The search for a perfect picture is like the pursuit of a flawless fish – a seemingly impossible task packed with enough challenge to bring photographers and anglers back, day after day. It’s this exhilarating chase of perfection that drives Jay’s work. Armed with a rod in one hand and a camera in the other, Jay’s love for photography was born on lakes, ponds, and wherever his chase for the next bite would take him. Jay recently made the move to Kenora, Ontario where he spends his days fishing in NW Ontario, Manitoba, and beyond.
Was fishing and time on the water part of your childhood?
I was born and raised in Altona, Manitoba. Aside from a local dugout, there wasn’t much for fishing opportunities near me, but with a supportive family I was driven around to Manitoba’s different lakes and rivers to help scratch my fishing itch. I have to give credit for my obsession with fishing to my grandpa. Every summer my family would rent a cabin in Whiteshell Provincial Park in Eastern Manitoba. This is where my love for the sport blossomed!
When you were growing up, who were the 'fishing heroes' and the people who inspired you?
I grew up watching tv fishing shows early Saturday and Sunday mornings. I dreamt that maybe one day I’d be able to do that too and my parents never let me believe I couldn’t. I grew up looking up to Bob Izumi, Italo Labignan, and the guys from In-fisherman. What drives me? I’m living my childhood dream, I’ll never take it for granted. That is what keeps me going even on the tough days to give it my all and try to create the best content I can.
Describe the moment when you knew that fishing was more than a hobby, but rather a way of life.
I think once I started guiding I realized this would be more than just a hobby, it could be a career and a lifestyle. These days when people ask me what I do, I tell them I’m a videographer, sometimes I tell them I’m a YouTuber and they get a confused look and then ask me if I’m able to make a living doing that. I’m here to say it’s possible!
What's your favorite memory with Alumacraft?
I love the versatility of what my Alumacraft can do. My families first Alumacraft was a Tournament Pro 175 Tiller. I took that thing everywhere, from the west coast of Canada, to the Great Lakes, and all the way down into Mexico. The road trips with the first boat are what stick in my mind as some of my favourite memories…and that boat is still being used today!
What is the best way to finish your day? Do you have a favorite fish recipe?
There is no better way than celebrating a successful day on the water with a good ol fashioned shore dinner. Getting back to our cabin at dusk, pouring some drinks and cooking up those fish for my family is just the best. I love it so much that my buddy and me started our own fish batter company as a small passion project on the side. One of my favourite ways to prepare fish is buffalo style. First you coat your fish in some SPICY Catch and Cook then, deep fry at 375 degrees, next you drain the oil, melt some butter and pour in some hot sauce..then you toss the fish back in and give it a toss. Boneless Buffalo Fish Bites! MMMMMMmmmmmm.
In prime fishing season, how many hours do you spend on the water?
In prime fishing season I’m probably averaging 3-4 days a week on the water. I’d love to be fishing 7 days a week, but with the filming comes the editing, but that’s just part of the gig! As far as gear goes in the boat, I’m a tech guy, I love the latest advancements in live imaging technology and what is has all unlocked in fishing. I’m always trying to make the filming side of what I do as seamless as possible, which means using my alumatrack system to rig cameras or even mounting an on board inverter to keep camera batteries charged on long days.
What advice would you have for someone who is just starting to discover the passion of fishing?
For someone just discovering their passion for fishing, I’d try to build a strong community. I’ve always liked the saying “community over competition." I know the sport of fishing can get competitive at times, but I think it’s important to remember we’re all in this for the same reason. We love getting out on the water and catching fish. If you’re looking to take your fishing skillset to the next level, I’d definitely consider getting a job as a fishing guide, there is no better way than spending everyday on the water to improve your skills. At the end of the day remember, it’s fishing, keep it fun!
When you think about the future of fishing, what would you like to influence the most?
I want to help teach others about proper catch and release and fish handling. We don’t all have a family member or friend that can teach us the basics, and through my YouTube channel I aim to teach others these skills so that we can ALL experience these beautiful lakes and rivers for years to come. Also, I’ve become a big advocate for wearing your PFD, it can be tough to make it a habit, but with the low-profile life jackets these days, you often forget you’re even wearing one.