I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about the website being so quiet and wanted to take a few minutes to address some of the questions I have been getting.
If you’re looking for the readers digest version.
Everything is OK, I’m still keeping things going but there are some major changes taking place behind the scenes.
It will be a little while before they will be seen by you, our valued readers but you’ll see some major changes and improvements as we begin to implement our “new vision”
It’s Learn To Catch Catfish on steroids. It’s a whole new approach, it’s a bigger picture that hits all aspects, all angles and all levels of the sport and how it’s done.
You’ll never look at the sport of catfish fishing the same way again.
The full story is available below. This is long and covers everything that happened to drive these changes and why. It’s the story of Learn To Catch Catfish, where it’s been and what it will become.
This is long, detailed and unedited. It’s a “mind dump” that I felt I needed to share to address questions from you, the loyal readers and that have made this all possible. Those asking me what’s up, this is the answer.
If you want all the details, then keep reading. If not then skip down to the last part of this page and you’ll see exactly what you need to know right now and how to keep up.
One Simple Idea That Grew
In 2009 I started the Learn To Catch Catfish website to provide reputable information to catfish anglers. It started on a whim in the middle of the night with what seemed like a simple idea to help people.
Nearly 12 years ago when the internet was “young” I started a catfish website with the same intent as Learn To Catch Catfish. I was way in over my head and it was a nightmare to manage. Back then the technical aspects were expensive to maintain and the people that could help were hard to find.
After an illness and long line of frustration I stepped away from WhiskerKitty.com and just let it set. All of the original pages and images are still online today deep within the guts of the internet and it still manages to bring quite a few people to it’s pages every day.
Several years later I started seeing the need to try to rebuild that resource. The technology was available and easier to manage and the opportunity seemed right and there was definitely a need. It was something that crossed my mind often but I never took action.
After a lifetime of fishing for catfish and over a decade as a professional catfish guide I wanted to help pass information along and create a place where anglers of all experience levels could get the information they needed.
One night I spent several hours answering emails from anglers, returning phone calls and answering questions, posting on message forums and there was a common theme among every one of these communications. I was answering the same questions over and over again.
That I night I woke up and Learn To Catch Catfish hit me, there was very little thought involved in the name or what it would be and the initial plan was a very basic set of tutorials and information.
That simple idea quickly grew into a powerhouse of information and what’s widely known as the “go to” resource for catfish fishing information.
That community that has grown around Learn To Catch Catfish never ceases to amaze me. I’ve met great people and made a lot of friends along the way and it has been a wild ride. I’ve reached a point where everywhere I go someone stops me and says something about the site, the videos and the articles. It happens all the time in the strangest places. I even had someone come up to me this summer on vacation with my family and start asking me questions about stuff they read on the website.
The Mangled Mess
I’ve had a mangled mess of businesses from owning North Texas Catfish Guide Service and making catfish bait to the variety of websites that have been online. All of which have been a piece meal of stuff that I managed to keep afloat through some sort of miracle.
For the past two years the popularity of Learn To Catch Catfish and demands that come with it have grown significantly.
Doing this I have kept guiding, continued to make catfish bait all the while playing writer, photographer, editor, web guy, customer service, graphic designer, tech support and a variety of other things I try not to think about.
A House Of Cards, Bubble Gum and Bailing Wire
Learn To Catch Catfish has had a lot of struggles over the past year and a half as the site has grown. I set everything up initially myself through trial and error and made a lot of mistakes along the way.
That coupled with the demands the constant growing number of visitors made on our web servers and infrastructure have been a problem. I’m dealing with constant problems from the web host shutting the website down because we are using too many resources on their servers.
All the while the “behind the scenes” stuff has been a challenge to keep together. It’s a mangled mess of bubble gum and bailing wire trying to hold the whole thing together and functional which adds to the hosting issues we have had.
Management of everything has been a one man job that I have done and I will be the first to admit that is NOT my area of expertise. I’m a fisherman that knows enough “tech” stuff to be dangerous and that is all. Every single piece of information and content has gone through my hands and been created by my, and it shows in many ways.
This has really been taking a toll on me and my family this year. The hours have been endless and it’s been at the sacrifice of my family trying to keep it all together and it’s truly put me in a position where all I can do is work.
The vast majority of this work you never see because it’s just trying to keep the wheels moving.
The past few months I have really been struggling trying to find some direction, find a way to make it work, and pay attention to my family at the same time while I keep paying the bills.
I started this year with a vision for an exclusive area for the email subscribers and have been working on it for months. It was yet again another system of bubble gum and bailing wire trying to hold it together and make it work and more taxing on our web server that couldn’t handle any more.
In early June, while I was on vacation the web hosting was shut down four times in a two day period because of the volume of people on the site. I spent hours on the phone trying to fix the issue and managed to work through it but it left me frustrated to say the least.
This also keeps me from doing what I enjoy, creating information, articles, videos and podcasts and talking with anglers to help them increase their success.
Through all this there have been plans to start using new technology but the infrastructure issues with our web servers would not support it and the fix to make it work was a short term solution that would drive long term problems.
This was the immediate direction of “Catfishing Insider” to grow into this vision and fill this gap.
Voices In My Head
For the past year I’ve had a vision of a change for Learn To Catch Catfish. It’s not something I saw when I started the site but being in the trenches for the past few years lead me down this path.
I’ve been writing for outdoor magazines for the past year and doing some photos with them and working with some key people in the tackle industry on some long term goals and the catfish market. These relationships have opened some new doors and give me some clarity on where the tackle industry is headed, where the media outlets are headed and the huge gaps that exist in the market.
Then there’s a HUGE gap in the information that is available, how it is being distributed and the driving forces behind that.
The emails I get on a daily basis from anglers that have left the “bass fishing world” or just getting started catfishing blow me away. The people that take the time to send thanks and tell me how much they appreciate what Learn To Catch Catfish has become and how much it has truly helped them are a driving force behind what I do and also the future vision.
Simply put the goal has always been to help everyone catch more and bigger catfish.
Times They Are Changing
Through this process I’ve been watching many different areas of the fishing world and how business are evolving and responding to a new economy and a new way of doing business.
People in all aspects of the catfish world and all experience levels have a vision and a driving passion to make it something bigger but the correct positioning has never been in place to drive that direction. It doesn’t matter if it’s the executive at a major tackle company, the fishing guides and tournament anglers or the angler that’s just getting started and want’s to catch fish consistently.
Most of these people all share a common thread, a common vision of where the sport should be but it’s just never happened.
After 13+ years of professionally promoting the sport, the missing pieces of the puzzle haunted me.
Glimmer Of Hope
I’ve seen much of the media take a concerning approach towards catfish over the past few years. They love to make a spectacle of catfish, catfish anglers and all that involved. They’ve latched on to “noodling” and pushed it in a direction where it’s main stream and something to talk about. It bothers me so bad I can’t even listen to it.
Earlier this year I started seeing more signs that things were changing in a variety of areas and a glimmer of hope that there was change coming with how the marketplace was responding and promoting the sport and it continued to fuel this ultimate vision I had.
One Word Changed It All
In June of 2013 a had a phone conversation with a heavy hitter in the tackle company about their product offering and business direction for catfish anglers. He reached out to me for feedback on a product they were considering and wanted feedback.
It was a bad idea, it was a horrible product and I told him so. I also gave him some specific advice on the direction he needed to head and why. It was a huge shift from their traditional product line and he was hesitant to put the money behind it to make it work.
Days later I received a text message from him and it said nothing but “THIS” and included a photo of a fishing publication.
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw it. It could not have been worse.
I responded with “a picture speaks a thousand words, I get it”.
One simple picture summed up why everyone continues to struggle whether it’s a new angler getting started, a weekend angler with experience, a guide or tournament angler, a tournament series or a tackle company.
[Edit] I’ve received a number of emails from people asking me to post the photo I referenced. The photo posted on this page is from my personnel collection and not the issue. The photo is not something I intend to share publicly. It would be in bad form and provides no value other than to ridicule someone else’s work.
It was exactly why everyone is being held back.
It’s why they can’t get all the information they want, it’s why the brands that have deep pockets are not putting products out that meet the needs and are affordable. It’s why the people at all levels and in all parts of the country have to spend more money than they should and can’t get the support they need, it’s a lose-lose situation all the way around.
It’s a problem that’s perpetuated by everyone in the media, in the sport.
It’s a problem that the leaders in the industry have continued to support and even pushed to drive.
I myself was part of the problem in the past.
Two Ton Heavy Thing
The picture in that text message stuck with me.
I went home and printed it and taped it on my wall and stared at it for days and the more I looked at it and watched what others were doing the more I realized that someone had to be the one to step up and make the change.
The following days I started to get some clarity, all the pieces came together in a clear direction, and for the first time in a very long time I got really excited.
I made some calls to some people I trust for input. Through each and every conversation there was single belief, someone has to step up and be the pioneer and I needed to move.
The days to follow I filled pages and pages of notes, drawings and mapping out ideas for what the future looked like and looking closely at how to make it work.
Then it all hit me like a two ton heavy thing.
New Directions, Bigger, Faster, Stronger
Learn To Catch Catfish is not going away and will still be the number one source of catfishing information.
I’ll still be cranking things out and pushing the envelope to be a leader in the industry.
But the new direction….
It has the infrastructure and technology in place to do things nobody else is doing.
It runs like it is supposed to and doesn’t require me to micromanage the stuff I’m not good at. My focus will be the stuff that you, the catfish anglers want.
It’s Learn To Catch Catfish on Steroids, it’s where I’ve been headed since day one but didn’t have the ability to provide because of technology limitations.
It’s all the things I’ve wanted to do for this past two years and couldn’t.
I’m not getting into the fishing tackle business or making any products. I want to put that rumor to be before it ever gets started.
The Bottom Line
In the immediate future you’ll continue to see articles, videos and podcasts.
You’ll start seeing more frequent emails from me when you subscribe to the mailing list with information on fishing for catfish that you won’t see on the main website because of these changes. It will continue to be the stuff that you can’t find anywhere else.
The technology is being implemented to support the website, the current technology and the ultimate vision and make it work. It’s above and beyond and looking forward 10 years to scale as needed.
It’s all a bit “cryptic” now and I am limited to what I can say. I’ve battled the past few years with copycats taking everything I do and using it, all the way down to the LEARN TO CATCH CATFISH name.
I’m getting the legal protection in place to assure I won’t deal with this in the future and carefully getting the experts involved that can help build the pieces that need to be in place the right way like I should have done when Learn To Catch Catfish began.
When all aspects are covered then the sport will change, the information will change and the sport will be viewed in the way that it should be now.
Through this some big things will be happening all over the web and I’ll be reaching out to YOU the catfish anglers all over the country to get involved, promote the sport, show your support and get some really cool benefits in the process.
Get Ready, Win Cool Stuff
Here’s what to do to make sure you’re the first to know make sure you sign up for the mailing list. We’ll be giving away a lot of really cool stuff and letting you in on what happens from here,
3. Click the “Like”, “Tweet”, “Share” and “+1″ buttons on this page.
I’m betting the farm, going all in, and doing it right. You’ll never look at catfish fishing the same way again.