Podcast Interview TRANSCRIPTION: Josh Jorgensen a.k.a. "BlacktipH"
Speaker 1: Welcome to Laguna Costa Radio, featuring interviews with authentic anglers and hunters from around the globe, and brought to you by Laguna Costa Outfitters, purveyors of sweet threads for the salty soul. Check us out at LagunaCosta.com.
Dink: Good morning, everybody. Dink Murphy here with Laguna Costa Radio. I am very happy to have today's guest for our second podcast of Laguna Costa Radio. I have Josh Jorgensen, aka BlacktipH, on the line with me. You there, Josh?
Josh: Yes, I am.
Dink: All right. Josh is the founder and the namesake of the most subscribed to YouTube fishing channel, or online fishing channel, for that matter, in the world. I hope I have that stat correct, Josh. That's pretty big playing.
Josh: Yes, yes. We're very blessed and have been very excited on the content we have.
Dink: That's awesome. Josh is an extreme angler with an adrenaline-seeking appetite for monster fish. He's been featured on CNN, CBS, Shark Week, and many more that we won't mention here. Thanks for joining us on Laguna Costa Radio, Josh. I know you're busy and got a lot going on. I tried to catch you last week and you said you had been up until about 5:00, 5:30 in the morning. I'm assuming you were out trying to catch monster fish. I don't know what was going on, but we're glad you joined us this morning.
Josh: Oh, yeah, absolutely. Very happy to be here.
Dink: Tell us a little bit about you, like where you grew up, when your love for fishing started, and just some general background on Josh Jorgensen, BlacktipH.
Josh: I grew up in Windsor, Ontario on Lake St. Clair. I started fishing when I was about three years old. I mostly fished for bass and pike and [inaudible 00:02:18]. I actually caught everything: carp, bluegill, [inaudible 00:02:23], catfish, anything that could pull line off my reel. I was pretty happy.
2003 I started fishing in Florida. Caught my first shark in 2004, and I've been hooked ever since, and never really looked back too much at fresh water. I love fresh water, but getting into a little of salt water fishing, it's hard to go back. I just love catching the big fish, man. It's super exciting. I love hearing my reel scream. I love feeling that power. I love the tug of war when it comes to a monster, where I put everything I have into the fish and he's still kicking my butt. It's just awesome.
I've been living down here since 2011, and very thankful and very blessed to be here. BlacktipH started out just me posting videos, because didn't believe that I caught sharks on the beach. I start posting some videos, and one thing led to another, and now it's the largest fishing channel online.
Dink: I have to tell you from a personal standpoint, the first time I heard the name BlacktipH, and I'm not trying to plug this company, but I was preparing for Sharkathon, which is another conservation-based, land-based shark fishing tournament. Takes place ...
Josh: In Texas.
Dink: Padre Island National Seashore. I was interviewing him and getting some recommendations on leaders. The guy was with Shark Outlet. Towards the end we said, "Where can people go for some more videos and tips and the novice that's trying to learn a little bit more about the equipment and the strategies?" He said, "Man, just go on YouTube and search BlacktipH." I'm like, "Black Tip what?" "BlacktipH." He said, "Trust me, everything you need is right there. The guy is awesome, very knowledgeable."
Tell us about that name. I think the H is for Hunter. People used to call you BlacktipHunter in the beginning? Is that how that came about? Tell us a little bit about that name.
Josh: Yeah, yeah. I was obsessed with Black Tip sharks. That was my Internet user name. One day they call me the BlacktipHunter. I just love catching Blacktips so much. People would call, short form they'd call BTH, short for BlacktipHunter. I said, "Hey, why not just say BlacktipH?" It was actually funny how the name came to be. It was more trial and error than it was really, "That's such a great idea. Let's go with that name."
It's worked out great. I think a lot of people have learned, are familiar with the name now. It's very unusual. There was actually a time when I was thinking about changing the name of the entire show. I realized that the name BlacktipH, because it's original, it's not something that exists in dictionary, it really helps in terms of ... Whenever someone mentions BlacktipH, that really helps grow the awareness because it's so unusual. The more people see it, the more people pay attention.
Dink: It certainly seems to be working for you mighty fine. As far as that footage and that channel on YouTube, is it just shark footage, or does it feature a number of so-called monster fish catches and tips?
Josh: BlacktipH, we love showing videos that people want to see. My rule is simple: I won't upload anything that I myself won't watch. We like to show really exciting content that really shows how awesome the fish is, whether it's sharks or [inaudible 00:06:14] or sailfish or whatever. I want to show how amazing of a sport that really is.
In the past and also in the future, I focus heavily on education, trying to help our viewers. We answer a lot of comments. We try to answer all the comments, but sometimes it's too much. When someone asks questions, I know what it feels like. I know what it feels like to be in the dark. It really helps when someone who's knowledgeable and has gone through that stuff can really help.
Like when I first started hooking really big sharks on the beach, I lost every single one of them. I was just trial and error, trial and error. Oh, that didn't work. Let's try something else next time. Every shark I've lost, I think I've almost explored every single [inaudible 00:07:10]. I've learned how not to catch fish before I learned how to actually catch fish. That's where I really like to help people, is, "Hey, this is what's worked for me. Don't do this or that, because this is what can happen."
Dink: On that topic, if you don't mind, there's so many options and things we could talk about with such an experience and unique guest like yourself. If we could drill down a little bit on shark fishing, and if you don't mind me doing a little more narrow than that, just to stay focused. If we could talk land-based, course conservation-based catch and release. If we could speak directly to the beginner or the novice shark angler, or the wannabe, or the aspiring. Land-based, whether it's on the beach or whether it's on a pier, whether they have a kayak to paddle a bait out there or not. Are you okay if we drill down there a little bit?
Josh: Yeah, absolutely.
Dink: If we could, could we start with the equipment? If somebody was going out to get their first rod and reel, without breaking the bank, and maybe they need to kind of shoot for the middle. I know there's a wide range of equipment out there, but if we could make some recommendations for that person that maybe doesn't have anything right now, just kind of something that'll be good, solid, all around, and again, somewhat economical, not break the bank. Where would you start with the rod and reel?
Josh: Honestly, I think the best way for anyone to start shark fishing from the beach, the shore, is to start with a surf casting setup. Learn how to catch the smaller sharks, anywhere from five to seven feet. Don't go and buy [inaudible 00:09:13] and 130s and try to catch a 13-foot fish. Yes, it can happen, if you're an experienced angler. If you're an inexperienced angler and you're just getting into fishing, start with surf casting. Get a surf rod that's anywhere from eleven to thirteen feet that can cast anywhere from ... up to eight or more ounces of [inaudible 00:09:40] weight.
Depending on the beach conditions ... It could be strong current, it could be whatever. You want to be able to make sure you can catch a heavy enough sinker [inaudible 00:09:48] or even a claw sinker. You want to get a reel that can hold a minimum of 400 yards of line. A lot of people, they go, "You don't really need that much." I've hooked a lot of fish where you really needed that much.
One thing that, especially when you're first starting out, nothing hurts more than losing a really nice fish, in my opinion. I can remember all the fish I've lost more than the fish I've caught, because the fish I've lost are the ones that ... It's like a scar, man. It's like, oh, man. It sucks.
You can get ... I'm not going to say any particular brands, but like I say, a spinning reel, or if you like casting a conventional, something that can hold a minimum of 400 yards of line. I recommend fishing braid if you're going to do surf casting. I would start with minimum 50, 65 preferred. When you tie your knots to your leaders, make sure you double up the knots. You want to wrap the line around the eye of the swivel twice. That's a really major thing, especially with braid. Swivels, most of them, they're subject to corrosion, and that braid, as it moves back and forth from that swivel eye, it can really fray. You get a big enough shark, it'll just pop it off.
Those are some pretty basic techniques right there. Another thing, for bait-wise, my rule of thumb is never use a piece of bait larger than a closed fist when you're surf casting. There's no need for it. In surf casting, the larger the bait you use, the more likely you are to lose the shark.
Dink: If we can circle back just real quick to the rod and reel, and I understand not wanting to mention specific brands, but like the eleven to thirteen foot surf rod, any type of ... What do they need to look at as far as what might be stamped on that rod for line or medium action or medium heavy, that sort of thing, as far as the rod? Let's start there.
Josh: I think the most important thing is your [inaudible 00:12:09] weight. You want to make sure that your rod is capable of casting ... I personally use [inaudible 00:12:15] sinkers. I never really use a sinker less than five ounces. When you take into consideration your [inaudible 00:12:23] weighs two ounces, your weight is five, six ounces, and your bait is probably three ounces ... You want something like a ten ounce. If you guy anything lighter, it's going to snap like a twig.
Dink: That's usually marked on the rod, right? Ten ounces.
Josh: Yeah, yeah.
Dink: Yeah, okay. The reel, you said spinning reel. What are they going to spend there? Is there anything to stay away from in the spinning reel line? These things can get pretty sandy and salty and messy, and if they're not going to be cleaning real well ... You want something durable.
Josh: The reality is ... I personally use a very high end reel because of how much I fish. If you're going to fish a lot, invest your money wisely. Buy a reel that's sealed, that's designed to take the abuse of sand and saltwater. Don't buy a cheap reel.
Dink: Sealed. That'll be marked on the advertising of the box, right? Sealed bearings.
Josh: It's just sealed so water can't get in, if you're going to fish a lot, because otherwise you're going to go through reels. I've broken a ton of equipment. The cheaper end reels, they fall apart. They really do, especially if you fish them hard.
Dink: Yeah. The line we're going to spool that reel with, do you ever do any mono filament backing, or do you go straight braid?
Josh: No, I never, ever do mono filament backing. I've seen the horrors of mono filament backing. If you want to lose your fish, because you care more about your reel, then yes, get mono backing. The problem that I saw is ... One time I saw a fish that had ... We had very tight drag, and there was mono backing. The braid cut into the mono and it jammed. It jammed the entire reel and eventually it snapped.
Me personally, I will break a reel to catch a fish, especially [inaudible 00:14:37] knot. In my opinion, it's a great story. "Hey, I came to a knot. I stopped a fish at the knot." I've stopped a lot of fish at the knot. You can stop fish at the knot. It's very powerful, especially if you have a strong knot.
Dink: Okay, so we're going straight braid. What pound test on that braid?
Josh: I would 65 is a good starting one, just because they give that little extra strength.
Dink: Okay. Then rolling right into, I guess, from the braid straight to the leader, the shark leader.
Josh: Yeah. We got a video on YouTube that your audience can watch about how to make a leader for surf fishing. It's a pretty good video there, pretty well organized. If you don't know how to crimp, there's a little video thumbnail inside the video. You can click another video that shows you how to crimp.
Dink: This is making the entire rig.
Dink: This is not buying a prefabbed shark rig.
Dink: You can walk them through right down to the hook size and everything like that.
Josh: Yeah. I never recommend buying store bought rigs. They fall apart. It's junk.
Dink: They can find that on your channel, excellent. They should spend a little time there, and practice makes perfect, and make some rigs.
Josh: Mm-hmm (affirmative)
Dink: Okay. What about other peripherals, or as I might say, tools for the trade? Bolt cutters, rope to land the fish, things of that nature. What else might they need to consider to be prepared for a decent size catch?
Josh: You're going to need a de-hooker. I've used pliers a lot, but the problem with pliers is they don't always work the best. Sometimes you just can't get that angle. A de-hooker is sometimes better. Bolt cutters, I never like leaving the hook in any fish. I'd rather just cut the hook and pull the hook out. If you can't get the hook out of the shark, use bolt cutters and just cut the hook in half. Usually a tapped hook in the fish's mouth, it will shake out.
Dink: It'll work out over time.
Dink: A lot of people don't realize that.
Josh: If the hook's [inaudible 00:17:04] skin, you cut half of it, the other half's just going to come out, whether it's chasing a fish and it gets caught on the fish he's catching, or if he rubs his head on sand or something, it's going to come off.
Dink: A lot of people don't realize just how tired a shark might be by the time you actually land it, get it to shallow water. Can you walk us through that process? I think, if I'm not mistaken, you can bring it up too high on dry ground and it's not so good for the shark.
Josh: Sharks don't have any bones. Their bodies are designed for zero gravity, like in the water. What's the term? It's neutral gravity in the water. They're not fighting against ... as much as someone on land is. When you pull a shark up, especially a larger shark, the gills can get crushed, the organs can be damaged. You have to remember, it's very important to land a shark as fast as possible, any fish as fast as possible.
I'm not against light tackle fishing, but I believe with light tackle fishing there comes a lot of responsibility. Maybe you have to rule out having a photo with your fish. At the end of the day, catch and release fishing, 50% is catching and 50% is successful releasing, and if you don't successful release, you fail.
Land the shark as fast as possible, bring him to shore. You want to pull him as far enough out of the water where they can't swim away. Don't pull them on the dry sand. Leave them on wet sand. Don't be over-obsessive taking pictures. My rule of thumb is one to two minutes max. It's all based on the situation. If you have a foul hook shark, don't even take it out of the water. Get the hook out and let it go, because it's probably extremely tired. You just have to assess your situation.
Some people, they do it because they have an ego to fill and they want to take a great photo of their great catch and they want to show the world how awesome they are. Some of these sharks you catch, especially when you get into the larger species, these fish are probably older than you are. I've been there. I've seen fish die in front of me, and it's not a good feeling. It's terrible.
The reality is, fishing has its casualties. You're never going to have 100% mortality rate. Fish die. It's just the way it is, no matter if you're catching bass, you're catching sharks, or sailfish, or whatever. The reality is some fish just don't make it. As a responsible angler, it's important to make every step possible for the fish to survive. The fish should have priority over photographs or measurements or anything like that.
Dink: That's great. Great information. If anybody who's ever fished for sharks and landed one, you'll know you get a very large crowd, depending on the time of the day, very quickly, and sometimes you even have some people that don't know what the heck they're talking about, yelling in your ear, telling you you're doing something bad. A lot of misinformation out there, so appreciate all of that detail.
Oh, let's talk one more thing on that release. I don't know if you're an advocate of this. I see some that will literally straddle the shark and kind of guide it back into the water until it's got enough life in it that it's going to swim away on its own. A lot of people might look at that and say, "That's crazy. You're just asking for trouble." I think we forget just how tired that shark is. Can you walk us through that real quick on your technique for that?
Josh: You just want to make sure that the shark is getting water through its gills. I've been neck deep at [inaudible 00:21:24] with four hundred pound bull sharks, and big hammerhead, and whatever, and tigers. You want to make sure that the fish lives. When you put him in the water, if he takes off, don't try to be a hero; just let him go. He will turn around. He's confused and he might turn around and bite you. You want to stay away from his head. You want to stay away from his mouth, obviously. You want to make sure that you can kind of guide the shark back to the water. If you have to go in a little bit just to make sure that it lives, you have to do that.
My number one rule is don't try to be a show off. The second people try showing off, or pride sets in, is the very second that accidents happen. You stop focusing on the unpredictable nature of the animal, and you're focusing on trying to use the animal for your own benefit. That's where accidents happen. It's very important to give these animals the most respect as possible, because they are wild animals and they are capable of biting you or hurting you. You've got to approach them very cautiously. They need your help sometimes, and you've got to give them help, but don't go too far.
Dink: Great. We've run out of time here. You just tell me if these things we might have missed can easily be found on your YouTube channel. I guess you've got something in more detail on bait recommendation types of fish.
Josh: Mm-hmm (affirmative)
Dink: That sort of thing. Okay. We can check that. Launching the bait, whether you're casting with a surf rod or paddling a kayak when you get to that level, that's all out there as well?
Josh: Yeah, it is. We're actually in the process of making a whole series of land-based videos, land-based shark fishing tutorials. We're going to make sure that these are very well produced and great educational reference videos for anglers. As our channel grows and our audience grows, it's become more and more difficult to answer all the questions. Making videos makes my life much easier. I'd rather take all the questions we've had over the years and take the key points out of them and make videos about that.
At the end of the day, there's always going to be questions you can't answer in a video sometimes. The reality is I'm going to do my best to make sure that we can answer everyone's questions. I had those questions too when I started. You need someone to help you answer them. You don't feel confident going out there on your own trying to do something like that. You want to have some guidance.
Dink: Great. On that note, we look forward to those videos, but there's certainly plenty out there right now, so please take a look on YouTube everybody. BlacktipH, be easy to find with a search. Josh, other website you want to plug, or social media? Where else might they find you out there?
Josh: They can find BlacktipH on Instagram and on Facebook and on Twitter. Pretty easy to find. Just type BlacktipH in. Yeah. On Instagram we're pretty active. We've trying to post multiple times a day. Facebook we're posting unique videos, and Twitter we're giving updates.
Dink: Excellent. Josh, we really appreciate you joining us today on Laguna Costa Radio. We're going to send you some gear. You may be prohibited from wearing it publicly, based on your current sponsorships, but maybe you can sleep in it at home or something. We look forward to sending you something you can do something with, just a small thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Thanks, Josh.
Josh: I really appreciate it. Thank you so much.
Dink: Have a great day, great week. Take care.
Josh: You too. Bye-bye.
Speaker 1: Today's podcast was brought to you by Laguna Costa Outfitters, purveyors of apparel for the authentic angler, hunter, and outdoors enthusiast. Check us out at LagunaCosta.com, or join us on Instagram and Facebook. Laguna Costa, sweet threads for the salty soul.