Let's talk fishing videos! Before I really get started on this blog, I want to preface it by asking members that they may certainly voice their opinions in the comments section, but please make sure not to break any of the site's rules so this blog can stay up and we can have a positive conversation on this hot button topic.
First off, a little history of Fishexplorer and fishing videos from my point of view. I started my Fishexplorer account in 2011 under the handle of skookshunter and have been active on the site throughout most of those 12 years. At the start I didn't realize how much the forum was actually used on the website. I really only visited the site to check the fishing reports for wherever my next trip was planned.
Fast forward a bit and I discovered the forum with a ton of helpful information that really helped me grow as an angler. Some of the OGs of the forum will recognize names such as Fishful Thinker, Lastkast, lewdog, pikencolorado, Ajax, anglerwannabe, fargingicehole, Ronnycast, fishingdj, Flyrodn, brookieflyfisher, fishseal, tigerhunter, pikehu$tla, and the list goes on to include others whose handles I've since forgotten. These guys were a valuable resource for the Fishexplorer community and were sharing a ton of useful tips for newbies like myself. They all did it in their own ways too. Fishful Thinker (Chad LaChance) as you all know has his own TV show, where he was even marketing Fishexplorer on Altitude TV every Saturday morning way back when. I don't think Youtube even existed at this point in time or at the very least it wasn't utilized very much. Tigerhunter (Eric Allee) was a bigtime writer and even continues to put out articles today for Eagle Claw. He's also active in social media running the Eagle Claw live videos on Instagram and facebook.
Eventually, Youtube did become a thing and GoPro cameras came into existence. I'll never forget the days back around 2014 when fargingicehole (Lindsie Garcia) began photographing and recording videos from his trips out on Georgetown lake. They were simple videos where he'd slay brown trout on Dynamic jerkbaits like the HD trout, J-Spec, and Travado. I owned a float tube at the time, and his videos inspired me to pick up a few of those jerkbaits, drive down to Georgetown, and catch a bunch of browns myself. I also really sucked at fishing jerkbaits at the time. Once I learned to mimic his retrieve I started getting hits left and right. I had the chance to meet Lindsie a few years later and told him that his videos were a big part of getting me even more hooked on fishing. Lindsie's posts on the forum never got any heat either (as far as I know). You can check out his posts for yourself by putting in a filter on the forum for Georgetown Lake and see that his posts contained links to his youtube channel and there were numerous positive comments on each of his threads.
I then began my own youtube channel back in 2016 and posted to the forum. My videos weren't of the greatest quality, but I improved over time. I don't remember ever taking on any heat from the forum at that time either. I'd also notice that my videos would get a sizeable boost in views right after posting to the forum. Then in 2017 I got into kayak tournament fishing and although I tried to record footage from the tournaments, I felt like recording was distracting me from focusing on the tournament task at hand. Eventually, I got away from the youtube thing, but every winter I'd come up with ideas on how I'd get back into filming my trips and made plans to consistently post to my channel. I remember coming to a crossroads where my recording equipment became obsolete and it was time to either quit completely or double down and buy some new cameras. I bought new cameras and have since then made an effort to invest the time into my channel.
That brings us up to the modern era of the Fishexplorer forum. I remember posting a video to the forum and noticed that I barely got a boost in views. Nothing like it used to be. I also noticed in my absence that there were many new faces to the forum who were also posting videos and were doing so with way more consistency than I have the time for. I have been watching a number of these videos and although there are things that I dislike in them, there are also things that I did like and tried to incorporate into my own. So again, I am learning from the newcomers and their videos just like I did from Lindsie's back in the day.
The question I have is why are these guys facing heat on this forum? I've noticed these individuals posting these same videos on other social media sites with much less criticism. Is it because of the bragging? Are we just jealous? Because they don't contribute enough to the site? Because we hate stiff arms? Because they're making money? Something else entirely? A combination of these factors?
Whatever way you slice it, I'll give you my two cents on the subject and a suggestion at a solution. We actually got quite the survey from a couple recent videos that were posted to the forum. Many users chimed in. They hated the posts for different reasons. Others liked the posts for different reasons. I'm guessing the OP of those posts really don't mind the attention either way (positive or negative). In fact, when you put something out there that gets such a big reaction from users, your numbers will see an increase. One of those posts had over 2,000 views on this site. How many of those views transitioned to youtube hits even if the users hated the video? Whether you loved it or hated it, the numbers were boosted, youtube's algorithm was triggered, and the video gets into suggested feeds all around the fishing youtube world resulting in even more views for the OP. Anytime you can get a reaction, you're doing something right.
My videos have never gotten that much traction, and honestly, I think twice before posting anything to the forum these days. With the little boost in views and the chance of getting dragged through the mud, I typically refrain from posting them here. Although, I will still post one from time to time if it's a video I'm rather fond of myself.
Now onto my humble suggestion on how to "fix" the problem. You know how there's a section for photos on the website? Create a section for videos too. Take video links off the general forum and delete them if they do get posted there. In order to upload to the video section, the user must be a paid member to the site. Users who enjoy videos know exactly where to go to view them, and the forum guys who aren't interested in them just stay away. We could also just stick to the status quo and do what an OG member said back in the day and that's just "if you don't like it, don't click on it." Thoughts?
Good idea . . .it would not hurt my feelings to see the "chest beaters" moved off the forum to a place all their own.Like the idea they have to be paying members.
I also won't miss the video's that are really nothing more than a advertisment for this lure or product line.
The interesting thing about videos that are essentially advertisements for products is that they statistically get more views than your generic fishing trip video. For example, if you use Youtube's search bar for "Jackson Knarr" you will see two of my videos pop up towards the top from when I did a walkthrough of my kayak. But if you just put in "kayak fishing videos" you would have to scroll a long ways to find any of my stuff. People want to see new products in action and constantly search for that sort of thing
First off - I don't have an issue with people posting videos, if I don't want to watch or see their post.. I can simply scroll right by it. No harm
Like you, I have been on this forum for years, seen many regulars come and go, I assume for varied reasons. Seems the tone of the forum has changed a lot over the years, don't think the change is for the better.
The one thing I take issue with, as I stated on the previous post that has been deleted.. Is the use of the forum for promotion without contributing. The site is a business, takes time from Matt's life and has costs. Those are offset by paid membership and advertising, or at least that's how I understand it as I have no part in that.
If you are really into the YouTube thing, you are also looking to profit from it. No issue with that either, I like money too! But, if you are promoting your channel on here, to make money.. Is $39/yr really too much to ask for a platform to promote your videos? If you spend hours editing footage, is 3 minutes to fill out a lake update asking a lot? Is the few minutes to approve an update as a skipper burdening, no..
And, if "Rule #4" is directed against advertising without approval. Maybe all these guys have approval? I don't know.. To me, the approval should come in exchange for contribution or paid membership, ideally a combination of both.
None of it is my decision to make, nor will the decision change my involvement. But I think there is room for improvement.
Thanks for starting the discussion Scott, hopefully it stays tame and leads to positive outcomes. Tight lines!
I watch most of the videos, subscribe to a few of my favorites. My choice. Nobody is forcing me to click on it. Certainly understand respectfully correcting people on ethics/laws, hotspotting, contribution, etc., but never understood the value of pushing people away from the site. The free/open forum is actually my favorite part of this thing. I enjoy watching our regulars more than any of the junk you see on the outdoor TV channels.
I lean with Ajax and feel that this debate is a little ridiculous. I've been here for a decade. I used to post videos here as well. I haven't done so since 2019. I like watching the videos, but I'm not a "get off my lawn guy" (most of the time). This forum is about fishing in CO. If the OP is posting fishing in CO videos, or even occasional out of state videos, they are fine with me.
Honestly, without the videos, there wouldn't be much content here. The frequency of posts has changed. The types of posts have changed. Most importantly, the times have changed. People consume content differently now. This isn't 2006 anymore when people would frequently go to forums to learn new techniques, ask questions about lakes/species, and ask gear questions. Now people primarily consume this same information by video--and its everywhere. We all know by now that you can find the answer to all of your questions by a quick google/youtube search. Regardless of how niche or specific your search is, there will be several videos explaining answers to your questions with more clarity than forum posts ever good. Maybe its just me, but visuals help me learn a lot more quickly than deciphering a strangers written analysis/instruction.
Purely fishing videos are great entertainment. I, like I am sure many of us do, watch them all the time. Whether its on Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, TikTok, and everything else. These days, you can even live stream people across the country fishing for different species and watch them and their techniques as they fish. That's a great opportunity to learn.
The post that prompted this topic was a fishing and educational video. We learned where they were, what they were using, and saw how they were fishing it. That's exactly what this forum is for and much more informative than a lot of the lake updates. People need to take a deep breath. Perspective is everything.
I admit I don't watch many of the videos posted by users. There are a few I really enjoy but I view most of the as the "look how great I am" videos. That said this is an open forum and there content is generally fishing related. My only real grip with many of the people who post videos is that's all they do. There's obviously no requirement to do updates and such but if you're pushing your product which is the video in my opinion the least you could do is submit lake updates or become a skipper. Basically become a active member of our community instead of just pushing your channel.
First of all I have been a member for a while. Similar to Scott, it took me a while to fully appreciate everything the site has to offer, but now I feel like I contribute as much as I consume (or at least try). I also enjoy watching fishing videos and there is some great content on YouTube. However, someone else said it in one of the forum posts, "are you fishing for fish, or are you fishing for clicks?"
To me that's the difference here. Most of us fish because we love it. Every body of water I see I wonder if I could fish it. We post pics and videos because of how excited we are and how cool a new PB was. And we congratulate each other and praise each other. When posting becomes a job and fishing is just a way to get enough clicks, you can tell. You know when someone is posting vids to get enough clicks for the week, and honestly that's the big turn off for me.
Chad LaChance is a guy I have a lot of respect for. He created the backbone for any CO based YT'er. His content is epic. But Chad loves what he does, and you can tell the difference. I have quit following certain guys who went down that path of "gotta get the clicks." Guys I thought had great content, who sacrificed quality for quantity in an attempt to keep up with the YT stars. I've said it here and was called a "hater," I don't like the new YT shorts, and to me is an indicator of a YT'er that only cares for clicks. That's not 100% across the board, as Chad LaChance does some pretty good shorts but most I see are pretty garbage content to fill a quota.
There is also the "boy who cried wolf" syndrome here a bit too. When every single video you post is of MONSTERS! or BEST FISHING DAY IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD!!! Folks get fatigue, me included. It's not jealousy or hate, it feels like you're being deceptive for clicks and eventually when I don't see MASSIVE fish in your videos titled MASSIVE MONSTER!!! It's just another dude saying the same thing to get more clicks. I'm not dumb, don't try and treat me like I am.
"are you fishing for fish, or are you fishing for clicks?" This is well said. That resonated with me. I can't hate on people trying to make a living fishing though. I'd love to be able do it myself.
I've made my thoughts known a couple times in the past, and I see both sides of the coin in this argument. I see benefits and value from videos being posted. I also get annoyed when I see videos being "promoted" on FXR without additional value or participation from the ones doing the posting.
I don't think we should take video links out of the forum and put them in a separate place. As someone who has been doing business on the internet full time for over 20 years, I think that would be a step backwards. IMO, the more you can integrate video in everything, the more relevant you are for an entire generation of users.
Most of the members who comment on this blog post are going to be members who get value from FXR, and we're commenting because we care. We want to see FXR continue to be here for us all.
In that light, I look at this through the lens of two questions: What's best for the business of FXR? What's best for the community?
Without consulting with the owner, I believe what's best for FXR is web traffic (getting more people to this site), and participation (getting those visitors to stay on the site and keep coming back). Those two things translate to more paid members, and more sponsorships.
In that regard, Scott is absolutely right when he mentions some of these "hated" posts getting 2000 views. Like he said, an increase in views on Youtube can trigger their algorithm to show that video even more. Likewise, when a post on the forum gets 2000 views, Google (same company as YouTube) sees that. That kind of traffic and participation is a huge SEO factor.
If you go to Google right now and search for "spinney 100 fish day" (not in quotes), the FXR post comes up on top, just above Reel Hustle's original video on Youtube. Of course anglers aren't searching for that exact phrase, but that's the concept anyway. More traffic and participation in the forum is good for the business of FXR.
My simple recommendation would be to make the video interface within the forum better. Instead of a little link that takes users AWAY from FXR, embed the video in the post so viewers stay right here and keep the discussion here. (While youtube doesn't like it, I might even take the extra step of encoding the embeds to make it so they don't go to Youtube when clicked).
I also think it would be perfectly reasonable to allow only FXR+ members to post videos. If a current Youtuber doesn't think $39 is worth it, fine. Another Youtuber will come and take their place. This should also help drive FXR+ sales when new visitors see that these expert Youtube anglers are FXR+ members.
If they decide to go the route of adding a new video section to the site (and remove video posts from the forum), I think that could be OK if it's treated more like a subforum, rather than like the photo section. In that case, I would recommend doing the same as what I just recommended: embed the videos within the post, and enable comments to keep the conversation (and thus the traffic) right here on FXR.
I'd rather read about fishing than watch videos or shows about fishing. Fishing videos and shows are too saturated and trite these days with little worthwhile content other than wanting to sell something. I like your idea where the video stuff is housed elsewhere besides the forum. I rarely even look at the forum any longer because of all the 'anglers' fishing for clicks. Fishing is a treasure hunt, not a heist and it seems that has largely been forgotten in the social media society these days. If I want to be barraged with narcissistic twats bragging on their prowess I will just go to Youtube and the plethora of other baggy sites that promote that sort of thing. This site used to be badass maybe it can be again.
No offense, I do watch some not all, but after I see one nice trout I’ve seen all nice trout. Unless it is an exceptional fish I just gloss over the pic. Same with walleye…..I caught a ton of 18 to 22 inchers a couple of weeks ago, I felt no need to document them, video or pics. In short, watch them if you like, if possible learn from them. I’d rather be fishing.
Ban fish farm video!
I think all the videos should be here. I subscribe to FishExplorer so I can see all different kinds of media like that. I can't sit in front of tv watching Al Lindner, BillDance, Jimmy Houston, Roland Martin, Bassmasters, Orlando Wilson, Walleye Central and all that stuff but I record them and watch them if I can. Same with fishing videos and pictures. Having a link neat pics was a great idea!
I like watching vids and looking at fish porn. Don't really care about paying membership dues or commercial interests. Not a fan of the convex lenses/stiff arm enhancements or dudes challenging the weight of legit pics.. I want to see truly BIG fish and good photography. Chained to my sales gig more than I thought I would be after my kids left the nest. Keep posting!!
Wreckstar said it best...if ya gotta use all CAPS on the MASSIVE BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, I'm probably not gonna learn anything.
Well done Scott, you covered the subject in a fair and balanced fashion in my opinion.
Used to be a paying member. Used to try to provide help to members...just like I was helped by other members. I don’t post much anymore. So much of what I see these days seems to be advertising for youtube channels. That’s not what I come here for. I will still check in from time to time, and maybe try help if I think I have something to offer, but watching an endless list of Youtube channel videos is not what I come here for.
Operation Game Thief Call to report illegal fishing/hunting: