Bigwater Fishing with Ross Robertson
Bigwater Fishing with Ross Robertson

Episode 29 · 6 months ago

John Gillman - Pro Walleye Angler


John Gillman has won nearly $500,000 in fishing tournament earnings on PWT, NWT, Major League Fishing and more. Talks about his successes, hits and misses from his twenty year career chasing walleye and bass. The Freelander, Michigan native has appeared on the cover of Field & Stream, FLW and other publications

Capt. Ross Robertson has made his complete living chasing walleye as a full time professional angler for more than 20 years. Through the years he has worn many hats including time as a fishing guide, boat salesman, TV host, outdoor writer, product designer, tournament fisherman, speaker, radio host and podcaster to name a few.
Ross fishes ice-out to ice-up on the Great Lakes. He spends the majority of the year walleye fishing on Lake Erie’s Western and Central basins.

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The big water podcast on LS Robinson, big water pushingcom. That's a US big water youtube, instagram, facebook, all that good stuff. Like producer dude will be joining us now,you know, on stuff, and really I need him because he's got arope me in and then I always for boys. But you know what youdid, and I'm not apologizing for cutting you off, but you did mentionwhere you can find you without me having to say anything. Now if Ican get you, but fix those blinds behind you. Oh my God,on your own, I guess. If this you know, it's kind oflike your mom, like if this is our biggest pain. As they know, I don't have the blinds just right. Normally we get this Nice Lake View, but we got the wrong light. Blah, blah, blah, BlahBlah. Any of you is watch our youtube videos. You've heard meand him bantering. When I you're going to hear more, because I prettymuch I don't know if I mandated because I said you got to get moreinvolved, as I told me I had to do this or we weren't goingto work together anymore. And I don't know, we go. I don'tknow which one is actually worse, but well, whatever, he's going totry to rope us in, and we probably need to be roped in alittle bit, because today I've got my longtime friend and definitely an industry professionalguys want an awful lot of money fishing and really has been a pioneer ofa lot of things, one particular being pulling spinners, which is what Ilove to do, Mr John Gilman from Michigan. So producer dude. Ithink it's going to be interesting. He's a little quieter than me, butme and him have a lot of bantern go figure. I don't know ifwe do that much big water fishing. Theory. No, never. Yeah, always straight to business. Great, always always said that's that's my rule, just like the blind, straight to make a business. Well, I'lllet's go straight to John John Gilman. Finally, Mr Technology, we gotyou on the podcast. Can I be honest, your wife gave me ahundred bucks to put you on here. I'm not surprised. I mean,I would love to call you an acquaintance or of fishing guy, but Iconsider you a friend. I don't even if I should use the upward withyou or not, but now you shouldn't, because I don't consider you a friend. Perfect you are, just because we're just quite kind of a nuisance, is what you are. Right, right, right, right, perfect. And because I'm a nuisance, I feel like I need to tell oneof my favorite stories of all time because again, you know how with yourbuddies, I don't care what you do for a living, if you workat a mechanic shop or your teacher whatever, you get jokes and little inside thingswith people within your industry because people don't know what you do. Itdoesn't matter what you do. Right. And one of my favorite ones ofall time, and I wasn't even, like, you know, standing fivefeet away to get this, but you were in a tackle shop and aguy comes up to you and, just so you guys at home know,like John's very successful in life and the whole fishing industry. There's two separatethings there, but it real humble guy and and a lot of people aren'twhen they've had the success these had. So I don't want to believe yougo up too much, but with that we're going to use it against youright now, because you're in a tackle shop and a guy comes up toyou and again, this is before facebook. This is right, all these otherthings. You know, it's kind of like the same thing early inmy career where when people, you know, did things like you had to kindof have a little more merit than you do now. Like every oneof the guys we had to the podcast at anybody with a bullhorn, youknow, has a voice out because of the Internet. So may rate John'san a tackle shop and a guy comes up to him. He's like toshop and you know, and he's like Oh hey, John Gilman, andJohn's like right, yeah, okay, yeah, yeah, I am andhe goes, what happened? You used to be good and that that.Have we not use that or said that to you like a thousand times?At least it least was funny because he was an older gentleman, local guy, good fisherman, local fisherman, and obviously I fished the Saganabbey pwtflw MichiganWalley tour had some good runs, good success, and he an it.I don't think he meant anything bad by it. He just said, Gosh, you know, you're used to really be good. What happened to you? Because obviously we all have ups and...

...downs. You know you're gonna havea phenomenal year and then then maybe another phenomenal year and then a year you'renot so phenomenal and and I think I had a pretty good run and twoor three years going well in wood classic. You know, we won that acouple times and you know the local tournaments and what added it was.That was funny. That was absolutely hilarious when he said that to me.Fishing is, I don't care if your KVD, fishing as a humbling sport. I mean you you can be on top of the pedestal and knocked rightoff, I mean just a day later. Yeah, there's no doubt about it. It was, it is tough and we could be challenging. Imean as a tournament Angler, I've learned a ton, you know. Imean I fishing's my passion. I've always loved fishing my whole life. Grewup fishing. So then you know, you see the guys tournament fishing andyou want to do that. The PWT came to base city, I thinkin ninety eight or ninety nine, and that was the first time I reallylike wow, I want to do this, so I started or you know,did you do small terms before that? I didn't. I didn't. Istarted at in the Michigan whalley tour like in one thousand nine hundred andninety eight with Steve annamark. He was my tournament partner and lots of goodstories with Steve. And you know the fishing community knows Steve as well andhe's had some great success. And so we teamed up and started fishing theMichigan tour together and had some really good success there. And and then backin the day you had to qualify kind of to get into the PWT.Had to get sponsors and I think Mark Martin was one that signed off toallow me to get into the PWT. And then that was the beginning ofmy, I guess, solely professional career where you fish, you know procand it was fun. My first season was two thousand and two and andI fish the flw and the east on the PWT and had some good successand obviously there was a couple events on sagon a'Bey. I finished second inthe FL W fourth in the Pwt in and and then, you know,by the way, Star Anker Yourself, we call you the bridesmaid to youknow that right exactly. Yeah, I've had more seconds than then. AaronMartin's has had in the bass elite series, just a ton of seconds, whichyou know again it's so hard to win and it's so humbling. Butwhat tournament fishing is done for me is just made me a better fisherman periodand the changes that have come from it from when I started basically in twothousand until now is it's unbelievable where it's gone. It's really truly unbelievable.I mean technology, you know, like right now you look at like thebad stuff, like Pala Neik has got the three hundred and sixteen. Yougot a couple wins basically credited to that right live life imagery. You know, there's pretty much coming out with everybody, you know, the garment life scope. This year, I think two of the major bass elead events,the victories came due to that technology. I know that that Isaac Lakeish Kidthat fishes the National Wal Ie tour did well in the national I tour andGreen Bay with that same technology, and that's a big part of it too. You know, while fishing big water we always trolled. You know,you trolled, you rolled, you trolled, and now it's crazy people are casting, you know? Ok, yeah, for sure, and you know that'sbeen a huge change from when I started in the PWT. Like oneof the first things that I did that I felt in the PWT was Iused my bomba trolling motor. I had a four treks at the time,I think it was. I don't even remember what they were called back intwo thousand and a maxim, yes, a maxim, and what I didwas I would jam on aspir and bottle underneath like a tile and all plastictile on, all bottle in the foot pedal up in the front because,you know, people didn't have all terras and in all trucks and all theremotes and everything. And I remember the tournament and Esconaba and we all randown towards the Cedar River area and a lot of guys were trolling and crystalclear water and I was literally the only... using electric. Literally that isit. It really really was a difference maker, if for sure. Imean it was incredible because you could just precisely troll and you know, likethat Betakock event that I fish that year, we were fishing in eighteen to twentyfeet of water and guys were on both sides of me running kicker motorsand I and I, you know, I was younger then and new andI'm like, why would they want that loud motor in this shallow clear water? And I ran electric and I finished second in two thousand and three inthe event at Escanaba and second in two thousand and four and Esconab as well, both trolling events, both using electric and I think from ou three on, for Gosh, ten years maybe, I ran the EM and Coda onthe back and then obviously the the Rova on the Altara and all the technologythere, and now the all tracks. You know, people are using thosewith the remote in your hand and and it's made a huge difference. Andyou know that evolved and then it evolved into casting, you know. Youknow you go to a beata knock event or any of those green bay eventplaces like that and guys are seventy five percent of the field cast now andthey don't troll. And I think now. I can't imagine back then if guyswould have casted, like if a guy would have learned and would havebeen able to do it back then, because you felt like the fish weren'tin that clear shallow lot, but they are. I agree. But Idisagree because there was a guy from on Trevor City, Michigan, and thenyou can run back in the old, in the old PWT's Darryl Christensen,and I mustn't even some things about those guys. They tried to make thatwork. Now maybe things are different, maybe they didn't do a perfect butyeah, well, they are using you know, they used a casting spoonmore sold than a Shivermento or a Japan wrap, and maybe that had adifference, maybe not. But on Erie I the casting thing on here stillisn't seemingly worked, but it's the way that things are. Just my pointis is I think the fish are setting up differently now that it's more advantageous, like on second all baby people kind of know what they're doing now,right with that? Yeah, and they're fishing these rock piles that the gobiesare on. Gobi's weren't around for saving. They rider was the wayfish schooled.Some of these eyes on the bigger lakes are almost acting like like smallmouth or like large mouth. Yeah, right, is that fair? Yeah, and you know, like Saginaw, some of the tournaments here now areactually one you know, if they as if there's a tournament on Sagon on, guys can run North to the rock because the inner bay it like theInner Bay at Green Bay, is mud. So the Inner Bay of Green Bayguys aren't casting their trolling. You know, Inner Bay of saganaw Bay, guys aren't casting their trolling. Outer Bay Green Bay. They're casting outerBay Saginaw. They're casting. They find that rock and you're right, theyfind those rock fish and those Gobie fish and they cast to him. Butthat's been a huge, just huge change in Walleye fishing for me since mycareer began. Is the casting and now, obviously you know the garment technology andnow a humming bird has it. Coming out here this year. Ihope to have it. Laurent's has it. You know, all that live scopeand megalive and all that. It's almost again another huge game changer andI think people that adapt with it are going to have great success. It'sno different than when you started. I can remember you use the different frommanufacture for electronics because of the mapping. Now, if you don't have likelake master mapping on certain bodies of water, you are at a supreme disadvantage.So we're not even talking about the high techy stuff. Yeah, talkingabout like you can put wake master on the quite literally, like on yourphone. I mean you guys are using on tablet from kind of things likethat. With yeah, I've always said I fish as much with my likeMaster and my contour as I do depth. Then I do other things. Youknow. Obviously Contour, depth, temperature, staying all those are hugefactors. But I think again, casting...

...has changed that some to you know, you don't have to worry so much about temp and staying in dolls thingswhen you you know when you can cast. Yeah, so I don't want toget ahead too fast, but you know you run a successful business.So we'll get to that later and how we had kind of brought that back. But you know, taking time away, I don't care what you do fora living. Like you've been able to kind of intermingle the too alittle bit. But no matter what you do, like I said, ifyou're a doctor, lawyer, you work at a four dealership or whatever itis, teacher, you can only dedicate so much time because a worker familyright, and you've put a lot of time into the tournament fishing thing.You've put a lot of time into the fishing thing, and do you thinkmaybe? And you we talked a lot and you know it's kind of likefor me it's the same thing. You joked with me the other day andyou said you know my doctor, my lawyer, M Dunnis that a thatyou read? All they sink like. All of them fish like. That'show I became friends with them or whatever. I wouldn't have used a friend ifyou did fish. I do even like you that much, but youfish it in your decent enough. You're not that good. You're you usedto be good, but you know so. I mean the camaraderie of with fishingcannot be overlooked. I mean, is that all? Well, youhave now, mean you me. Yeah, you've made a bunch of money fishing, but would you still have done all those tournaments, take up allthat time, because the one of you want fishing wall exceptional. If youto put that time back in your business, you probably would be ahead of things. Well, yeah, like tenfold, because if you want to make amillion, start with two. That's how you make a million dollars fishing. We know that. Yeah, it's funny. All my friends like Itold you when you like you said, we talked all the time. Allmy friendships, all my relationships, they're all very they're fishy guys. Bydoctor, you know, is a fisherman, he's a tournament while I gut.My dentist friend, who you've known for twenty years as well, isa fishermoman. My lawyer was my very first co Angler in my very firstevent on Lake Erie, in my very first PWT event. We become we'vebeen friends for twenty years and he's my lawyer and I look to him forlegal advice and things. So the relationships I built have been huge. It'sawesome because you're very similar creatures. We are all sick with the disease offishing that you just can't take that away. So you bond that way. Andthen, you know, being able to travel in fish tournaments and meetpeople, I then became able to, you know, incorporate into my business. I've been in the screen printing and embroidering business for thirty years, youknow, and I'm very fortunate. This last year was extremely challenging for alot of people, including me, but I was fortunate. We do alot of the fishing industry and the fishing industry business in two thousand and twentywas amazing. So, so I'm very fortunate to have that opportunity and andI do work really hard at it all the time, as you know.You we talked a lot, and so I've been blessed and unfortunate with that. So, you know, you talked about Camaraderie. As much as webust each other's balls, you know, probably wouldn't would give it up foranything, right, but I didn't think about like some of the guys youtravel with. I traveled with you even when I was doing media for,at the time, flw and wally. Right, you all at it andsome of those, you know, rent in the cabins and that was asmuch fun as anything. But you guys, you know, legitimately, you know, made a living doing that per se. I mean it wasn't yourliving, but there was guys that we're doing about the same and that thatwas their job. Yeah, and I just think about some of the guyslike Dean and Keenan and just, I mean just some of the stories.You know, that that's that come Ryer, that lifestyle. You know, it'slike even that like my to your point of your doctor learn all thatwhen I was doing my tax prep with my accounting. He looked at me'slooking through stuff and he's like, you do anything besides fish? He's lookingthrough and all, well, where is this receipt? Why were you overin? I'll go all that was best...

...master's classic. Well, what didYOU DO IN ORLANDO? How is this? Right off, all that's I CASStrade show. Where were you? Yes, in, because it isliterally like my true lifestyle here. These companies like sins and coasted a longerthan like outs up on a lifestyle brand. I mean truly do you don't domuch besides me. You you hunt some, right, but yeah,greatly. Yeah, I mean you've done in probably less, a lot,less than even a line at you. But I mean fishing is your deal. I I mean you're not going bowling on Tuesday nights right now now.You know, in the in the winter time, I ride snow bills alittle bit, but in the evenings when I get home from work, mytherapy is working on gear. You're constantly, constantly organizing, working on gear,you know, looking at what's new, looking at the next season, whatyou're going to where you're going to be going? What you're going tobe doing? You know? So that's been time spinners. Yeah, timespinners for sure. You know, spinners was eyes my thing. I lovethe pull spinners and that's where I've made most of my money, was pullingspinners. But I did win Eriie on crank bits and I'm horrible at CrankBates, as you know. It is not my thing. But obviously deanmust have put you on it. Yeah, somebody did here. Keenan would probablysay that he did, because there's no doubt, no doubt, butin Ferris. Even with that said, I don't want when we were talkingabout that not that long ago and you brought that up, because I didnot remember that. But if I'm if not mistaken on that, you caughtyour last couple fish when things slow down on spinners. I did. Youknow, what I did was it was in most unbelievable day ever anybody couldhave. It was incredible. So I was a first one there. Ihad a Verado powered ranger at the time and I ran, we ran tooavon from obviously Kataba. So I ran down there and I was the firstone there and it was the day after the blow day and I got setup and we were pulling reef runners seventy five and ninety five back. SoI told my coangler put the outside at seventy five, put the inside atninety five. So we get started. He's got two rods out, I'vegot one out. I'm set my seconding out. He gets a fish onright away. He brings it in. He said, Oh man, Imade a mistake. It was at ninety five. I said put it backout at ninety five again. Long Story Short, I caught eighteen fish thatday and when I had my best five towards the end, I had forThir S in a twenty eight and a half, where the lengths of thesefish just unreal. I was throwing back twenty eight kind of all day.You know, probably threw back four or five of them, but I hada twenty nine in the box. I got a twenty eight and a half. A bounce being to the twenty eight was bigger. I threw it in. So I said to my coin where I said, man, we havean incredible bag. I said I want to drop off the edge of thisshelf, put spinners down, come up the shelf like the way I fishedmy whole life by kind of you know, crashing and we we got set there'ssome irony and then I'm gonna want to go right. We got setup and came up the hill. I got a double and one of themwas a twenty eight and a half and the other one was a thirty ina quarter. So we'd met at them both. Got Them In. Ithrew the twenty eight and a half back. I got the twenty eight and ahalf out of the live. Well, obviously balance beam it with the thirtythat I had just caught on the spinners. So I had five fish. My smallest was thirty in a quarter. My biggest was thirty and three quarters. So they were just all literally identical. And when I went in, obviously I went in early. I got in at two o'clock. InMark, who worked at the FLW at the time, said John, youknow I did you have good day? I said Yeah, really good dayand he said we got you know, you got another hour. I saidYeah, I don't think I can do much better than I did. Hesaid really, he said you can call here. I said, yea,I know, I'm good. So I pulled the boat out and we droveinto Port Clinton. I think I was a third one to way in,and they put all my fish on the thing and it wouldn't wouldn't register.So chip had me separate and I put...

...two in one bag three in theother, and I had twenty pounds and change in one and thirty pounds andchange in the other. So I had fifty, one and seven and thenprayed all night for the weather. The next day got the blow day.So I got the green vest. Since I didn't win, I don't getthe sleeves. Yeah, you cheated, got the one day deal. Ialways tell my buddies I'm so good I can win and one day it doesn'ttake me to well, speaking of that, I want I wrote down a fewthings and I want you to add a couple, because you're good,you're humor, because fails with John and gentleman, because I remember running outof gas. Actually, let's just go with that. Would for starters.I mean, I was witnessed too many of these. So if you're notgoing to part take I'll just throw them out there in now. Yeah,you, yeah, I was at the championship at Green Bay and, Ohmy God, I couldn't catch a cold. I ran all over the earth toget a bite and we've all done it. Every everybody's done it.So I'm a mile and a half from Marinette and I run out of gasand luckily I called a guy and he told me in. But in thatevent I double zeroed, which is insane to double I actually had a fishon day two, but obviously I could waite it because I ran out ofgas. And then I've had some other issues before where you know you're drivingalong and you put your rods in the Rod holders, and so whenever Iput my rods in my rod holders, I don't I don't lock them inthere, I just put them in there and I was running along. Weget to the spot, I turn out my co Angler and there's only tworods. Two of them felt flew out, like you got be getting me,and obviously you were prepared. So I get two more out of theyou know, rod locker. So that was a quick three, four fivehundred bucks that I threw away. But yeah, I've had some intertain effishing. You should be used to pouring it out right. It's just like yeah, yeah, I wouldn't buck it. Yeah, Green Bay. I meanI try to be honest. I've had enough of these myself, but today'sabout you, John. So it's I mean Green Bay. I remember somebodycalling me afterwards going hey, ask John if he needs a motor tooder.Yeah, so we were. It was an MWC event and I was practicingand pulled the boat out and got it on the trailer. Didn't think muchof it. Latched the front down and a lot of times, you know, you don't put the straps on the back. You just absolutely let's behonest, you made me look still. You're excitable, boy was. Ithink Dave scrapple was longside of the time, excited one like you're just a hundredmiles an hour. Yeah, for sure. So, so I hadto drive from Sturgeon Bay area to appleton where I stayed. I stayed atDean's House. Never trimmed the motor up, flattened the skegg down to nothing.Totally forgot. So people that are figured about this, that's probably threeinches of metal that was just worn right off. Yeah, it was funny. I does sparks flying up. Well, you know, it's cast, soit just sands right off like sandpaper. I did have a guy kind ofpointing and he was pointing back and thinking Gosh, and I look back. Everything looked okay and I just gave him the okay and kept going.Then I got the Dean's and realized when I tried to back up and Icouldn't because the motor was down, that I had shaved it right flat.So that was not a good thing. And that's one of those things youare you listen to somebody telling the story and you're like, what an idiot, how could you do that? But it's so easy to do it.I don't watched my boat, you know, a couple hundred times a year.Yeah, and I still every now and then because I if it's somebody'stalking to me or something. You know, you've got these set of procedures andif somebody kind of throws a wrench in and you're like me and orjust your go, go, go, go, and it's actually easier tohappen than that, people would think, yeah, it's that's the only timethat's happened to me. But the other one with Rangers. As you know, if you don't take that back strap off and you back it in in, the front slides off you're in trouble.

And I've done that a couple timeswhere I had to take off all my clothes and go swimming and cutthat strap off on the back so that I was would be able to,you know, get the boat off the trailer. So, and we've alldone that too. So you know, like stories. I mean it soundskind of mean for to keep bringing up all the stuff, but I meanpeople love misery, John, and they love drama and you're good at bringingit up. What one of my favorite things. You don't I'll put apicture up on facebook or something and you'll text me, like all I expectmy buddies to do, but like, oh great, you caught another tenpounders Lake Erie Monkey Catching Bing Dong. Yeah, would Jack Ass this.What? Oh you did you catch a limit today? Oh great, it'seerie and me and you are always joking around about that. But you doyou remember where? I mean this is almost cruel to even do it,but Dean Arnolds and has one of my favorite lines of all time. Whenyou remember it, I'll let you tell the punch line. When you hadtwo fish one day. Do you remember? Yeah, I've I vaguely remember.Yeah, so Dane walks up to you. You just had a demoralizingday. You called to you caught too fish. That was the fourteen seasonand I had one thirteen. So I win in two thousand and thirteen.Mike coangler thinks he's got a rock star and I catch too. But thefunniest part, if you guys kick kind of visualize this at home, hisgood buddy, one of the best buddies denials and one of the all timeleading money winners, walks up, leans on the edge of this boat andsays, Oh, you got two as today, John Huh, instead ofhey buddy, you'll get him again. He goes, Hey, I noticeyou got you got two nets. Did you put one in each one?He did. That was dead. That was one of my fails. Likeeveryone's coming in with forty pounds and I had won the year previous with fiftypounds and I caught too. And obviously I bust your chops and your assall the time about not being able to not catch a limit on Erie.Anyone can catch a limit on are. Monkeys can and I catch too.So yeah, that was not good. Yeah, I ate some crow onthat. That's Karma. Yeah, you know snowflakes need not apply to this. Click you're going to get roasted. It doesn't no one is exempt fromthe beatens. No one is exempt. I mean there's been so many anythinkthat the people when we said about here to zero, just like that year. I can remember because I actually was down there pre fishing with you,because we were doing some stuff for your boats at the time and for theflw magazine, if you remember, and we're down one, yes and correct, and kind of had things going on. But it was like one of thosedeals that junk fish were biting, that water was super warm and you'regoing through a if people can picture this, if you've ever fish spinners, you'llunderstand this and you'll just call crawl in a corner, a flat ofcrawlers or more a day, and probably the only reason that more is becauseyou just physically couldn't put them on much faster. Yeah, yeah, Idon't that. It was exhausting, is what I'll say. Exhausting to gothrough that many crawlers and you're just working and working and working. But thatwas the confidence that I had. Well, that was it. That was thechampionship to wasn't it? Now I think it was. It was likeit was Cleveland in the championship. But I mean, yes, that's correct, because I remember, because I think I drove a camera boat one daydoing the media stuff, and I mean bone and of winning that one,didn't he? Yeah, that was a PWT. He ended up winning andI was fifty yards from him all three days and it was just it wasPWT crushing because he was whacking them. So you, of course you're watchinghim. I'm watching him real counting how many times he wins. You're doingall the games you do, trying to figure out what in the heck he'sdoing differently. And he was pulling snap weights, I was pulling snap weights. He was pulling four out snap weights and I was pulling too. Ons APP weights. Must have made the difference because we literally, my God, we were on the same fish.

And Yeah, he ended up winningthe event. You know, good for him. I didn't but that I'lltell you. You know this. The smallest of things can make a hugedifference. In your coin lar point over and be like, how come we'renot catching them like him? Well, but I got it. I gota great story. So the championship in seventeen was in Green Bay and Deanwon that event. And this is a educational thing, I guess. Andas a tournament fisherman you're always checking your gear and making sure your shit isan order and whatever. And and so we go out on day one andwe're fishing off chambers island and we're snap waiting flicker Mentos, starting eighty feetwater, coming up to twenty. So we get out there right after Deanand we both set up and we might be a hundred yards of our andand I've never had a bad coin where. They've always been awesome. Some nonfisherman, but always great guys. So we get started and I lookover in Dean's netting I'm thinking, damn, he's got one on already. Good, the fish are here. They didn't move because we had some weatherdays and things like that. So then we keep going, he gets anotherone. We keep going, he gets another one. So my coingler saysto me, he's all, do you think he changed his program up?I'm like no, we've been here forty five minutes. He would have changedwhat he's what we were doing in practice. Come to find out, I endedup with thirty one pounds that day. Dean had thirty eight or something.He was in fourth or something like that. Long Story Short, weget the next two days canceled. Dean and I figured our fish would holdreally good on chambers, Tommy Keemos and no cotton. The boys that weregoing up north whack and giants casting. We were hoping and figured the waterwould flip and get cold on them, and it did and they didn't gethim and dean did get him again and I got them pretty good on thefourth day as well, which would have been the second day. And whathappened was the next the morning up day for which was the last day.We're in the harbor and I said the Dean, I said I am notgoing to get schooled by you and I always have a game day box.You know what that is. You know I've got these. This is whatI'm going to use on Game Day. So at my game day box outand he's are your baits? To and to my other flickermentals. You know, I've never had a real issue with them. Well, I throw acouple on and I drag them, you know, in the harbor. I'mlike, you got to be kidding me. They just blow right up blow rightup. Well, that's what happened to me. I'm day one Iwas net my bits just weren't tuned and I was hundred miles an hour,like you know, I am not paying attention. And so then day twoI went out, my baits were tuned and I had a much better day. Again, the smallest of thing made a huge difference. Even a guythat's been doing it forever. It only takes one minute. You know,those crank baits don't know who's hold them. I always found, like hey,you, that those Wallas don't want to all wander above them. Theygot nothing. You've got to do everything right every single way. Yeah,and you know that was that was a huge learning curve. And Dean kindof laugh. He's like, you dumb ass, you got a tune yourcrank bits. You know that, and I said Yeah, you know,you're right, I said, I just you know, I'm always spun out. You're making sure you've got everything ready to go, and we were pullingsome spinners in some weeds too. So I'd have six rods in the boatready for cranking and six rods in the boats set up with spinners, andyou know, so you can adjust and adapt quick because time is money.You know, time is your enemy when you're out there and you're if you'regoing to switch from pranks to spinners, you want to pull them out oflocker, throw those in and in, Adjustin and go. So, Imean it's kind of funny. It's kind of funny that you suck at crankbits but you're good at thinners because spinners are so much more difficult. CrankBates are kind of like, I mean they are, but I you know, you do you know snap, that people are snap waiting them now youknow, and some of the not that they didn't forever. But those youknow. Do you really know your lengths and leads and what they're ex reallydoing? You know bandits, Husky Jerks, flicker mentals, Shad Rats, youknow the new sprow baits, all those different baits. You know wheredo they exactly wrong? You know, obviously you got the rolling Bible andeverybody has the APP on their phone.

...knowled, which again that technology isawesome. But but spinners, I'm just so comfortable. I know exactly whatthey're doing. I just used them so much here home and apply that sameknowledge everywhere else and and I learned a lot about trolling in the weeds toand pulling spinners in the weeds and doing it, doing that, and that'simportant, you know, because fish are always in the weeds. Do youthink, though? I mean, you know, tournament fishing. I've kindof gone a different direction of my career just, you know, after likeliterally the lenders and just understanding that there's other ways. But tournaments still playa role. I think there's very few guys, I know there's very fewthat making living fishing wally term. It's they just don't have enough to exposure. We could go into hold Pandora's box with that rabbit hole in itself.But tournaments are good and that they, like you said, the casting thingthey do. They open up the industry to another way of doing things.Is that fair? Yeah, absolutely, and obviously it helps the industry.You know, obviously I'm a businessperson to and business is important. And watchingshiverment all in the moonshine lower company explode, jigging wraps and you know, allthose baits, all that education that you get using that as a tournamentAngler. I went to South Dakota. I don't remember seven, eight yearsago, nine years ago and I had you know, I'm being a shadrap guy forever. You know that, you know. And I get tosell Dakota like I' man, you got to have flicker shads. My Ihave that flicker shads. I'll just pull shad wraps saying how about I workedout good, I caught zip. So then, of course you go tothe local tackle store and you buy a million liquor shall because it makes adifference. The different rattles, the different densities of the plast stick and allthose different things mean a lot. And being on point all the time istough. You know it's tough, but but it does make you a farbetter fisherman. You know, when I take my wife and nieces and nephewshere at home, they expect to catch fish because, well, I'll gowith uncle johnny, he can catch fish. It's like, well, that allHayes. Wait, Uncle Ross. Then there we really excited on Harey. We're monkeys. Can catch them here by those ways for that to come. But yeah, it's you know, it's one of those things where youjust you become so much better and and so much sharper and and I thinkyou know I'm fifty four and now getting old. Dean. All the guysare getting older or whatever, and you you can't fish fifteen hours of dayanymore. You get tired. And these young kids man with the technology theyhave, and you know it's crazy. You know the social media out there, of the websites, the information you can get. When I went toEscanaba in two thousand and two, there's no you know the fishing report wasthe bait shot. You know the learning curve now is so much shorter.But you better be on point to be competitive. I hate to admit itagain, anybody looks at my tackle and a lot of my clients will saylike, Oh my dad, this guy's wired tight, which probably ain't faroff the truth. But being OCD at as a fisherman like Aaron Martin's isthis way. If you watch his stuff, yeah, get times and again.Maybe that's why you're in Martin's is also Bridesmad, happy to be insecond, but that little bit difference, I think a lot of times OCDmakes me do well. Like we both know a mutual guy who he can'tfind it. He's spinners blow out of his boat as live wolves. IsHis tackle box? Well, we won't throw you out of the bus,but you we're both on the same page and you just go how does thatGuy Catch? You catch them too. Where do you think sometimes that thatOCD, because I have an opinion on this, hurts your fishing a lot. Oh, absolutely, because you've got to have everything so right and youmight you might be overthinking. But then I also think on the other side. A lot of times it helps me timewise. I'm more efficient. Ifish with Corey springle's dad in the national I tour here in basity a coupleyears ago and we took off and I...

...fished in standish and I have wecan run four lines, obviously, and I had a fifth one on thedeck. We were pulling small flicker Minos in fourteen feet of water, twentyback behind boards, and we get a fish on. I'd get the boardoff, I'd met the fish, drop it on the floor, grab thatrot on the bow and I'm running it out and he said me's like,Oh my God, John, I've never seen a guy so efficient as youare. I said Yeah, time is money, man, and efficient iseverything. You know, you watch and it's funny because I watched the showson TV and the guy that's the fish and they're high five and they're allexcited and I'm thinking, Oh my God, get another rot up. Well,why are you? Why are you talking about the fish? Get anotherone going. Time is money, get another you know. So let's getin. Let's kind of wrap with, you know, the business end ofthings for you in the fishing thing. But before I go there, I'mgoing to kind of say, do you ever think yourself, I know fishingis your passion, but do you ever think to yourself, if I justwould have stuck to my regular business, I would be retired by now,not having to talk with Ross? Yeah, but I wouldn't have any fun,I wouldn't have the acquaintance with you that I have. or I meanyes and no. You know I mean. Business has evolved a lot. Weare a big decorator, so we are a volume decorator where we screenprinted and broider and do things like that. So I get into fishing, tournamentfishing, because it's my passion, fishing to my passion. Then weall of a sudden start to do some work in the fishing industry and thenabout five six years ago, I got into e commerce, where we werebuilding websites and doing fulfillment. So, for example, now we my business, my company, does all of the Johnson outdoors apparel. Men Code aHumberg, Canon, Talon Raptor. We picked the garments, get it approofthrough the marketing department, we build the websites, we built the promotions,we do all that. Yeah, the sweet sweatsher you're wearing, we didthat. Yeah, USA, another great customer of mine. And then skeeterboats. I've been doing skeeter boats for about four years now and and I'mextremely passionate about again about the fishing industry, and so that's been a great thingduring this tough year two thousand and twenty. Our commerce sales with fishingapparel was really, really good, and that helps, you know, itkeeps your confidence up and business and whatnot. Because event business was gone. We'renot praying road race shirts, we're not printing traverse city Cherry Festival clothing. You know, our corporate business has been good. We do a lotof work for different corporations. And then our fishing business has been wonderful andagain I'm extremely fortunate for that and we're going to do more of it inthe future. More ECOMMERCE, because the business world's changing all the time.You know, even brick and mortar stores, it tackle shops, Fish USA,places like that that you know they've they're changing and evolving to and youknow more online and how to target, how to market to those anglers andwhatnot is huge. Well, I mean even from I can remember, usedto joke back in the early days when I got to know you, thatyou were wasting too much time on the fishing stuff because you had other companieslike General Motors and all these major sitar companies, and they're obviously just it'sjust's like basket Wallis. There's just sheer, bigger numbers there. Its just,it is what it is. But yes, it could it be different? Yeah, could I go out gone after more automotive, but it wouldn'thave been any fun either. You know, the fishing and what you're going tomy dead get to talk you know. I talked to you, I talkedto Dean, I tell you know, and a ton of my fishing acquaintancesthroughout the years. I do work for their businesses. So and that'sfun because I can bullshit with them about tournaments are fishing or whatever's going onin the industry, the new products coming out and WHO's building a new boat? What's going on? All that stuff is it mean, even your business? From the time I've known it, it's done kind of a one hundredand eighty because fishing is so much more of a portion of it. Buteven like the anglers themselves, like you're doing, I mean you do shirtsfor me, obviously from a business standpoint, but then also, I mean,I don't know if you want to say or not, but like someof the anglers that you're doing stuff for...

...their brand and they're growing them andclothing situation. Yeah, we do Brandon pollenck and obviously this is, youknow, probably more of a Walleye podcast than it is a basting but brandonI met through some people. He's a skeeter guy, he's a Johnson outdoorsguy, so that's, you know, a good plus for us. Andthen he kind of developed his own BMP fishing line of clothing and and hekeeps doing better and better with it. He's got a very big following andand that's been fun. And then I get to bust his chops all thetime about how easy bass our to catch versus walies because they're so dumb andthey eat rubber, so beat U by Ank. Let me, we don'tneed three sixty. Just go run down a bank or something like grown underthe dot and bring it out. Brown Carp Green Carp. It's all.Yeah, right, so right here. I mean, why don't you giveme one good one to kind of leave me with that, you know,a little insight, a tip or maybe a road story. Something we liketo leave on a high note, and I would love to talk about youdragging a sky through green bay again, but I mean something else. Givesomething, somebody to think of, John Gilman. Obviously you already going toshow how, Mr Right now, I mean what I do this with itlike a real pearl or something. They'd said fire one right off, Imean, but that's cool. Yeah. Well, probably the highlight for megrowing up fishing junkie, getting up on Saturday mornings to watch fishing shows,you know, the fishing hole, Jerry mcguinnis and all that, and thenin fisherman became huge, a big part of my life as a kid,and it was probably two thousand and nine eight nine I knowing them with uswhen I'll like it. Yeah, and we went to Tom Keenan and deanand I kind of got a little bit of a fix for Bass. Wewould go to northern Minnesota Frog fishing during the day, Leech and some ofthose lakes there, and then we would muskie fish at night and we gofor a long weekend. Well, we had to do tom had to doa chevy commercial because he was sponsored by Chevy. Then he you know,he had the Chevy truck rap and the Chevy boat wrapping. So we wentup to Leach to film a commercial and Mike Keener, you know Mike?Well, obviously he was. He did all the filming and, you know, back the boat in and out and all the stuff you do for theseTV commercials and whatnot. and Tom was the star. He'll tell you thattoo. And so we got done and Tom's like, hey, why don'tyou call Al and see if you'll take John and I bass fishing install mykekeener says yeah, I'll call him and we kind of thought he was joking. He said yeah, drive up the brainer you guys, you can goin. Tom's like serious, he's Oh yeah, swear to God you'll takeyou. So Tom and I drove up the brainer to lenter media got togo in and see the facility. Met Al. Obviously they're through our gearand his suburban hooked up to his lung tiller boat and went on some lakesomewhere and it was a blast. I mean we just smashed them and andAl was just incredible. He was a gentleman. And what was funny,as I said, the Tom when we left, I said, you know, I thought it was going to be more of a token trip, likeyeah, those guys, I'll take him for an hour or two. MyGod, he didn't want to quit. But Tom and I wanted to getback to Malax that night to Musky fish at night. And Al was likehe was going home to keep going and going and going, and it wasa blast. It was well, really cool. You remember, because Tom, I mean Tom's going to his head to you just hit the school busfourteen times on this one. You remember that Tom went in and threw upin one blew up on his frog. I remember Tom telling the story likewhat the Hell, you know, I'm going with this. And and peoplehave to understand home it is like a lander. I mean to me he'sthe the man in the fishing yeah, yes, but then I you've gotTom who obviously is one of the top all time money winners, and itjust they're both one thousand miles an hour, like there's no surprise. The rightwhere they're at. Yeah, yeah,...

...yeah, yeah, if people canpicture this, Tom Throws in there, Mrs when it blows up. Nowthese are guys like it doesn't it's not supposed to matter, right,no, right, so, Al and then Tom and owl are both aboutup to my waist. I mean you guys are all short compared to me, right. He like pushes between you guys, throws over his head,goes and catches that. When it Tom is like, dude out, whatare you doing, stealing my thunder man? How many? How many more fishdo you need to catch? And it was hilarious because I'll just didn'tkey was just as competitive and wanted to catch a fish as bad as wedid. And I think when you see guys like a roll in Martin orand Al Lnder or that, and you just wonder like Hey, was thatguy just the right place of the right time, those guys legitimately, forty, fifty years into a career, are as excited as I was when Ifirst started and that is what really, to me, truly separates them andmakes them icons and just, I mean freaks their UNICORNS. Yeah, forsure. And you know that's what draws people like you and I and Tomand allander together, because we're all sick. We have the sickness, you know. And I see all these guys at tournament fish and, you know, travel around and and and you just know they're the same creature as youare. They just love the fish. Yeah, you did pretty good forkind of sucking with technology and being kind of boring. Not Nice, areyou? No, you know in this group. Just so you know,you are good. Defense is a better offense. I want to thank thankyou for given as your time. I mean, we might even do thisagain. I doubt it, we must, we could do it again. Igot some other good stories. Yeah, I mean, I mean I alwaysused to remember. I had always call you and I say, Hey, only reason I talk to you is to get some free cotton tshirts andthen may yeah, tell you what's only reason you call me? It's forfree cooling, you would confers. Yes, and now you remember when I said, like, I've got enough cotton. I know I need to I needperformance shirts, a performance shirts. I can have tech fabric. That'swhat you wanted to I'm just happy that you're doing so much sims stuff nowbecause, I mean that's just nice stuff. You got nice little logos on.Yeah, we do, we do. We do a ton raft go wedo a lot of sims for the different brands and and it's cool.It's really, really cool to be in the industry. You know, Igo to I cast every year, like you. I go to the bastmaster classic every year because we actually are the vendors that set up for Johnsonoutdoors there with the peril and the skeeter booth and then a ton of customersare in that building. We do missile baits and Gamagatsu and sprow and sunlineand big bite and Denalie rods and I can go on and on and onwith some of the customers that we've gathered through fishing, and they're all greatpeople, you know, they're just fishermen like we are, and that's whyit's that's what's fun about working with them. Yeah, I could brush my deskoff, get into strictly the automotive world and probably be a lot betteroff. Maybe I don't know financially, but it wouldn't be any fun.I wouldn't be able to bullshit with people like you, and that's health thecome. That's almost a comp woman, that's almost yeah, but it's not. It's not. Don't take it down. No, no, don't do theway. It's not. Well, I do. And all seriousness,want to thank you for giving the time, because me and you sitting down foran hour is difficult, let alone the same time. So I appreciatethat and everybody out there. Hopefully you enjoyed it. I wanted to makesure you stop at Big Water Fishingcom. We're big water fishing on Instagram,facebook, Youtube and all that other good stuff. Look US up. Letus know what you like, what you don't like, what you want tohear. Probably don't want to hear John Again, but we're going to haveto have them on. You're just like you're getting so old. You're almostlike the token. Got To have you on, Guy, but they willhave like Keenan on if we want to hear about like good fishing stuff too. No, no, King will tell you that I'm great and you sucka hundred times. That's what I love it. It makes for Great Radio, Great TV and podcast that you know. Yeah, yeah, he would bethe best. Well, thank you again for your time and right.Will definitely have to do her again. And you know, its been awhile since we've actually fished in the same boat. Yeah, too long,too long. You need to go with... so I can teach you somethings. No, I was just thinking another five years would hurt you.Thanks again. Stop by Big Water Fishingcom with all those things that we've gotgoing, newt contact coming every back.

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