Toyota’s newest pro angler to Team Toyota, Mark Daniels Jr., began fishing with his father who introduced him to the sport as a kid while living in California’s Bay Area.
When Daniels’ family moved to the suburbs with ponds teeming with bluegill and bass, his passion for fishing and the outdoors became even more ingrained. Watching fishing tournaments on television, coupled with his ability to fish near home, undoubtedly hooked him on the sport.
“My parents, they both love to fish, so I grew up on the water. I remember when I was about 11 or 12 years old, my grandmother bought me my first tournament rod, a Fenwick Eagle, and I treasured that thing,” recalls Daniels.
Chasing the Dream
Daniels earned a degree in environmental science from Tuskegee University which cultivated his love of the outdoors into an agricultural career. Daniels dreamed of turning his passion for fishing into a full-time job. He began competing in The Bass Federation (TBF) tournaments on weekends, one of the affordable ways to compete, which ultimately led him to the TBF Nationals. Daniels won the TBF National Championship – boosting his confidence enough to leave his 9-to-5 job and fish professionally.
“When I won, I immediately wanted to go for it. At this point, I had a wife and two kids – it was bigger than just me. My wife Taneisha was 100% in with me pursuing my dream of becoming a professional angler. We packed up our stuff and moved to Alabama,” says Daniels.
His TBF National Championship winnings helped support his family during his rookie year and, as he gained momentum in his angling career, inevitably signed with Major League Fishing (MLF).
Daniels began competing in Toyota’s Bonus Bucks Program around 2015 when he purchased his first Toyota Tundra, and found success being able to cash multiple Bonus Bucks checks from competing in the program. To-date, Daniels has won over $1 million dollars in prize money, as well as thousands of Toyota Bonus Bucks contingency dollars.
“Toyota Tundras are the absolute best-looking trucks – so I purchased my first back in 2015,” says Daniels. “But on top of looks, the rig performs phenomenally and whenever I’m driving and I need to get up that mountainside, the power stands out.”
What’s Next for Daniels
Daniels has always been impressed by Toyota’s support of the fishing industry from the grassroots level, up to the Bassmaster Elite series, and everything in between. Aside from loving his Tundra, Toyota’s support of amateurs through the Bonus Bucks Owners Tournament is one of the reasons Daniels feels a strong connection to Team Toyota athletes.
“When you look at the Team Toyota, iconic names in the sport – Kevin VanDam, Terry Scroggins, Gerald Swindle – are guys I admire and grew up watching,” says Daniels. He considers himself a fan of the sport as well.
Daniels looks forward to creating more amazing social content and improving his skills for MLF tournament competitions including the Bass Pro Tour, Invitational series, and Redcrest, to name a few. The sacrifices he’s made over the years are driven by his number one priority, his family, as he looks forward to his role as a Team Toyota athlete.
“I think any angler would love the opportunity to be part of Team Toyota,” says Daniels. “I’m super humbled and excited to get this opportunity to join as a Team Toyota angler.”
For more information on the Toyota Bonus Bucks Program, please visit: https://www.toyotatrucksbonusbucks.com/overview
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Originally published March 15, 2023