MDJ: December Is For Family, Pecans, Quackers, And FFS.

Team Toyota’s Mark Daniels Jr. says he’s a city kid at heart, who has always been attracted to the country way of life. So, finding him on the tailgate of his Tundra eating pecans after a duck hunt, prior to the next self-taught forward-facing sonar trip, is a pretty typical December day for the comical pro who now calls Southern Alabama home.

His love of wing shooting began in his home state of California at the age of 26, when close friend, Josh Reublin mentored him on the massive Suisun Marsh, where they took teal, gadwall, and a few mallards from West Coast skies.

When his education took him to Tuskegee University in Alabama, he brought the passion with him, and years after earning his degree in environmental science, “MDJ” now spends at least a dozen days each season taking mallards from a waterfowl lease he shares with buddies near Greenville, Mississippi.

“I’m really just a wing shooter – whether it’s ducks, dove, or quail – count me in,” grins Daniels over a bag of fresh fallen pecans. “Late fall and early winter are prime time for fresh pecans. My family and I love ‘em. So, I buy them fresh from the local farmers markets. They kinda half crack them for ya, so you still have to do a little work to enjoy them. And that’s half the fun of eating them,” he laughs.

On a slightly more serious note, is MDJ’s quest to become the best he can be at the forward-facing sonar game. So, most winter fishing trips to local lakes like Mitchell and Jordan are fully focused on finding bass feeding on schools of shad, and zeroing-in on them with bass fishing’s latest, and most talked about technology.

“It’s about repetition. It’s no different than the kid who wants to become a great basketball player going to the gym when nobody is there and practicing hundreds of free throws or 3-pointers. My job isn’t to debate the technology, my job is to learn it better and better. That only happens through time on the water using it, until the lightbulb moments happen more and more frequently,” he says.

Apparently, incidents of better FFS comprehension are occurring more often for MDJ, as days of catching 40 to 60 bass up to 4-pounds have happened numerous times for him in the days leading up to Santa’s arrival.

Once the big fella and his reindeer actually touch down near Tuskegee, he says he’ll host the big family holiday gathering for the first time ever, as they give their 87-year old grandma a break from her annual hospitality duties.

“My wife Taneisha and I are ready to have the whole family over. Even though it’s our first time to host, we’re gonna show ‘em all a good time. Bottom line is you just can’t go wrong in December. Whether it’s ducks, fresh pecans, winter fishing, or time with family, I just love this time of year,” says Daniels.

A fitting conclusion from one of bass fishing’s kindest, hardest working, and often most comical pros.

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