Mark Zona: Smell The Mud

Photo of a bullfrog

I pretty much need to start this one by saying I’m not a very sentimental person. I’m not. I’m really not.

I think a lot of my family members would probably agree with that. But that’s a weird way to start this blog.

What’s weirder are the things that get me out of the Michigan winter funk. Generally, I go into it right after Thanksgiving.

I can’t sugar coat this enough -- I do not like cold weather. Not at all. I don’t like snow. I don’t like ice.

Yeah, I grew up ice fishing, but I think really the only reason I did it so much was to consume time. And I was fishing.

This might sound strange, but to me spring is always like the start of life is coming. It’s all right around the corner.

A lot of people like holidays and stuff like that, and you know we all do. But they’re long over; winter has hung around too long. The cabin fever needs to break.
Growing up in Michigan, there are two things that happen here that really do that for me, that signal what’s to come. They’re my two most favorite things throughout the year.

The first is the smell of mud. Ever smell mud? When our ground up here starts to thaw out in March or April, sometimes late April, there’s nothing better than going out and smelling mud.

When you can smell mud, you know that fishing season is right around the corner.

And the second thing, and it’s one of the best things in the world, is when we start to get warm nights and the frogs start croaking behind the house.

It might sound goofy -- remember I’m not a very sentimental person -- but there’s nothing better in the world than hearing the frogs croak. It just brings back all the childhood adventures that the next day would bring, whether it was chasing suckers in a river or bluegill that were two inches long.

It was just the adventure the next day was going to bring; leaving the house in the morning with my fishing pole and my little piece of crap bicycle. Words can’t describe it.

As strange as it is, when I come home off the road now from shooting Zona or a Bassmaster, I can go in the backyard and literally sit for hours on end and listen to frogs croaking.

The best way to put it is: it’s the start of life. There is no better feeling on earth, because that smell and those sounds take me back to being 10 years old, and there’s not many things on earth that do that.  


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BoatUS ANGLER Pro Staff member, Bassmaster Series co- host, and host of "Zona's Awesome Fishing Show". Read Mark Zona's blog