West Bloomfield resident Mike McKinstry’s fishing show has been picked up on a national network.

West Bloomfield resident Mike McKinstry’s fishing show has been picked up on a national network.

Photo provided by Mike McKinstry


West Bloomfield fishing show gets picked up on national network

By: Mark Vest | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published May 8, 2021

 West Bloomfield resident and fishing show host Mike McKinstry, right, helped surprise White Lake resident Darius Kincannon with a new, free kayak after his other one sank.

West Bloomfield resident and fishing show host Mike McKinstry, right, helped surprise White Lake resident Darius Kincannon with a new, free kayak after his other one sank.

Photo provided by Mike McKinstry

Advertisement

WEST BLOOMFIELD — Many books have been written and movies made about people who have chosen to buck the conventional route in favor of pursuing a dream.

In reality, sometimes that decision pays off and sometimes it doesn’t.

In the case of West Bloomfield resident Mike McKinstry, his choice to take an unconventional path has been rewarded with work he enjoys and with multiple adventures.

McKinstry is in his fifth year of having his own fishing show.

He did promotional marketing work for more than 10 years before deciding to take a chance on earning a living with a fishing rod, a kayak and a camera.

“Bassquatch Hunter TV” was launched on a streaming platform. However, things have gotten even better for McKinstry since then.

“We got picked up on a national cable network, the Pursuit Channel,” he said. “Last season was our first season on the network, and we ended up ranking fifth on the network, bringing in 1.9 to 2 million viewers in our sixth-month season, which was a pretty cool accomplishment. Now we’re in our second season on cable and projected to hit 2.5 million viewers this year.”

Making it this far hasn’t always been easy for McKinstry.

“Imagine going on a roller coaster that’s never been tested before, that nobody’s ever been on, and no one can tell you how to hold on or what to expect around each curve,” he said. “And then while you’re on the roller coaster, the roller coaster changes and evolves while you’re on it. That’s pretty much what it feels like. There’s plenty of ups, downs, obstacles, and twists and turns, and most of them you don’t see coming until it happens.”

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, McKinstry traveled to various parts of the country for the filming of his shows, but more recently, he has done his fishing closer to home, particularly in the West Bloomfield, White Lake and Waterford areas.

Aside from kayak fishing, McKinstry’s show also typically has a “segment of adventure or another sport that we expose,” along with a charity or pay-it-forward segment toward the end.

A recent charitable act wasn’t pre-planned. In March, McKinstry observed that a man’s kayak had sunk and flipped near the shoreline on Cedar Island Lake in White Lake.

McKinstry, his cameraman and the man whose kayak sank proceeded to pull it out of the water.

The man’s kayak was in need of repair, and McKinstry offered to repair it.

About four days later, McKinstry had the man meet him at Summit Sports Bloomfield Hills, where he learned that instead of a repaired kayak, he was getting a new one, with Summit Sports covering half the cost and Seastream Kayaks the other, according to McKinstry.

“We ended up getting him a really nice high-end kayak from one of my sponsors,” McKinstry said. “We got a super nice kayak and a new life jacket. I surprised him with some fishing bait, a new rod and some other stuff, too.”

McKinstry said he and that man, White Lake resident Darius Kincannon, have become good friends.

“I (went) to meet him one day to get my kayak, and he surprised me with that brand-new kayak,” Kincannon said. “I was blown away; I didn’t think that in the slightest. I was in a bad mood (because) my son had broken my rod just before I got there. … When I got there and (saw) that, I was blown away.”

As for the fishing part of the show, McKinstry said, “For the most part, everything we do is catch and release.”

McKinstry buys airtime for “Bassquatch Hunter TV” and gets his revenue from sponsors.

He said sponsor relations are “90% of what I do.”

Sometimes seemingly good decisions can later end in regret. But the passing of time hasn’t changed McKinstry’s mind about the choice he made to resign from his previous job and launch a fishing show.

“It’s the best thing I ever did,” he said. “I gave up a lot (of) security and comfort, but I gained memories and a lot more freedom. … The freedom that comes with being self-employed is counteracted with all the struggles and sacrifices, but it’s one of those things where I get to do what I love every day.”

McKinstry said the decision he made has led to a “night and day” difference in his life.

“I’m a different person,” he said. “I feel like I have a better understanding of who I am and what I want out of life. … I’m focusing on doing what I (want to) do and doing what I’m truly passionate about.”

The Pursuit Channel can be viewed via cable and satellite, on demand, and through various streaming options.

For more information, visit pursuitchannel.com.

Advertisement