Can you imagine doing something you love year-round and being paid for it? The notion of becoming a professional fisherman takes more than just a love and skill for angling.

Recently, pro angler and recent Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame inductee Mark Martin shared some insight with MLive.com on how anglers can make this happen.

Be Specific

The first tip Martin offers is for anglers to be specific and sharpen their focus when it comes to which species they want to target professionally. Martin, for example, chose to hone his craft on the walleye world. He prefers walleye because “They’re a different fish to catch,” and “will hit many different ways,” he says.

Learn from Others

Going it alone and assuming you have all the answers are a short path to failure in any endeavor. For this reason, it’s smart to seek guidance from an experienced angler if you’re thinking of going pro. Martin was mentored by Gary Roach, Mr. Walleye himself, who helped him make contacts and gain experience.

Surround Yourself with All Things Fishing

If you want to be a pro in the fishing world, you have to immerse yourself in the fishing world. This means making sacrifices in your life in order to make fishing a priority. Martin began fishing in competitions in the 1980’s and it wasn’t until 1990 that he was named Professional Walleye Trail World Champion. Even after that tournament, though, he continued his work as a guide and captain, as well as writing a book and advice columns on walleye fishing and teaching classes. 

Pay It Forward

It would be selfish to glean knowledge and tips from other anglers and not pass it along to future generations and other aspiring fishermen. Aside from his instructional classes, Martin has served as a mentor for several anglers, offering business and professional advice, as well as helping to open doors for them to realize opportunities.