Stan Fagerstrom

Stan Fagerstrom is a member of both the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame as well as the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame. Stan is also known internationally for his casting skills. Stan welcomes your e-mail comments at

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July 01, 2013

Phil Marks Part 1

by Stan Fagerstrom

I'd love to climb into a bass boat with a guy named Phil Marks.

Maybe you already know who Phil is. If you don't and you're into bass fishing big time I think you should. Phil, you see, is one of those talented dudes who spends most of his time coming up with the baits that you and I catch bass with.

If you don't know Phil, I'd bet all of my Senkos you're well aware of the Strike King Lure Company. Among other things, Phil is the new products manager for this highly respected Tennessee based lure building operation.

I don't care what lure you've tied on in the past 15 years, if it carries the Strike King label Phil Marks has had something to do with it. You don't have to stretch your imagination very far to appreciate the kind of knowledge a man gets to collect when he's spent the time doing what Phil has.

Phil Marks doesn't just design fish catching lures for the Strike King Lure Company---he gets out there and uses them. He won the FLW tour tournament at Sam Rayburn Lake where he nailed this pair of dandy largemouth.

Marks has been in the sports fishing industry ever since after he got his degree in ocean engineering from Texas A&M back in the spring of 1990. I doubt he's ever done much engineering where our saltwater seas are concerned but he sure as the devil has left an imprint on this business of putting bass in the boat.

That's why I started out this column by mentioning how much I'd like to I'd like to share a bass boat with him. I'm usually told I'm bringing too many rods and reels and other gear when I climb into somebody else's bass boat. Phil wouldn't have to worry about that if I got to go with him. I'd be perfectly content to leave my gear home and just spend the day taking full advantage of the wondrous opportunity to simply look, listen and learn.

I know that the foregoing is true because not long ago I had a chance to spend some time visiting with this nationally known lure building expert. I'd talked to him briefly a couple of years ago at the annual ICAST show in Las Vegas. I caught up with him this last time when he just returned from a bass fishing tournament.

Though I've known of Phil and the important role he plays with one of the nation's leading bass lure builders for a long time, I found my interest in him peaking again late last year when he flat clobbered the competition in a Walmart FLW Tour Open in which he participated at Sam Rayburn Reservoir down in Texas.

When I say Marks "clobbered" the competition it isn't an exaggeration. Phil wound up the three days of tournament fishing with a winning total of 82-pounds. In fact, his winning margin of 16.5-pounds was the fourth largest in Walmart FLW Tour history. The final day of the contest he brought in a five bass limit that weighed 32-pounds, 12-ounces.

When a guy who builds baits does this sort of thing it's bound to get your attention. It sure as heck got mine. And the fact that he had he won it with such impressive totals wasn't the only reason. What else was there? Listen up---I'm about to tell you.

That second reason for my keen interest was centered on one of the lures Phil used to catch his largest bass during the Big Sam tournament. That lure was a brand new Strike King lure that hadn't quite yet made it to market.

That lure---it was the Strike King 10XD---is a deep diving crankbait that's probably bigger than any other crankbait you've now got in your tackle box. How big is it? Well, if you've checked it out since it did hit dealer shelves you're aware this big sucker is 6-inches in length and weighs nearly two ounces.

The lure Phil Marks is holding is here is the new 10XD crankbait he designed for Strike King. He's already caught a couple of 10-pound laremouth on this new lure himself.

Are you thinking that's way too big for the bass where you fish? Well, those fish down there at Sam Rayburn aren't nearly as smart as you are---they knocked the hell out of it! So did other bass of 10.2-pounds and 10.4-pounds that Phil himself has taken from other waters with this overgrown crankbait.

"The largest fish I know that's been caught on it so far," Phil told me, "weighed 14-pounds." Now if fish that size don't get your attention I don't know what would.

The new 10XD Strike King diving crankbait doesn't just interest bass. An angler named William Uzzelll used one to catch this big brown trout from a Virginia lake. This beauty weighed 12-pounds, 12-ounces.

That's why just as soon as I could I got hold of the bait's creator to try and find out just when, where and how he fished it. Phil shared that information with me. Keep an eye on my next column here because I'm fixin' to share that same information with you.

You won't want to miss it!

-To Be Continued-
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