by: Ron Hustvedt
Though there are plenty of marginal YouTubers out there causing problems and producing hours of rotten content, many fishing channels on YouTube do a pretty respectable job. My kids have become fans of the “618 Fishing” channel hosted by Nick Calcara of Edwardsville, Ill. He has a great on-camera personality and genuinely loves to fish. He’ll celebrate a small rock bass just as much as a big ol’ largemouth, mainly because he likes different challenges.
We first found him when my son was searching big baits on YouTube and came across the 618 Fishing “Big Bait Challenge.” Calcara ordered a few giant swimbaits and was trying them out in the local watering hole to see what he caught.
He’s done other videos like the “ugly bait challenge” where he used lures resembling bugs (made by Rebel) and tried them out to see what he caught. With our cold winter this year, Illinois had enough ice on area ponds that he created a few ice fishing episodes.
As I write this, his 618 Fishing YouTube channel has more than 153,000 subscribers and is closing in on 33.5 million views. To put it into perspective, Lindner’s Angling Edge has 31,500 subscribers and 8.7 million views.
Compare that to my OK YouTube channel WriteOutdoors, which has almost 300 subscribers and 367,000 views, and I’m small potatoes. To be fair, Nick churns out a regular episode almost every week and does a fine job with each one. My YouTube channel has virtual dust and cobwebs on it most of the time, because I don’t update it frequently.
Needless to say, I’ve made several lure purchases during the past year for my kids solely based on some of these various challenges Nick has given himself and invited others to try. We now have several large swimbaits, a collection of bug lures, and a collection of micro lures that were only $6 for a 10-pack.
It’s introduced us to something I’ve never done in my life: Fish super tiny crankbaits in a trout stream and off the dock. So far bluegill and small bass have bit with reckless abandon. We will give the baits some work on lakes and rivers this summer and see which one of the three of us catches the biggest fish on a microbait. We also picked up a few big swimbaits and will try those on some big water later on this summer.
Adding some variety and challenge to our family fishing fun has brought us an extra element of entertainment. My son has also figured out a way to award points during each fishing day to see who gets the most. It takes into account species, size, and a few additional features. It’s easy to do this yourself and in a future blog I’ll explain the details of the point system we’ve created.
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