By John Johnson
BassFan Senior Editor

For the first time since Major League Fishing's inception more than a dozen years ago, Marty Stone will not be describing the action for online and TV viewers during the 2024 season.

The 58-year-old North Carolinian and former tour pro had served as a color commentator for MLF since 2011, when the organization launched a series of events featuring 24 anglers and a lot of non-traditional format wrinkles, with the tournaments conducted in relative secrecy and aired on TV the following year. Since the Bass Pro Tour began in 2019, he'd shared the broadcast desk with play-by-play announcer Chad McKee and fellow ex-tour pro-turned-analyst JT Kenney.

Stone, one of the original MLF angler/investors and still part of that ownership group, said he was notified in October that he wouldn't be coming back to the broadcasts this year. He said he was told the move was not performance-based, but rather one of several cost-cutting measures the organization was taking.

"Did it catch me off guard? Yes, it did somewhat," Stone said this week. "I figured what we were doing in production had another year or more left before costs would need to be cut.

"The good news is this did not catch God off guard, and if I'm half the man of faith I claim to be, I have to realize that. I also realize He has a better plan for me and is probably protecting me from something I don't know about. I had a real good friend in Texas inform me that if God wanted me at MLF flying to Tulsa every week to do a show, I still would be. Obviously, He does not want me there."

He's not standing in any unemployment lines these days. One day in late summer 2022, not long after he'd moved into his current home on the shores of Kerr Lake, he went into a store called A&K Dock Services, looking for a buoy to place in the water where his dock was slated to be installed. He was recognized by Eddie Kingree, an avid bass angler and pro fishing fan who owns and operates the business along with wife Roxann.

After a long conversation (during which Eddie disclosed that he was in need of additional employees and that installation jobs were booked out two years in advance), Stone began to think he'd enjoy the chance to help mitigate their labor issue. Eddie initially balked when he brought it up, but Roxann was all for it and she eventually got her way.

"I had the perfect part-time job," he said "I got to fish and hunt whenever I wanted to and I had time off to fulfill my MLF responsibilities. Not to mention I was learning the dock business, assuming more responsibility weekly, and most importantly I was on Kerr Lake daily."

Now fast-forward to this past October, when Stone got the call that relieved him of those MLF obligations. He texted the Kingrees to inquire about possibility of full-time work. A month later he was at the national dealer meeting for Wahoo (the dock brand that A&K sells, assembles and installs) and two weeks after that he became the A&K production manager.

"Our lead time has gone from two years out to 16 months," he said. "I have two crews that are solid and experienced. We roll every day and I am looking to hire two to four more solid employees. If someone is heading to Clarksville, Virginia and looking for a job that keeps them outdoors in God's creation and on the water, come see me and we'll hand you an application."

He's got some other irons in the fire, too. He'll be part of open-house events at all three Anglers Choice Marine locations and he's helping a friend manage a farm that caters to deer hunters. The 659-acre property plans to host three groups of three hunters coinciding with the rut next fall.

"This property has been managed since 2016 and we are consistently growing 125- to 150-inch native deer," he said. "We have a few every year that blow up into 160 inches and beyond. The last couple years we've sold a few hunts, but now we're going to ramp it up a touch more since I'm going to have some time to help more and be up there on a regular basis."

On the fishing side, he'll continue to run the MJS Academy to help educate aspiring tour-level anglers about the ins and outs of the sport's top level and he'll do some guiding on Kerr, and he looks forward to having an entire spring, summer and fall to compete in local events. For some of those he'll partner with 26-year-old son JT – it's been nearly a decade since they fished a full team trail together.

"Who knows where all this leads?" he said. "God closed one door, but as always He has opened several more – I pray I'm wise enough to pick the right ones.

"One thing for sure is I'm looking forward to having a spring to be able to fish close to home and not have to worry about getting on a plane every week!"


> For information about his guiding, academy or hunting offerings, Stone can be contacted through his website at