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  Competing in tournaments for over 30 years with his son, Ranger Boats’ pro staffer Mark Raveling continues to fine-tune his approach. The duo sealed this year’s Team of the Year honors for the North American Bass Circuit (NABC) with their win on Lake Vermillion. Second place at Sturgeon Bay was another high finish plus a 12th place on Lake Wisconsin. A great deal of their success has included utilizing the Spot-Lock feature on Mark’s Minn Kota iPilot bowmount trolling motor. The set up is on Mark’s Ranger Z521 bass boat and he has a new Ranger 620 on order for next year.

  “It leaves you free to concentrate on catching fish, not maneuvering the boat,” said Mark when asked about the Spot-Lock feature. Not very many bass anglers use this feature; it is far more common for walleye anglers. “Yeah, the bass guys are just catching on,” according to Mark.

  Mark Raveling, 64, lives on the southeast side of Leech Lake near Longville, Minnesota, and his son, Shane Raveling, 44 and also a pro staffer with Ranger Boats, lives in Prior Lake. “We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and we gel in the boat,” said Shane. “I mean, we’ve been fishing tournaments together a long time. Since I was 12.”

  They have always been a formidable team. However, last year’s season hit the skids when Mark experienced a heart attack and Doctors quickly performed bypass surgery in May. He spent the rest of the summer recuperating and slowly got back to short bursts of fishing at the end of September. “I could only be out for an hour or so at first. Had to build my strength back,” said Mark.

  This year, the trolling motor is making life easier. Finding the fish and getting the right presentation dialed in is still the prescribed hard work, but battling boat control on a windy day is no longer physically grueling. Mark lets the trolling motor hold their spot and focuses on fishing. “We still have to make good calls and there’s always a little luck involved,” said Mark, “but I’m physically not as drained and I have more energy.” Mark claims his Minn Kota motor is a tool that helps him relax and fish. “I have to contend with the elements—the wind and the water—but NOT the boat.” Depending on the GPS/Sonar pairings on board, this unique system can allow a lock on a compass-course setting, follow a depth contour from the sonar graph, and even chart a trail or a loop or tell the motor to follow the saved route. Hot waffles in the morning not included.

  How many anglers can finish the end of a pre-fish week and not feel beat up, ready to head into tournament days? Fishing for decades as a father-and-son team, winning tournaments and Team of the Year accolades are only a part of the payoff. Toss in having two grandsons (both age 15) who help with pre-fishing and compete in high school competitive fishing and Mark is almost giddy.

  “It’s all about family,” said Shane. His son, Mason, is one the high school fishing team competitors. Along with cousin, Carter, they are carrying on the legacy of the Ravelings.

  “I was blown away by watching Mark and Shane at the Sturgeon Bay and Vermillion events using this feature,” said George Liddle of Liddle Marketing Company, midwest manufacturer’s reprentative for Ranger Boats. “It is something that every big water bass fisherman needs to add to their tool box. When you combine the fishability of a Ranger and the Minn Kota i-Pilont Terrova Spot Lock feature it will add more fish to your live well.”

  After Mark’s heart attack last year, Shane told his dad at the beginning of this season, “Let’s do this while we can. You’re not getting any younger.” They had a great year this year and at age 64, Mark isn’t slowing down at all. “I’ve ordered a new 620 Ranger multi-species boat because I like how versatile that boat is for everything. I’ll take my Ranger Z521 bass boat down south for the winter and keep the new 620 FS Ranger in Minnesota for the summers,” said Mark.

  Two things you can count on: Mark will be in a Ranger Boat and he will have the new Minn Kota i-Pilot so he never loses the quality boat control he has grown to appreciate and depend on. “We get so we kind of hope there will be a blow and kick up four- to five-footers on tournament day,” laughed Shane. “We can hold our spot and handle it. Many of the other’s can’t.”

  To watch a video on the use of the Minn Kota Spot-Lock feature click here: https://youtu.be/m7NgpmcT_Ys

By K.J. Houtman http://tinyurl.com/houtman


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