What method of fishing do you primarily do and what species do you fish for?
My primary method of fishing is… fishing! I have spent my entire life learning different ways to fish, it truly is a variety. From a young age, I was always interested in catching as many species as possible. I love seeing the different color patterns and different shapes and sizes that each fish has unique to its species.
This obsession has transformed into yearly saltwater fishing trips for Striped Bass as well as some tropical destinations!
“This obsession has transformed into yearly saltwater fishing trips for Striped Bass as well as some tropical destinations!”
In addition, each year, we go fly fishing in the tributaries of Lake Erie for Steelhead! I fly fish wherever I can find flowing water.
“I fly fish wherever I can find flowing water.”
My favorite part about fly fishing is when it all comes together. Seeing the fly disappear as a shadow in the water flashes by in the blink of an eye. I’ve been very fortunate to be able to hook into some beautiful fish during my fly fishing adventures!
“I’ve been very fortunate to be able to hook into some beautiful fish during my fly fishing adventures!”
We also head to Lake Erie for Walleye and Smallmouth fishing every spring! I love these trips, they are always like an escape from reality for a little while. I always enjoy setting the hook on those angry Smallmouth!
In my twenties, I really got into kayak fishing. There’s a draw to the fact that the fish is sometimes in control when I’m in my kayak. A big smallmouth might drag my kayak 20 yards downstream before I’m able to turn him… there’s something about the rush of that, it keeps pulling me in.
“A big smallmouth might drag my kayak 20 yards downstream before I’m able to turn him… there’s something about the rush of that, it keeps pulling me in.”
What’s your favorite body of water and why?
Oil Creek in Pennsylvania because it’s the stream I grew up fishing on. Oil Creek is a pretty typical Pennsylvania stream. It has a healthy trout population but you can also catch the occasional smallmouth as well. The great thing about Oil Creek, it’s somewhere you could start out drifting worms as a kid, then progress to tossing Spinners and Rapala Jerkbaits!
“The great thing about Oil Creek, it’s somewhere you could start out drifting worms as a kid, then progress to tossing Spinners and Rapala Jerkbaits!”
Not to mention, it’s a great place to learn Fly Fishing as well. Pennsylvania is known for its incredible trout fisheries, and Oil Creek may not be at the top of that list, but in my mind it’s up there. I was blessed to grow up so close to the creek and be able to establish myself as a fisherman on that waterway!
Who introduced you to fishing?
My dad first took me fishing, but he wasn’t a fisherman. My dad didn’t grow up fishing, it was something he rarely did. However, he was an accomplished competitive swimmer through his high school and college years. He just never really had time to get into fishing.
Yet, he ended up taking me to a pond when I was young, maybe 6 or 7, because he thought it was one of those things every kid should do.
I immediately took to it and from that day on, he went out of his way to give me as many fishing opportunities as possible. His love of the water made it easy. While he was interested in swimming and water skiing, I was busy trying to find the fish! I can never thank him enough for making things align so that my summers were spent around water. This maximized my fishing time!
“I can never thank him enough for making things align so that my summers were spent around water. This maximized my fishing time!”
My grandfather is the one who took me to the next level. I was always pond fishing, hoping from pond to pond looking for the biggest fish. One day, my grandfather decided to expand my fishing game to stream fishing and eventually, saltwater fishing. I will always be thankful that he did! The new horizon that he opened up for me only expanded my addiction to fishing!
What does fishing mean to you? Why do you fish?
It’s time spent outside. I love all things outdoors and wild. The adventure, unknown, and possibilities are what make me love fishing the most. Fishing to me is an escape, it’s truly becoming one with my surrounding and getting lost in nature.
“Fishing to me is an escape, it’s truly becoming one with my surrounding and getting lost in nature.”
I find peace and serenity in fishing, and pure excitement when there’s a fish on the other end of my line. I guess that ties back to the unknown… you never know what’s on the other end of your line. It could be a personal best, or an unexpected species… either way, I love that unknown!
The possibilities are always endless when fishing. My story tells that to an extent. I started at ponds, and now I travel all over in search of that next amazing fish!
“I started at ponds, and now I travel all over in search of that next amazing fish!”
Tell us your story of becoming a Passionate Angler. What has the journey looked like?
My journey has been all about exposure and exploration! Trying new things, fishing new places, learning new tactics from new people. I literally started fishing farm ponds with worms. Then took the “big step” to fishing streams.
That’s how it’s been for me though. New bodies of water at new points in my life. Spending time figuring out new spots and techniques. Growth and learning has been a huge part of my fishing experience. Having people in my life who wanted to expand my fishing knowledge has led me to where I am today.
“Having people in my life who wanted to expand my fishing knowledge has led me to where I am today.”
Whether it was my dad, my grandfather, or the people I’ve met along the way that I can now call my best fishing buddies, every single one of them was committed to making me a better angler. This made my journey easier. I do everything in my power to pass along the information I have learned on my journey to others who are interested.
I fish because I love to fish, simple as that.
Find Jim on Instagram: @Jimfunk19