The Fly Fishing Genie: Ken Tanaka

Recently, I interviewed one of my favourite YouTubers, Ken Tanaka, from Wish 4 Fish. He was a very nice guy, and gave some great, insightful answers. The reason the answers aren’t in his voice is because I had to take his answers down in bullet form so I didn’t have word for word. I did make sure they were his answers, they just aren’t in the first person perspective. 

Q: Can you briefly describe what Wish 4 Fish is all about?
A: Ken’s goal was to help anglers catch more fish. He said he wants his channel to be a better platform for people to learn about fishing. He says he takes suggestions for videos and always replies to all of his fans so he is a very open public figure.
Q: If it was possible to look into a crystal ball and see the future of your channel, what would we see?
A: Ken would like to see continued growth of his channel, with growth comes better destinations to fly fish and create videos. He wants to grow the Wish 4 Fish brand, and grow his fanbase to new states. Overall, ken wants to keep producing and improving content. 
Q: Why did you start a YouTube channel in the first place?
A: This one is a funny story, one day Ken was fishing in Minneapolis, and he caught a muskie. By chance a jogger was jogging by and saw his big catch. She stopped and asked Ken if he wanted her to take a photo or video of the catch. Ken posted the video on youtube and the rest was history. After that he watched other fishing Youtubers and realized he could do the same if not better than most of the people he watched. It’s a funny story because it was a complete accident. He never had any intentions on creating a brand. 
Q: Was there anyone in the fishing community who inspired you when you started?
A: Ken said he just watched the others which helped him learn the basics. The first channel he got into was Jonathan Barnes’ channel. He credits the Tom Rosenbauer Orvis Podcast for helping him learn the ins and outs of fly fishing. Orvis really influenced him, he watched Pete Kutzer instructional videos, and he just loves the entire brand. When Ken met Tom Rosenbauer, it taught him how important it was to be a good role model. Orvis cares about their customers which showed Ken how important that was, so he tries to do the same. 
Q: Where is the coolest place you have ever fished?
A: Ken says he fishes a small stream but he didn’t want to disclose the location because it is so good. He did say it was in Utah and described it as “phenomenal”. He likes it because it has so little pressure and when he goes it is fish after fish. He also mentioned the Green River which is a bigger river with good sized fish. He likes the Madison River in Montana because it was where he started fly fishing. He was able to catch a couple of rainbows there.
Q: What advice would you give to any aspiring youtubers?

A: He told me that if you want to start your YouTube channel you have to ask yourself why? If the answer is money then you shouldn’t be doing it. It is not as easy as you may think so you need to do it because you like doing it. For example, Ken had a background in film and marketing, and he owned a production company. You should do it to help the people watching you. It is very difficult to do well, he said, you have to be willing to leave your family for the weekend, and work on very little sleep. He leaves his house on Saturday at one in the morning to go on a trip and stays up for 24 hours at a time. Fish from dusk to dawn and at first it was only for 50 views, thankfully now he gets thousands so it is more rewarding. At first you need to be prepared to make sacrifices. It takes several years to get where Ken is. 
Q: What is the hardest part of running your own YouTube channel?

A: The beginning was the hardest part for Ken. He said you work extremely hard for very little reward. He felt rewarded when he felt he helped others get better at fishing. He also said dealing with haters is a bit of a problem for him, he doesn’t have a ton but he still has to make sure he manages his emotions. 

Q: Any crazy fishing stories?

A: He didn’t have any “crazy” stories but he told me his favourite. It took place in Minnesota. At the time he was a bass fisher, and a guy told him that for Muskie, he had to do a figure eight at the end of his retrieve. Ken thought this was a dumb idea at first but he saw videos of Muskie anglers doing this exact trick and having success. One day while he was fishing he gave the trick a shot. He did five figure eights and actually caught a Muskie! He described it as one of his most satisfying catches. He even caught it on video. This taught him about sharing information and progressing others. 
Q: Did you fish a lot when you were growing up?
A: Ken did fish a lot when he was young he even has pictures of himself fishing when he was four years old. He said he fished a lot with his father growing up and can’t wait to fish with his son. He would fish for a large variety of fish from Bluegill to deep sea. He fished Blues in New York, and Muskie and Pike in Minnesota. Overall, fishing has been a huge part of Ken’s life. 

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