I first discovered “The Totally Awesome Fishing Show” on YouTube back in early 2014 whilst looking for Pollock fishing tips. I was really pleased to find that there were so many episodes to watch, covering all the species that I try and target myself here in the UK. How long has the “Totally Awesome Fishing Show” been running now, and where can new viewers see your show?
MIKE: It’s funny you say that, out of all the videos we have done (now over 288), that Pollock fishing video is well up there with the most fun fishing we’ve ever had on the show. Just one of those days where everything went right and we were enjoying the stunning scenery of Ireland and a great days fishing.
Before we started we hadn’t even thought about setting up a YouTube account. I set up the website in August 2011 www.totallyawesomefishing.com for dad to post some fishing articles and pictures as this was his main interest at the time. I then thought about doing a video. With dads experience of photography it wasn’t exactly a huge step to go onto recording videos. We ended up buying a small HD camcorder for £100.
Our first ever video was carp on paste baits and it was uploaded on September the 3rd 2011. It didn’t receive very many views at first, but we kept on making the videos anyway so that we could embed them into the website. Within the first month we only had 229 views and 1 subscriber!! As I write this we now have over 57,000 subscribers and over 10 Million views. But after about 3-4 months we noticed the channel getting a lot more attention and suddenly we hit 1,000 subscribers and that was it! We threw everything we had at it then, but it didn’t come cheap. We bought new camera’s, editing equipment, spent time and money getting to places but looking back now, 3 years on, it was certainly worth it.
I really enjoyed the episode where you visited my home town of Newquay, and went out fishing on the “Peganina” – Can we expect to see you guys in Cornwall again sometime soon, and what might you be targeting here next? (eg: sharks perhaps, or Gilthead Bream?)
GRAEME: The Peganina holds some history for me as I know it was associated with Porbeagle sharks off the North Devon coast. This was the first time I had ever fished from Newquay and although the weather was a horror story of wind, I could still see the potential for a possible big shark. The blue sharks will be offshore, no problem catching those. But it looks like nobody has tried fishing for the Porbeagles inshore.
The water is nice and clear down there and I understand they have some good inshore Bassing. I only went down there on a whim last year as I was fishing out of Minehead doing shore films, but if I am in the area, I will definitely drop in again (maybe not in the middle of the tourist season!).
I know that you love small boat fishing, but have you ever done kayak fishing, and is this something you might cover in future shows?
MIKE: We do love the small boat fishing, I know that Graeme will not be getting in a kayak as he can’t swim. Personally I have great interest in it, and it is certainly something I will be looking into in the near future. But I don’t want to rush into it as I know that safety is hugely important. So I’ll be doing my research and getting some experience with proper kayak fisherman first! But yes, it is something we will be covering, watch this space…..
You guys seem to have all the luck when it comes to catching loads of fish (and that’s why I watch the show!), but do you have your fair share of blank days like the rest of us?
GRAEME: Yes we do have blanks! For instance our “Pike on a Bike” episode on Mike’s new “TA Outdoors” YouTube Channel took 4 sessions to complete! We cycled miles to try and find fish. For sea and trout it is rare to blank but depending on the angle our story takes, we sometimes make it hard for ourselves. We don’t like blanks, but you have to take it on the chin like the rest of the anglers. Generally, if the conditions aren’t looking good, we won’t go. We need good weather for fishing, but we also need good weather for filming.
The Totally Awesome Fishing Show is always highly informative and also really entertaining to watch. I bet that filming the shows is really great fun. Do you have any funny stories about things that haven’t gone quite according to plan (that didn’t make the final cut)?
MIKE: What makes our show so special is that we leave in a lot of the hiccups and stuff that we didn’t plan. It’s very much ‘shoot from the hip’ and I think that’s what people enjoy. It makes the viewing more realistic; it certainly makes our life easier when it comes to editing! Most of the time there is no planning whatsoever, we just turn up, rig up the rods, cast out and then think “right, what’s this episode going to be about???”. We don’t fake anything for the cameras and we try not to do tackle-ramming, just telling people what we genuinely use.
We did have one mishap at the Southampton Boat Show. The boat we were filming pulled away from the mooring but left his mooring rope trailing in the water. In an effort to stop it jamming in the propeller, dad leaned over to haul the rope out and a £300 camera slipped out of his pocket straight into the water! My own damage report, I thought it would be a good idea to capture a hockey ball being hit past the camera. Unfortunately, it hit the camera direct and smashed it to pieces, lesson learned!
It is really refreshing how you are often happy to use really basic gear on The Totally Awesome Fishing Show, for example a tiny rod and reel set-up, or DIY terminal tackle made from coat hangers or plastic spoons. You regularly prove that you don’t necessarily need the latest and greatest gear to catch fish – but what are your most treasured items of fishing tackle that you would never want to part with?
GRAEME: Yes you certainly don’t need expensive tackle to catch fish. Nice if you can afford it, but not a necessity. It is more important to learn about fish habits and techniques for catching. If you gave Tiger Woods a second hand set of golf clubs, he would still beat the pants off everybody else! I have a 50lb fenwick honey-coloured glass trolling blank that I had built with a customized curved butt, coupled to a 50w Shimano Triton trolling reel. I have caught a lot of big fish on that, Sharks and Marlin, so it has a lot of personal memories. I also have an 80w reel with a curved butt rod that I took a lot of Blue Marlin with. I had them built specially and the butt on one has gold anodizing (not real gold!) the only one of its kind in the world. I also have a Shakespeare Ugly Stik that has been snapped several times on trips abroad and it’s still catching big fish. Mike even had a 140lb Tarpon on it in the Florida Keys. On the fly fishing front I have a Penn gold medallion fly rod that I have caught many double figure Trout on, including Rainbow Trout over 20lb.
Fishing conservation is of up-most importance, angling is about both catching fish and also enjoying the outdoor surroundings, do you have any advice on good practice for any new anglers just starting out, to help preserve our fishing waters?
GRAEME: Even if you like eating sea fish, there is no reason to take everything you catch. If you are hungry, unless you are starving, just go to the supermarket. Plenty of fish there on the fishmongers wet slab! We try to return as many fish as we can on film, and only keep a few for our Totally Awesome Cooking videos. Although much of our Trout fishing is catch and keep, I have always been a keen promoter of catch and release trout fishing. You have to release them really quickly because they don’t keep out of water well in warm weather due to low oxygen contents.
Have you caught any record breaking fish on the show, or what are your top PB’s?
GRAEME: I had 3 world records many years ago in the IGFA line class records. For Carp, Trout and Pike (obviously all now broken!). On the filming front, Wayne Comben’s huge Thresher Shark which we put at between 400/450lbs was far in excess of the current British Record. But we had no intention of killing it just to claim a record. We had HD footage of it, it was tagged, like all our big sharks and we got to touch the fish.
My claim to fame on the really big scene, is I have caught 8 sharks over 1000lbs, one was on my 80lb standup rod and thigh pad. The largest being 1500lbs. That was a Six-Gill shark. I also had a 600lb six-gill that I tagged in the Canary Islands recaptured a year later, so it shows tagging works. I have also tagged a Bonnethead shark in the Florida Keys, flown home, then returned back to the Florida Keys many months later and caught the exact same shark. I should be doing the Lottery!
I have been fishing for as long as I can remember, and I try and get my kids involved as much as possible, but they are very much “fair weather” fishermen, and only interested when we are certain to catch (eg: when the Mackerel are around) – Do you have any advise on easy, fun, beginner fishing (eg: Light Rock Fishing “LRF”) that would be a good first experience for new anglers?
MIKE: Good question, and I think the first and most important thing is to be enthusiastic. If your son/daughter catches a fish, you need to let them feel the excitement. Go over the top with it, even if it’s a fish under a pound. I’m a full time PE and Geography teacher, and I teach children ranging from 5-13 so it’s my job to be enthusiastic. If you turn up and you don’t enjoy the fishing, then your child won’t enjoy it either.
It’s best to not go into detail with them about what pound line to use, what sized reel or what the latest lure/shad/spinner is. They don’t care about that, focus on the fish itself. Give them information about the species they just caught, they are much more interested in the fish then the gear they used to catch it! I would highly recommend LRF. It’s a great way to encourage children into the sport. However, personally I would use LRF gear but with bait on the hook as opposed to lures. They will enjoy the enticing ‘nibbles and bumps’ on the line. Once they have caught a few fish on bait, then maybe introduce the lure fishing. But definitely, focus on the small species and numbers as opposed to big fish.
Congratulations on hitting 10 Million views on YouTube!, what kind of things can we look forward to in 2015 on The Totally Awesome Fishing Show?
MIKE: I have plans for a new series already, which I will hopefully be starting to film soon. I won’t give away anything here as with all TAFishing stuff, we like it to be a surprise! You never know what you might get each week. Might be fly fishing, might be river fishing, or it could be beach fishing. We are hoping to get the boat “Hi-Sea-Drifter” out on the water for the sharks again. We’ve had the biggest sharks now for 3 years in a row, hoping to make it a 4th.
We are also hoping to organize a big fishing get together with all of our fans! If people want to stay up to date with what we do then our facebook is probably the best to see what we are up to. Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/totallyawesomefishing
We never imagined things getting this big! It’s humbling and we’d like to thank all our subscribers and those that follow our show. You are the Awesome Army and you guys ROCK!
YouTube Channel link: https://www.youtube.com/user/TAFishing