Editor’s note: This interview is part of a series with Outdoor Hub’s featured video partners. Click here to read our interview with survival expert Dave Canterbury.
This week we are joined by Addictive Fishing producer Kevin McCabe in an interview about filming, fishing, and the industry in general. Kevin has been with Addictive Fishing since its inception and is the driving force behind the scenes to produce one of the longest-running and most successful shows in the business. Maintaining both a presence in online platforms like YouTube as well as television, Addictive Fishing aims to both exhilarate and educate.
Kevin or “Mr. Producerman,” as the crew calls him, continues to be a ceaseless innovator and strives to produce top-notch entertainment for anglers. We are pleased he was able to sit down with us for an interview.
Outdoor Hub: So, tell me about the Addictive Fishing story and how you got here today.
Kevin McCabe: Well, we’re in our fourteenth year. We are a saltwater fishing show based here in Florida and we’ve been streaming on the internet since before YouTube was a thing.
The show is what we’d like to call “rod bending drag screaming” television.” It’s of course hosted by Captain Blair Wiggins. He has been a fishing guide for most of his life until we started doing this TV show. What’s interesting about our partnership is that we’ve known each other since the second grade. We grew up back in the day, elementary school through high school. There is nobody better suited to host this show than Blair. We spent our early years fishing and then graduated high school. I went to Tampa for the University of South Florida. He went off to the Air Force. We came back to our home town for our ten-year high school reunion and shortly thereafter we started the show.
Obviously angling played a large role in your lives but what do you think is the most valuable lesson learned over the years?
For me, the business part. Blair probably has a different answer being that he is in front of the camera. For me behind the scenes, I’ve just learned so much about the business of fishing, about sponsors especially. Some of our sponsors stayed by us for all 14 years. That’s very rare. Most of ours are long-term sponsors, which shows the impact our show has on them.
Do you remember your first uploads to YouTube, and what were your expectations?
My first uploads to YouTube were a way to reach an international audience. We were unable to reach beyond the limits of the country and we received emails from people saying how they would appreciate our shows but were unable to see all of them. We were streaming before YouTube and that’s one of the things we pride ourselves on, being ahead of the curve. We try to do things different. We would put up demonstrations of products and how to put a fish on the line. We like to shoot video in action.
What would you say is your proudest fishing accomplishment?
Wow, that’s a tough one. My proudest achievement honestly is that when we launched in 2000, fishing shows were considered boring. When we started I was almost embarrassed to say I produced a fishing show because it wasn’t thought of as being exciting. That has changed. What we do is all about getting the viewer’s heart rate up. If I can get your heart thumping on the couch then the viewer will be more apt to try what they see on the show. And that is everything we strive to do here.
Can you explain the Addictive Fishing vision and what you strive to create?
Entertainment first, education second–and make sure I can keep the kids watching. We have a huge focus on the younger generation on our show. Our vision is to continue to entertain, continue to motivate, continue to pump people up, and getting them off the couch and maybe going fishing. We also want to inform people of what new products are coming out.
If you weren’t fishing for a show, what fish would you go after and what gear would you bring with you?
Definitely a snook or trout fishing. My favorite fish is a snook, and I love to go after ‘em. So much that we actually have a foundation called Project Snook, together with Mote Aquaculture Research Park, to help replenish the snook population. I am a big fan of this fish, which is only found in Florida and the lower parts of Texas. I love to throw our Signature Series Flats Blue rods made by Wright & McGill. Our second generation “Flats Blue” just came out last month and I rig that up with a Sabalos reel.
You can watch Captain Blair hunt down some Everglade snook in the video below:
In your career how have you seen the fishing industry change?
Lots of people are out there producing their own show now. Certainly, YouTube has provided that opportunity. How fishing changed is that it got a lot harder to get sponsors. You got to have a quality show these days. The quality level is up to where sponsors are looking for shows that are successful and produce results. You really need to motivate your audience, working day in and day out. I get a lot of emails asking me for advice on how to get sponsors.
Any plans for traveling globally for your shows?
For us on the show side, we do occasional exotic fishing but we mostly stay in the states. One place our sponsors want us to go to is Australia. I heard about a large brown trout being caught down there–I think I read about it from you guys. I remember seeing the picture and saying, “That’s huge.”
What’s next for Addictive Fishing?
We’re going to add a lot more cutting-edge camera angles and explore more online options. I would like to start an Addictive Fishing Extreme YouTube channel featuring very extreme fishing situations. I would love to do a 200-300-pound fish minimum channel that’s just focused on huge fish and stuff like that. We’re also starting a new YouTube channel focused on our guests, who are captains in their own right and hard-working guys. We’re trying to make it so they could film their own reports and upload it themselves. We are always focused on expanding our Mogan Series line of products and keeping our sponsors and audience happy.
Image courtesy Kevin McCabe