Don't be fooled by appearances. Don't let yourself be beguiled by the snow-white hair, the slight build or the fact that at 60 years old he's on the AARP's most-wanted list. NASCAR Winston Cup racer Dave Marcis is not the type of guy to spend his days idling on the front porch.
Marcis no longer attempts every event on the 36-stop Winston Cup circuit, but the weekends he isn't racing are usually spent outdoors, either hunting or fishing. One recent outing was to a muskie tournament on Rib Lake, Wisconsin. Marcis, who owns a fishing camp on the lake called Camp 28, served as host, award presenter and participant.
"The tournament is for the local people. It helps the local businesses, it promotes catch-and-release fishing, and the proceeds help keep the lake stocked with muskie and walleye," says Marcis, a native of nearby Wassau, Wisconsin. "The tournament is a good program, so when they asked if I would help out I said yes."
It probably also helped that when it comes to sport fishing, muskie is one of Marcis' favorites. It isn't hard to tell. Ask him to describe the long, slender fish and you get a reply from the sportsman's angle, what it's like to fish for one: "The muskie is basically a freshwater barracuda. It's a vicious fish. When a muskie sees something he wants, he doesn't bite it like most fish or mess around with it; he attacks it."
Predictably, Marcis, who as an independent racer always fought an uphill battle against better-financed, multi-car teams, also enjoys the challenge of stalking this difficult fish. The muskie is called "a fish of a thousand casts," and Marcis says he knows why.
"There have been many days I cast what felt like over a thousand times and never got a strike, or even a follow up. They are finicky, and you can never tell what's going to make them strike. One time I was fishing on the lake where I have my house, Spirit Lake. I fished for muskies about 75 percent of the day and didn't get any. I came in and told my wife, Helen, I was going to trailer the boat and go over to Harper-that's a lake that's real good for bluegill and crappie. My plan was to get a fresh mess of bluegill for supper.
"Anyway, I took my fly rod and was fishing in the lily pads with a little popper when a bluegill grabbed it. As I was pulling in the bluegill a muskie hit my line. He busted my line, took my bluegill and was gone. Just adios, and that was it. I didn't have another pole with me, so thanks to that muskie, I was done fishing for the day."
In February Marcis will attempt to qualify for Winston Cup's most prestigious race, the Daytona 500. Less than a month after that he will turn 61. Every year that goes by it gets a little tougher for tiny Marcis Auto Racing to compete against Winston Cup's elite, but Marcis says as long as he still enjoys strapping into a race car he'll keep competing. You can be sure the same holds true for fishing.
Want To Go?Camp 28 is a combination hotel, bar and restaurant located on the shores of Rib Lake, Wisconsin. You can arrive by car or by boat, have supper and swap lies about the fish you caught. Just don't ask Dave Marcis if he can check the rattle under the hood of your Pinto while you eat your steak.
Camp 28Dept. CT02720 South Hwy. 102Rib Lake, WI 54470715/427-2828