Mick Kolassa

Mick Kolassa is a lifelong angler who grew up in Michigan, has lived on both coasts, and now resides in Oxford, Mississippi.  Mick is Chairman and Managing Partner at Medical Marketing Economics, a firm that consults with pharmaceutical companies regarding marketing issues.  Mick holds a Ph.D. from the University of Mississippi and has written and lectured extensively on pharmaceutical marketing and health care policy.

Mick served on the National Board of Directors of Trout Unlimited through much of the 1980s, and was active at the chapter and state council levels as well.  Mick joined the BTT Board in 2008 to help enhance membership activities.  He currently serves on the Membership, Marketing, and Research committees.

1. What is it that attracts you to fishing?

Fishing attracts me for a number of reasons.  Being outdoors in beautiful places is a benefit all its own, but fishing, especially flats fishing, is a personal challenge on many levels.  Stalking and spotting the fish and the physical activity of casting to and landing fish requires skill, practices, and more than a little luck.  Those dimensions make fishing a complex and challenging way to spend time.  It is virtually impossible to think about anything else at the time – the rest of the world just kind of goes away.

2. Describe your fondest fishing memory.

My fondest fishing memories seldom revolve around the fish.  I’ve been lucky enough to fish with some great anglers and to learn from the best.  It’s not only their tips on angling, but their philosophies that have been rewarding.  John Voelker, the author of Anatomy of a Fisherman and Trout Madness, and George Griffith and Art Neumann, the Founders of Trout Unlimited, all took me under their wings and instilled in me a love of the sport and, more importantly, the love of the resource and the ability to really appreciate it, enjoy it, and to take some level of personal responsibility for it.  Those are my fondest fish memories – but catching my first super slam ranks up there pretty high as well.

3. How did you get your start with BTT?

I joined BTT the first time I heard about it.  I began flats fishing in the 1990s, fell in love with it, and wanted to do and learn more.  BTT seemed like a natural fit.  Wanting to learn more about it, I contacted Tom Davidson and Aaron Adams to talk about how I might help – before I knew it I was on the Board!

4. What are the best ways that BTT can and has benefited coastal recreational fisheries?

BTT has made a great start in benefiting the fisheries.  The scientific knowledge developed and nurtured by BTT will allow us to protect the future of the fisheries, and that’s number one.  Spreading the word on the research, and the need for more research, is equally important and in the past few years we’ve really received a lot of attention.  I can honestly say that without the work of BTT, the recently enacted laws in Belize, which made bonefish, tarpon, and permit all no-kill fisheries, would not have happened.  Now we need other nations (and states) to catch up.

5. Do you see different futures for the fisheries with and without BTT?

Without BTT and the work we are doing, the future of the fisheries would be bleak; that’s not hyperbole, that’s just fact.  The work that we do and support, ranging from the bonefish census in the keys to the important work on spawning, habitat, and population connectivity, simply wouldn’t be done at the level of activity that it is were it not for BTT’s actions and dedication.  The trajectory of fish populations over the years has been downward, and the threats, known and unknown, to continued viability of the fisheries are mounting.  Not to get too dramatic, but if we weren’t doing this work, it wouldn’t get done.  I’m in this for my grandchildren and their children!