black Bayou) till you see a country store on the right. Turn right at the store and go about 2 miles. When you pass the Fire department on the left you will see the boat ramp 200 yards up on the left. There is a parking fee of $2.00-$2.50 depending if it’s a weekday or weekend. It has flats that are 2-3 feet deep and channels that go 12-30 feet deep. For the spring and fall time patterns, try the back of the coves for spawning areas and watch for the shad being pushed around in there. Buzzbaits, spinnerbaits, and lizards are the baits of choice. The summer and winter patterns I like to back off the main lake points and the deeper docks with C-rigs, jigs, and rattle traps.
Dave: What is your biggest bass to date, and how about a story with that catch.
Mitch: Biggest bass so far is an 8 lb 4 oz toad. I caught it at the age of 12 in my farm pond. It was mid may and I went off on my routine Saturday morning fishing trip. I grabbed my Zebco 33 and a few lures I had just bought to try that day. I fished for a few hours going around the pond and then back trying different lures. The last lure I had to try was 3/8 oz white spinner bait with a single Colorado blade. So I tied it on and started around the pond again. There was a treetop in the middle of the pond that I always caught fish off of so I must have made 20 casts thinking I would get bit, but nothing. I kept telling myself there has to be a bass there and I was going to catch it or throw that lure in the woods. Well I threw right over the middle of this treetop and slow rolled it back when it happened. I thought I got hung-up in the middle of it until I saw my line swimming off to the right. Thinking the biggest bass in there was only about 2 pounds, I set the hook on it and then it jerked me off the pine stump I was standing on into the water. So now I’m trying to get out of the pond and still catch the fish. After a minute or so I finally got up the bank and was able to land it. Taking that home to my dad was a proud moment in my life.
Dave: You had a great finish this past spring at Bistineau. How did that make you feel?
Mitch: I was really shocked and on top of the world at the same time. I fished that team tournament by myself because my partner was at school so I was really not looking forward to that tournament. When I got to the weigh-in I was surprised that my wife and sons where there. It was like it was suppose to happen that day because they don’t get to come to the weigh-ins most of the time. There’s nothing like winning in front of 2 boys that look up to you for everything. The money was nice but the looks on their faces was priceless.
Dave: Have you fished any regional or national fishing organizations tournaments and if so what was your impression?
Mitch: No but I plan on working up to that.
Dave: Do you plan to take tournament fishing farther?
Dave: Where would you like to your fishing to, i.e.: continuing club tournament fishing, participating in regional tournaments, or going pro?
Mitch: I’m going to continue fishing our club tournaments and hopefully join the ABA trail next year. I want to learn the area a little more before I go swimming with the sharks, LOL.
Dave: How do you handle disappointments after a rough tournament?
Mitch: It really makes me mad inside but I just chalk it up as a learning experiment and start looking forward to the next one
Dave: Do you own a boat and if so, give me some details such as; size, outboard, likes and dislikes, etc…
Mitch: I have a 2005 Nitro NX750 SC with 125 Mercury. I love it because its mine and get to fish out of the front all I want. Its 17′ 6” long so it has enough room to fish comfortable but small enough to still get back in the honey holes. So far I don’t have any dislikes about it. I had a lot of options put on when I got it so there’s not much left out.
Dave: If you could have done things different with your boat, what would it be?
Mitch: The only thing I wish I could have done was upgrade to the OPTIMAX 135 but $4000.00 was just too much.
Dave: Tell us about your family life.
Mitch: I’ve been married to my high school sweetheart for over 11 years now and we have 2 healthy sons (8 & 6). They are the most important thing in life to me.
Dave: How have you tried to instill the outdoors and fishing bug in your boys? Have you ever considered having your lovely wife fish a tournament with you?
Mitch: I take my sons fishing all the time. Sometimes we just go to this pond and bank fish because of time but we always go. I try to keep it fun for them right now by letting them do there own thing. If I catch one then I let them reel it in and tell Mommy they caught it. They already know more than I did at there age so I guess I’m doing ok. As far as having the wife fish…well that’s something I would like her to do but not all the time. She’s not into fishing or hunting but she does understand why me and the boys have to do it.
Dave: Besides fishing, what other activities do you enjoy?
Mitch: Hunting, riding ATV’s, and just about anything else outdoors in mother nature.
Dave: Who has helped you succeed in your endeavors so far the most?
Mitch: I would have to say my parents and my wife for all the support and understanding.
Dave: What is the one ideal job you would like to have other than the one you have now?
Mitch: To be a game warden
Dave: Would you consider doing that in Louisiana?
Mitch: I would do it here but when I’m done in the Air Force I have to take my family back home to North Carolina.
Dave: Tell us about your job, Duties, titles, year’s exp. and future goals.
Mitch: I’ve been in the services for 11 years now. I did my first 6 years in the Marine Corp as a Mobile Refueler in Hawaii and NC. The next 2 years I was the Chief Marksmanship Instructor and Rifle team Captain at Cherry Point, NC. I decided to cross over into the Air Force for a better life with my family so the last 3 years I’ve been in Vehicle Operations. My goal is to retire from the USAF at the old age of 37.
Dave: What is the biggest difference between the Marines and the Air Force?
Mitch: At the time I switched it was the mission and quality of life but now we’re doing the same things in my career field. So everyday that goes by we’re becoming one big happy family.
Dave: How do you like the UltimateBass web-site?
Mitch: It’s by far the best site I’ve used.
Dave: What have you gained from membership so far?
Mitch: KNOWLEDGE and FRIENDS!
Dave: Where would you like the see the Twin Cities Team Club go in the future? As in more members, organizational affiliations, club format….
Mitch: Would be nice to have a sponsor or two and a few more teams.
Dave: What is one lake that the club hasn’t fished that you as an individual would like to fish on?
Mitch: That’s just it; we fish the lakes all the time. I want to fish the Red River just to change it up this year.
Dave: How would you invite more members to join?
Mitch: I tell people every time I’m out fishing about our club and web site. I think the word of mouth works best.
Dave: What one way would you improve the web-site or change it personally?
Mitch: Right now I really don’t know of any way to improve it. It’s really user friendly.
Dave: Name two things that you carry in your boat that normally you wouldn’t tell anyone about?
Mitch: Nothing really. I don’t care a rabbit’s foot or anything that else like that. The stuff in my boat is the everyday things I’m sure everybody else has.
Dave: How do you feel about the stocking of carp in our lakes as well at the Florida strain bass?
Mitch: Well I’ve heard the carp can really over take a lake because nobody or nothing prays on them. As for the Florida Strain bass I guess I’m on the fence. A lot of fishermen say they shouldn’t but I don’t fully understand why. But if all the people are mad about it there must be something I’m missing.
VOTE FOR THE RIVER!!!!!!!!! LOL
I have had the pleasure to fish with Mitch on occasion, and I can say he is a class act. Mitch is an outgoing person and has really come along way with the Twin Cities Team Club since joining, and we look forward to seeing him each month or more often as the club meets. It’s truly a pleasure to have this interview with one of our armed services members (despite being a former Marine – it’s a Navy/Marine thing). I want to thank Mitch for participating in this month’s interview and invite ya’ll to email him with any questions you might have for my friend.
Till next time, Fair Winds and Following Seas………
Dave the Dope Man