Day 357, nine days to go. Keith Miller from Waco, Texas set out on a mission to catch one fish every day for a year straight on April 1st, 2011. On March 31st, 2012, he will successfully complete his goal for the second time.
“He did it once for fun in 2009, just for fun, for really no good reason other than to see if he could do it,” said Larry Hodge, Information Specialist for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). The department supports Miller’s effort and will be onsite to supply fishing equipment, a casting activity and a fish habitat placement demonstration at the Bledsoe-Miller Recreation Center pier in Waco on the day of the monumental event.
Miller said he caught a fish every calendar day in 2009 on a joke. For the 2011/2012 challenge, he said he is doing it for a cause; to help promote awareness of opportunities for kids to get outside and enjoy fishing.
“I smile just thinking about it now,” Miller said. “I’ve noticed that a lot of the kids and family that follow facebook – and the messages I get – they really do like seeing the wide variety of species. They don’t care about sunfish or giant bass, just for folks to sit down with their fish, it’s been a thrill to them…. If that’s what’s getting kids interested, that’s the point.”
His feat is no light one. He is a self-taught angler who learned everything from experience. Now, he knows fish patterns, whether it will be a morning, afternoon or late evening bite; how spawning affects bites, whether fish will be close to shore or deep in the water, etc. “It’s just a lot of practice,” Miller said. “I’ve been passionate about fishing for a long time…. I’ve had my fair share of days of having been skunked; it made me want to learn.”
As the Associate Athletic Director at Baylor University in Texas, he fishes the Brazos River regularly, but has been fishing all over Texas and occasionally fishes out-of-state. He’s lost count, but his best guess is that he’s fished in more than 100 bodies of water, counting the small unnamed ponds and creeks. Ninety percent of the time he’s out there alone either early morning before work or after. Some days he’s even been out until midnight before he caught his fish of the day.
“There’s a lot of things that go into it that people might not realize,” Hodge said. “It’s been very hard on him physically. He’s had shoulder problems, but is working through the pain to get it done.” Hodge also related a time when Miller was worrying that he might have to arrange an out-of-state fishing license on short notice and take his equipment with him when there was the potential that his football team would play out of state. Luckily for Miller, the game ended up being in San Antonio, Texas.
“I definitely have my days when I’m out for seven hours and I struggle,” Miller said. “My wife says I make it look way too easy for someone following on facebook.” It’s time consuming, but Miller said he still loves it and will continue to fish as long as he can be effective in encouraging people to have fun and as long as he has fun himself. He feels that he’s accomplishing both.
Lures and baits
For those interested, here is some of the gear Miller uses. His go-to lures are the ones he can use in a variety of locations.
- There are a couple of lures Miller uses which he calls the 35-cent special. It’s simply a 3-inch white grub tail on a jighead. “It’s nothing special, but I catch soooooo many fish on that.” Bass, sunfish, or catfish… that’s an all-purpose catcher.
- In-line spinners.
- Worms and plastic worms on a shaky-head jig.
Those three are the favorite setups, but depending on the conditions, Miller will stray away from these.
The public is invited to attend and fish with Miller at the Bledsoe-Miller Recreation Center pier at 300 Martin Luther King, Jr., Blvd. from 9:00 a.m. to noon March 31. TPWD will provide fishing equipment, a casting activity and a fish habitat placement demonstration. Cameron Park Zoo will have live animals on display.
Visit the Catching a Fish a Day with Keith Miller facebook page for more photos and daily updates.
Photos courtesy of Keith Miller