Available March 11th - Exclusively at Bass Pro Shops
(If you would like to
listen to this interview online
T.J. Quesnel: Hi there, folks. Welcome
to this issue of Today's Catch, where we interview famous fishing
people, especially people from Ontario here. On the line today, I
got Dave Mercer, the facts of fishing guy, and we got a bunch of
questions for Dave today. How are you doing, Dave?
Dave Mercer: Good. I'm doing very good. I have to first of all
apologize for my voice. I was down at the Toronto Boat Show all last
week, and doing a bunch of seminars, and the family's happy because
I'm home now and I'm not talking too much because I got a pretty
T.J. Quesnel: Okay. So here, I got some questions from users off my
message board here, so I'm just gonna read them out to you and you
can just let me know what your thoughts are.
Dave Mercer: Okay.
T.J. Quesnel: First question is: There have been recent stirrings in
the animal rights front indicating they're planning to launch big
anti-fishing campaigns and many other activities very soon. What do
you think anglers should do to protect fishing?
Dave Mercer: I think the most important thing is what a lot of us
are doing. And what a lot of people that go to your web site, we're
not the ones that aren't doing anything. But one of the most
important things is to be out there and tell people you fish. Be
proud of what you do. Far too many times have I run into kids when
I'm doing seminars and stuff and the only place they've fished is on
a Sony Playstation. Take your kids fishing, and be proud of it.
Don't hide the fact that you fish.
One of the most amazing things that I've seen happen over the last
year right here in Ontario is when Bass Pro Shops came. Now all of a
sudden, especially in the hunting end of things, not so much -
definitely in the fishing end, but especially in the hunting end,
now of a sudden, every second week you have a flyer that goes in
Toronto Star, the Toronto Sun, with a bunch of guns on it. So what
it's doing is, it's putting fishing, hunting and outdoor heritage,
which we all enjoy and love, to the forefront.
So, everybody can do their part, whether it be doing fishing tips on
TV, running a web site like yourself does, or just telling people
about it. The OFAH has a great organization with the Get Outdoors,
the kids club, which I do a lot of work with. Volunteer a little bit
of time. Teach people about fishing. I don't think you have to wage
a war against groups like PETA or anything like that, because if
people love fishing, then they're just gonna laugh off what they do,
and until this day, all the fishing that I've done, I spend about
200 to 225 days a year on the water, and then I do all the seminars
and stuff like that.
I have never seen a kid grab a rod, catch a fish and say this isn't
any fun. So if you do your part to instill the sport into people and
get them to love it, I think that the sport will protect itself.
T.J. Quesnel: That's interesting, yeah. It kind of leads us into my
next question: How do you think fishing organizations can get more
Dave Mercer: One of the biggest problems, and I guess I'm sort of -
it's funny, there's a new channel coming out, a new fishing channel
coming out, the World Fishing Network. And we had - I had a meeting
with them, because we're actually, and I'll break this news to you,
because they haven't even sent out the press release. I hope I don't
get into trouble for this, but we've actually signed a marketing
partnership where myself, and also before me, they signed a
marketing partnership with the Izumi group, they're gonna be
promoting that channel and sort of the face of that channel.
And they've got a lot of neat fishing shows on there. But one of the
ways they've referred to me, they said Bob Izumi is the icon in
Canadian fishing, and anyone that tells you he isn't, in my opinion,
is just jealous. He's the guy that's been around for a long time,
and if it wasn't for him, I wouldn't have my job. And they referred
to me as, I don't know if this is a compliment or an insult, because
I'm sort of the irreverent one.
And I just sort of have fun with it, and I think that's one of the
most important things, and I think that's one of the reasons that a
lot of kids appeal with the Facts of Fishing is because we just have
fun with it. And for far too long, people have catered to fishing as
an older person's sport. And you know what? Yeah, there is a lot of
people over 40 that fish, and I'm not saying that's old, because it
won't be too long until I'm there. But people always market it that
And let me give you an example. And this is something I use all the
time. About 20 years ago, baseball decided we were gonna make
ourselves look like the great American tradition. And we don't need
to sell our sport because we are America's game. At that same time,
the NBA said you know what? We're gonna shoot shirts in the crowd.
We're gonna make it loud. We're gonna embrace the youth of today.
Today, NBA games get way more attendance than baseball games,
because they appeal to the younger generation. And I don't think
that there's enough things happening out there to appeal to the
younger generation. One of the things that we're doing now is that
we just started - it'll launch in May with the Discovery Kids. We
got a brand new series starting called Facts of Fishing for Kids.
And it's gonna appeal straight to kids. What I love to see people
doing is get out and have events for kids.
One of the greatest things at some of the boat shows and stuff like
that, is somebody else who does a fishing show, Leo Stakos from
Fishing TV. I mean, people - what he does at the Sportsmen shows and
the Boat show with that kids pond is great. The Violas, they did a
thing a few years ago where they did the tour of Walmart stores.
That's great. What Bass Pro Shops is doing just by having a 24,000
gallon aquarium is great.
But basically introduce the sport to people, and the fishing
organizations, have events that actually put the rods in kids hands,
because if you keep catering to - I mean, it's the same message I
said last time. If you keep catering to just telling people about
it, you have to actually get people to do it, because - I mean, how
many kids would enjoy playing baseball if they just watched it? They
enjoy it because when they hit that ball, it's fun.
So fishing organizations, what I would say, is just get out there
and get kids fishing. If it means a derby from the shore or
whatever, just get kids fishing.
T.J. Quesnel: Interesting. Yeah, I know -
Dave Mercer: It's a long-winded answer. I feel bad for the person
that has to type all this up.
T.J. Quesnel: Oh, no worries. That's alright. We try to be a little
bit irreverent here, too. That's the one thing that, when we do our
videos and our little clips is we decided that there's lots of
people doing very big fishing professional videos going out there
and catching big fish. You very rarely see people going out there
and catching no fish or little fish, and that's - a lot of times,
that's what fishing is all about.
We had to teach our kids that you go out and catch a couple of
sunfish or a couple little bass, that's okay. It's just not a good
day. You cant clean up every day, that's for sure. And I think
that's important that the kids know that.
Dave Mercer: Yeah, well especially the tournament series this year
that I fished in. With the season I had, I learned long and hard
this year. This is my first year back in tournaments after a couple
of year hiatus, and I just really didn't focus in and fish the way I
should have fished. Started off the season and had a few okay
finishes, and then it just fell apart. But you know what? It doesn't
matter who you are. Fishing - the one thing I love about the sport
of fishing, is you never stop learning.
Every single day I'm on the water, there is never a fish - you never
have an occurrence with a fish that you can't learn from. If you
have a five-pound bass at your lure, and you lose it, a lot of guys
would say, wow, that was - that'll get them depressed. But to me, I
think of that as, well at least I made that five-pounder hit. Now
maybe I didn't execute, or I didn't do the right thing, but you
always should be learning from fishing, and it's pretty
disheartening some days, and it was for me this season, but we're
gonna turn things around next year.
T.J. Quesnel: Alright. I wanna talk about fishing shows a little bit
here. I got lots of - of course, everybody's big dream in life is to
be the host of a fishing show, it seems. So I got a couple of
things. I got some very interesting questions. Where do you see the
future of fishing TV going?
Dave Mercer: I think it's very good, and I think it's - we've have
some stagnant things over the last few years. I don't wanna ruffle
anyone's feather or upset anyone, but there's been some shows out
there, in my opinion, that really haven't been up to par. I don't
think I'm letting anything out here. I've been to your web site a
million times, and I've heard a lot of different comments on
But I think that things are gonna be back on track in a lot of ways.
Number one: the first reason - the first problem with our fishing
shows have been, we haven't really had a network in Canada that has
supported fishing shows. I mean, I'm on a bunch of different
channels, but really to embrace fishing. OLN or any of those
channels have never really put a set block and promoted it and had
something for us, the anglers. And there's six to eight million
anglers in Canada.
You think we'd be taken serious. But for some reason, we're not. But
finally, with the World Fishing Network coming to Canada here, I
think it's a huge opportunity for us to have our own channel.
They're doing some really unique things. Right now, the number one
complaint we hear about the World Fishing Network is people are
saying well, a lot of the programming is old. Well, give them a
chance. They just started. I know they have a lot of plans for some
Some stuff that is uniquely Canadian, and I think that that is the
next swing. Now, the other thing that I do think is happening is
back to the youth thing. People have to start appealing to the
youth. There's a lot of great shows out there right now, but there's
not too many of them that cater to the youth. If you look at what's
happening with ESPN and Outdoors and all of the organizations in the
States, what are kids appealed by? They're appealed by fast boats
and fun stuff like that.
So the competitive end of fishing is definitely going to - they're
gonna take a race, and I think there's a lot of great shows. It's a
real changing of the guard I'm seeing. Within the next ten years,
there's gonna be an awful lot of people who have been around for a
long time that won't be doing fishing shows anymore. Everybody
retires at some point. And there's an awful lot of young, new shows
that have just started in, let's say, the last five years, that I
think are gaining some steam or momentum, and will really change
One of the shows that I know a lot of people on the web site watch
all the time is Shaun Rickard's show. I mean, I think he's doing
some great things with video and teaching people and that's always
what the Facts of Fishing has been about. It's not an - a lot of
people say, why don't you do a half hour show with this sort of
stuff? The reason that we do a one-minute tip, and let me explain
this to you, is because we can appeal to more people than any
half-hour show ever.
The average half-hour show gets about 100 to 140,000 people
watching. We on average, our weekly average viewership is over a
million people, and the reason for that is because we air during
things like the Daytona 500, like a bunch of NASCAR races. We air
during the Tour De France. We air during NHL Hockey. By doing that,
we're hopefully taking the angler who doesn't watch fishing shows,
exposing the sport of fishing, and hopefully they pick up a rod and
take advantage of it. So, I think there's a really bright future for
fishing shows, and I hope so. I've staked my livelihood on it.
T.J. Quesnel: Well, that's good. Yeah, I'll be honest with you. I
don't watch a lot of fishing shows, and I didn't when I grew up,
just because we only had two channels when I grew up. So I didn't
get to see a lot of fishing on TV. Most of my fishing was done on
the boat. I got a few personal question for you, Dave. Mainly, stuff
like what book and author is on your must read list, and why do you
think it would be a good book to read?
Dave Mercer: Well, you know what? I'm -
there's not very many books that really - I'm not a big reader. I
read a lot of fishing magazines. That's one thing I'll tell you. I
am a fish goon. People think that if you do it for a living, you're
exposed to it, and you don't - you're not a fish goon. I subscribe
to every single fishing magazine, every video out there I've seen.
You name it. But one book that I just did read actually was a book
by a U.S. pro, Mike Iaconelli, who is the irreverent one in the States.
And he has a book called Fishing on the Edge, and it's really
unique. He gives sort of an inside look into the touring pros in the
States and the commitment that it takes to be a professional
fisherman, because people think hey, I wanna be a pro angler. I
wanna host a TV show. And one of the things that I heard from
somebody at the boat show a couple of weeks, last week, was somebody
said, "Oh, wow. You've done really well the last few years, and it
happened really quick for you."
And I said, "Well, you know what? I just found out that I've been
doing this for ten years full-time now." So it does take a long time
and a lot of commitment to get to where you wanna get. And that book
gives some good insight to it. So if you're looking for a
fishing-related read, that would definitely be it.
T.J. Quesnel: Super. Okay, I got - so, we'll continue on this train
of thought then. When did you feel it was time to become pro and to
go into this full-time? How did you go about it?
Dave Mercer: It was pretty much honestly the only choice in my life,
actually. There's two things that I've really ever felt at peace and
felt like I was meant to do. And promise you won't laugh when I tell
you the first thing. That was cross-country ski. Believe it or not,
when I was a teenager, I was -
T.J. Quesnel: Okay, just a minute. I'm gonna cut you off there.
You're fairly portly like I am.
Dave Mercer: Well, you know, things change. It's funny, actually. I
was somewhat of an Olympic hopeful for cross-country skiing up until
the age when it was 16. And a lot of things changed in my life.
Actually, my father passed away, and I just totally changed as a
person, and I got away from skiing. It didn't bring me happiness
anymore. But the thing that, from the time I was a child, that I've
always loved to do is fish. And there was never any question in my
mind what I was going to do.
And that's always been to fish. And I didn't know that I was going
to host a series of tips, or that I was gonna do seminars or
anything. I just knew that this was what I was gonna do. And it
doesn't matter - it didn't matter how I was gonna do it. I was just
going to do this. So, I don't think there was ever a question in my
mind what I was gonna do. I guess if you have to pick an age that I
decided, the first time I actually told somebody that I was gonna be
a professional fisherman, I think I was about 12 or 13 years old.
I remember - funny story, I remember telling my guidance counselor
in the high school I went to. You go in and you see your guidance
counselor, and they wanna give you direction for what your job is
going to be. So my guidance counselor asked me what I was gonna do,
and I said, "Well, I'm gonna be a professional fisherman." And he
said, "Oh, like out on the East Coast or something?" And I said,
"No. Not like that. I'm gonna fish in freshwater and teach people
how to fish, and I'm gonna do this. I just wanna go fishing."
And he sort of laughed at me, but you know, it was pretty funny. A
few years ago, I got a call from that same high school, and they
asked me to come speak at their reunion. And so, I sort of got the
last laugh on that guidance counselor. But I think it's just never
been a question for me. It's just always what I wanted to do.
T.J. Quesnel: Well, that's cool. Yeah, it's - I - from being up
North here, we never thought of fishing as anything you can do
professionally. And I'm certainly still an amateur. There's no doubt
about that. I got a user that would like to know who your fishing
idol was growing up.
Dave Mercer: Oh, my fishing idol. Bob
Izumi. If I had to pick one,
Bob Izumi, and it was a big honor for me, last year, we shot a show
together. And I actually got to - I fished against Bob for years in
tournaments. But we actually got to shoot a show together. So, it
was a big honor. If I had to pick somebody else other that that, on
the American side, it would definitely be Al Linder. And the reason
is, I just think Al is - and I got to meet Al, and spend a bit of
time with Al, luckily enough.
And Al is very much like me. And the one thing - so is Bob. The one
thing about Al and Bob that I'll tell you, and the one reason that
really sets them aside is they love fishing. They're nonstop about
fishing. There's some people, believe it or not, that have fishing
shows that don't even fish anymore, or have drawn away from it. But
those guys, they love fishing. And I'm the same. If I were ever to
stop, if the Facts of Fishing all ended tomorrow, I would be fishing
somewhere, whether it be go being a guide up North, or whatever.
And their passion for the sport just blows me away. They're two
people that, when they stop - Al sold his company In-fisherman
years ago. So money was no option. But now he's got a fishing show.
Why do you think that is? Just because he loves his job, and
hopefully, as time goes on, people will learn that I'm sort of the
same person. I love fishing, and it doesn't matter what I'm fishing
for: Bass, Pike, Muskie, Walleye, Trout, Blue Gill, Carp, you name
I just love fishing, and talking about it, and I'm obsessed. As
we're talking right now, I'm watching on my laptop, my screen saver
is a bunch of different pictures of fish. I'm pretty obsessed with
T.J. Quesnel: Yeah, I know. Being up North here, our fishing
season's a little bit shorter than everybody else's. I know that, by
mid-April, I'm waiting for the ice to come off so that we can go
look for some trout until the opening weekend. I hear you. I feel
very fortunate that what we do for a living has allowed me to do
some really cool fishing stuff.
But like you said, you gotta remember that the future of this sport
is with the common guy, and that's one of the reasons why Shaun
Rickard does well is that he's showing people where to fish in the
GTA area, which is, to be honest with you, are where the majority of
fisherman in Ontario are, population-wise.
Dave Mercer: And let's face it, there's a lot of people who live in
Toronto, people that have newly-immigrated here and stuff, that
aren't exposed to fishing. And it's pretty daunting. Where do you
go? We get e-mails at my web site all the time, where's a good spot
to fish here? Where's a good spot to fish there? People don't know.
And I was very lucky. My dad taught me how to fish. My dad showed me
how to fish. And that's the reason I fish today.
But unfortunately, some kids are out there without dads, and how do
they learn? Hopefully shows like Sean's and different people's shows
and different people's web sites like yourself and chat zones like
yourself - I hear people swapping fishing spots all the time on your
web site. That's all good. It helps people get out there and start
T.J. Quesnel: So Dave, can you tell me a bit more about your Casting
for a Cure program? I know that this is something relatively new
that you're trying, and it's near and dear to your heart.
Dave Mercer: Yeah, it definitely is near and dear to my heart, and
I'll tell you real quickly the history. My mother unfortunately
passed away a year and a half ago, and me and my mom were best
friends. When she was sick, her goal was to get better and start a
charity and not go back to work. She said, "I'm gonna raise money
for cancer." Because she was so impressed with the treatment she was
receiving from the Canadian Cancer Society, and everyone involved
So we got talking, and we have this - well, I got this whole fishing
thing, and maybe we can tie it in together, Casting for a Cure. And
she was pretty excited about that. Well, unfortunately, she did pass
away from the disease, and she never got to reach that goal. So this
is something that I wanted to do. Casting for a Cure is really
simple. It's not different then the Terry Fox Run, or any other
charity. You participate in an event, and you raise money for a good
We've decided to focus on the competitive fishing community, just
because it's the easiest one to gauge. We don't wanna exclude anyone
from any other fishing community, because we've made ways for them
to become donors, and they don't have to be fishing in the events.
But basically, you go out, you fish, you weigh in your fish, you
collect pledges, and at the end of the year, we tally up your
winnings. We have different pledge levels from as little as 50 cents
per pound to as much as five dollars per pound.
We ask all the Casting for a Cure anglers to set a guesstimated
goal, so if they're fishing four tournaments, and they believe that
they'll weigh in 20 pounds a tournament, that would give them 80
pounds for the total year. You can pledge anywhere from 50 cents
right up to five dollars. So there's a level for everybody. So
basically, we ask our anglers to estimate what they're gonna weigh
in for the year, set their goals, and let the people know so they
can work out whether they wanna do 50 cents a pound, a dollar a
pound, two dollars a pound, or five dollars a pound.
So there's sort of a level for everybody. Donations are totally
tax-deductible. We've partnered with Canadian Cancer Society. So you
can write everything off. And our goal, as lofty as it may be, is to
raise $100,000 this year. And when you think about it, we have about
60 anglers that have registered so far. When you think about it, if
we can get another 40 anglers to register, that's 100 anglers. That
means each angler only has to raise $1,000.
Which seems like a lot, but I think, with hard work, we can raise
$100,000 in our first year. We're also doing a Casting for the Cure
Angler of the year. It's the angler that weighs in the most
cumulative weight for the whole year, will be our Casting for the
Cure Angler of the year. And we have had huge support for this.
We've had anglers from the PWT, Canada's foremost PWT fisherman,
John Butts. We've had him enter as a Casting for the Cure angler.
He won a PWT event last year, and he's gonna be out there fishing
again this year representing Casting for the Cure. We have anglers
who are fishing Bass Master tournaments around the States. We have
anglers who are fishing the Everstart circuit in the States. We have
anglers who are fishing the Canadian Fishing Tour who are fishing
Bass, many who are fishing everything. The Toony Tournament trail,
we've even talked to the folks from there about getting involved.
And so it's well on it's way, and I'm amazed at the response.
T.J. Quesnel: Personally, I think it's a great idea. I don't think
there's a fisherman out there that hasn't been touched by cancer. I
know our family certainly has, and I think it's a wonderful thing
Dave Mercer: Mmm hmm. Well, hopefully it makes us all look good.
T.J. Quesnel: Okay, we're gonna get into some real fisherman's
questions here now. We're gonna talk about some things here. The
first question in the fishing section here is: The spread of Zebra
Mussels has changed fishing forever. In what way do you think it's
made fishing better? And what way do you think it's made fishing
Dave Mercer: It has made fishing better if you're willing to adapt.
As far as making it - for some type of fishers - and the jury's
still out on all these things, Zebra Mussels and Gobies and stuff
like that. As far as the Bass end, smallmouth bass fishing has never
been better in the history of this country. I honestly believe that.
We're catching giant fish. You look at a fishery like Lake Simcoe,
there's multiple sevens that are caught there in a year. It's just -
And part of that reason is because of Zebra Mussels. They cleared up
the water. They made it more of a hospitable environment for the
bass. The negative thing is, things change. I heard a lot of people
that said, you know, I fished this same spot for the last ten years,
and all of a sudden, I'm not catching any fish. Well, fish have
changed. Fish are - the water's clear, so a lot of the fish have
moved a little bit deeper. A lot of the fish have started to relate
to a little different structure.
Things that have really have helped combat the Zebra Mussel thing is
things like Fluorocarbon lines, things like that, because they're
more abrasive-resistant, they're more invisible in the water. So,
things have cleared up so fish aren't sitting quite as shallow as
they have in years previous. But it's just an adapting thing, and
it'll be interesting to see how Zebra Mussels affect things in the
future. But right now, I haven't seen a huge negative effect so far,
especially on the bass fishery.
T.J. Quesnel: Alright, okay. This brings me to my next question: How
do you cope fishing lakes that are so full of floating weeds that
they're like a bathtub full of spaghetti? And before you answer
that, I just wanna interject. I watched your first DVD, and I think
the most amazing part of that whole video, because I had never seen
it done before, was when you were fishing on top of the weeds with
That was hilarious. I don't get to do a lot of bass fishing up here,
but I just thought that was unbelievable. I'm definitely gonna get
out and try that, because it looked like a lot of fun.
Dave Mercer: There's nothing more exciting, I honestly believe, then
rat fishing. It's so exciting, and we're getting ready for our third
DVD. Our second DVD's coming out shortly. But our third DVD, and
we're gonna have rat attack two. We're gonna go back rat fishing. I
got a little something up my sleeve for that one. So, I won't tell
you what that is, but it's gonna be pretty cool.
But T.J., we're gonna get you rat fishing this summer. I'll get you
out. But I'm pretty experienced at doing that, because I grew up on
Lake Scugog, and Lake Scugog, for any of those who you know it. I
know a lot of you do. It's just a big mud hole with lots of floating
vegetation. So, the number one problem that people have, when they
see all those weeds, and you hear it all the time. You hear people
say, ooh, it's too weedy here. You know, that's the worst thing you
can do, because fish live in weeds.
I say it in all my seminars. If you're not fishing near the weeds,
people go out in a lake and they fish out way in the middle. Fish
spend very little time right out in the middle of a lake. Unless
you're talking about a salmon or some walleye in Lake Erie or
something, and it's following the bait fish. Fish relate to
structure, and that structure's weed. That structure's stump. That
structure's drop-off. Anything that's different. So, there's a lot
of fish, especially bass in those thick weeds.
Get right in them and fish them. The rat is an easy way to go over
the surface. But another thing we did in that video was, we used
really heavy worms, and got through it. You wouldn't believe the
amount of fish you catch in that thick stuff. But the biggest
mistake anglers make is they just throw to the edge of it, or
something like that. Think of a fish like you, okay? You imagine, if
somebody - if you're not really in an active mood, and there's food
way over in the other room, are you gonna run over and get it?
But if somebody puts it right in front of you, you're gonna grab it,
right? I mean, it's just like when there's a bowl of chips at a
party or something, and it's sitting on a table, you might not grab
it. But if somebody puts that bowl in front of you, you always grab
a handful. So you have to go in after those fish. You have to put
that bait right in front of them, right under their nose, and how
you do that is, you just go in there combat-style and get in those
weeds and muck it up.
T.J. Quesnel: Oh, wow. Like you said, I usually don't do that. I
usually cast to the edge of the weeds, and if there's nothing there,
we move on. What's your favorite body of water to fish?
Dave Mercer: The next one I'm gonna be on, I guess. There's - I
don't know if I have a favorite. I love fishing Scugog, because it's
my home lake. It's a pretty frustrating lake sometimes. Simcoe's a
great lake. It has phenomenal smallmouth fishing. Pretty tough to
beat Lake St. Claire. Just a phenomenal fishery for everything. I've
had tournaments there where I caught 60 to 100 bass in a day. The
Muskie fishing speaks for itself.
It's just a phenomenal fishery, that whole St. Claire, Erie area.
So, I don't really have a particular favorite that, if I could fish
one lake. Rideau Ferry up in Ottawa is just awesome. We're going up
there for a tournament this year. So it's a phenomenal largemouth
fishery. But I just love fishing. That's the truth, when I say
whatever the next lake I fish on, whether it be good or bad, you
could always learn something. I don't have one favorite, I guess.
T.J. Quesnel: Okay, what - here's a question I get a lot, because we
do get a lot of beginners on our web site that are looking for the
proper equipment to use. And, I guess my next user wants to know,
what would be a good rod/reel/lure and line combination for a person
just wanting to get started into fishing for bass. Either shore or
boat fishing, doesn't matter. But something that's a good all-around
rod and reel.
Dave Mercer: Okay. The neat thing, actually, that we're doing with
Bass Pro Shops right now, is come the Spring Classic, which starts
March 11th to the 19th, they should have a line of Shimano rods out
that we've picked seven models that I've approved, basically. And
these are the seven different rods and reels that I think fit into
everybody. So there is a six six model. You wanna get a six six, a
medium, medium-heavy rod.
And we can show you those. You come in the store, and they're gonna
have them all in display and stuff like that. Find something that
fits in your price range. But if you're gonna pick a length of rod,
it's a six six, and I'd go with the medium-heavy, because if your
rod's too light, you're gonna miss fish. But if your rod's too
heavy, you can always loosen your drag and stuff like that. So go
with a medium to a medium-heavy spinning reel. Something - Shimana
spinning reel that fits into your price bracket.
As far as line, I would probably go with a braided line, just
because Zebra Mussels and things like that - I'm picking this, if
you could only pick one line, I'm gonna pick a braided line. A Stren
super-braid or something like that. I think they have a 14 pound
test, which is the thickness of six pound. So you can get a nice,
supple light line. And for a lure, if I had to only pick one lure,
if you had asked me two years ago, it would probably be a tube jig,
because you can just catch anything that swims on that.
But the one lure that I would say, if I had to pick one particular
lure right now, it would definitely be one of those gulp-sinking
minnows. I cannot believe the amount of fish that you can catch in
those. And I've had opportunities where I've taken sponsors who
don't fish much out, and you don't have to do anything with that.
You cast that bait out there, it sinks. And I've caught pretty much
everything that swims on it.
If you're fishing from shore, you can catch small pan fish on it.
You can catch bass on it. You can catch pike on it. You can catch
just about anything on that bait, and the key to it is it's so
simple to fish. If you can cast it out, let it sink. The only
mistake you can make with that lure is just using it, working it too
much. Let it sink all the way to the bottom. If you don't have a
hit, pop it up and let it sink again. And you'll catch fish.
T.J. Quesnel: Interesting. Yeah, and I looked at a bit of the gulp
stuff. I don't use a lot of plastics, but that stuff sure does look
good. Okay, I know you like to brag. Every fisherman likes to brag.
Dave Mercer: No, not me.
T.J. Quesnel: Oh yeah. I do. I don't catch enough big stuff to brag
about. So when I do catch one, I love to brag. So I'm gonna give you
a shot here. Apparently, sometime recently, you caught a world
record fish. Is that correct?
Dave Mercer: I did. I did. It's big. It's even bigger and uglier
that I was. It's called a Tambaqui. It's a member of the piranha
family. It's not gonna be - I know, it sounds pretty cool, because
it's a member of the piranha family, right? But when you learn about
it, it's a vegetarian piranha. So it's not quite as cool as you
think it is. But actually, it was 31 pounds.
The previous record was 20 pounds, and we're right now in the
process, and we have been for a while, with the IGFA trying to get
it approved. The problem is, I don't know if it will ever be
approved. And at this point, to be totally honest, it's not a huge
concern of mine, and I'll explain to you why. You can release a
fish, but we had the fish, and we waited on the IGFA-approved boater
grip. We were down at Saranda resort in Venezuela, and we weighted
the fish, and it was official weight and everything.
Their one bone of contention, they're saying yes, they've already
told me yes, we know you beat the record. The previous record was 20
pounds. So even in the picture, you can tell the huge different
between the fish. It's 11 pounds difference. Their one bone of
contention is, we did not take the fish to shore to weigh it. But I
had a choice: bring the fish to shore and it's probably gonna die
for sure. Weigh the fish on the water, and we can release it, and
it's still swimming around there today. So we decided to release it.
If it had brought it to shore, it would have killed the fish for
sure. And I decided to release it. So, that may be the one hiccup in
getting my name officially in the book. But the IGFA has already
approved it. It is definitely an unofficial record. The only thing
holding us off is the weighing it on the water thing. But we're
still arguing with them. So we'll see what happens.
T.J. Quesnel: Well, like you said, you know you caught it, and
that's all that really counts, you know?
Dave Mercer: You know, the cool thing is, it was all on video -
you've seen it, obviously, because it was on the DVD. But to catch
it all on video and everything, it's probably the flukiest thing
I've ever done in my life. Number one, to go to South America and be
lucky enough to be able to catch the world record. But not only
catch the world record, but catch it while the cameras are rolling.
And actually, to make it even flukier, my guest that day was one of
my top sponsors, the Vice President of Shimano Canada, Tom Brook.
So, I impressed the sponsor, I got it on video, and I got the world
record. So, there was a little celebrating that night.
T.J. Quesnel: I was gonna say, that's like winning the lottery. I
know when we do fishing clips, a lot of people think it's pretty
easy. But I'll tell you, to get it to all come together at the same
time, sometimes it is, it's just luck.
Dave Mercer: Yeah. There's so much involved. And, to be totally
honest, when I started, I was pretty na´ve. I just went out and did
whatever. But to get everything to work right: the weather - and
then there's camera problems that sometimes you deal with. We've
been out, and we've had some phenomenal footage, and we get back,
and we find out that there was a problem with it or something. So,
we're pretty lucky that that all worked out. But I rather be lucky
than good any day.
T.J. Quesnel: Alright. Well, I'm gonna give you one last chance to
plug your new DVD. So tell me more about your new DVD and the next
one coming out after that. They seem to be pretty popular. I know I
really enjoyed the first one.
Dave Mercer: Well, you know what? That's another thing that really
blew us away. Putting the DVD together for me was a - it was sort of
a dream, because I've done the Facts of Fishing for a long time. We
started doing the Facts of Fishing on the new VR. We were on once a
week, and now we're on over 400 times a week. Sometimes up to 500
times a week on six different channels throughout the country. But I
still wanted to share that whole fishing experience with people.
The one minute tip is a cool, helpful thing, I think, and we've been
very lucky that it's done well. But I wanted to take people fishing
and show them things. And so, that DVD allowed that. And one thing
that blew me away is, we're officially the number one selling
fishing DVD in Bass Pro Shops, company-wide. And that's due to the
people that went out and bought it. We sold more DVD's out of one
store than some DVD's were sold out of 35 stores.
So we outsold every fishing DVD last year, and I'm hoping we can
continue that up. So our next DVD comes out March 11th. March 11th
to the 12th, I'll actually be at Bass Pro Shops promoting the DVD,
and then I'll also be there the following weekend. So from March
11th to the 19th, that's the Spring Fishing Classic. That's gonna be
huge. It's gonna be an awesome thing. Lots of seminars. Lots of
things going on. And lots of deals.
March 17th, they have their midnight madness sale. If you weren't
there last year, you gotta check that out. It's nuts. They bring big
crates of things like tackle boxes and they're like okay, these
tackle boxes are four bucks for the next ten minutes. And you watch
people run around the store. So it's pretty cool.
T.J. Quesnel: You shouldn't be saying stuff like that.
Dave Mercer: It's pretty wild. It's pretty amazing. And I hope to
see you there. But they - so, our next DVD is out on the 11th. We
got a ton of great pike footage on there. We have some walleye
footage on there. We have some smallmouth footage on there, and we
actually have a special guest on this DVD, and I'm releasing this
here. Nobody else knows about this until now. We actually have Kevin
Van Dam, the Bassmaster Classic champion, has done a segment in
partnership with Strike King for the DVD.
So we'll actually have Kevin Van Dam, probably the world's greatest
bass fisherman on the DVD, as well as the world's biggest loudmouth,
I guess, me. So, it's gonna be great. And we're already in planning
stages for Volume number three, and I'd like to thank everyone for
supporting it, and hopefully you support it again this year, and let
Bass Pro Shops know what you think about it, because we just wanna
make a better one every year, and we'd like to make it a tradition
that hopefully, ten years from now, T.J., you got ten of them
sitting on your shelf.
T.J. Quesnel: Well, that would be pretty good. Alright, Dave, well,
I really wanna thank you for letting us talk to you today. You've
been very informative, if not, a little long-winded, that's for
sure. But that's alright. Nothing like talking lots, that's for
sure. We both have a knack for that, I think.
Dave Mercer: Yeah, no kidding.
T.J. Quesnel: But, if anybody wants to visit Dave on the Web, his
web site address is www.factsoffishing.com. There's tons of stuff
there, I know. I know you did a photo contest for Fuji, was it?
Dave Mercer: Yes, for Fuji. We did that.
T.J. Quesnel: I know a lot of our members entered into that.
Dave Mercer: Yeah, it was cool. That was actually $20,000 first
place prize. And the winner - I don't have the winner's name in
front of me, but they're coming to Plumber's Lodge with me. So we'll
be doing that again. We have a bunch of other contests on there, and
so there's always something on there. When you're not on the
greatest web site, which is yours, and you have a little time to
kill, come on over to ours.
T.J. Quesnel: Well, that's fantastic. Hey, thanks, Dave. I really
appreciate it. And you have a great day, sir.
Dave Mercer: Thank you. Hope to see everyone on the water.
T.J. Quesnel: Alright.
Dave Mercer: Bye bye.