West Bloomfield resident Mike McKinstry has  launched his own fishing show, which includes some  of his adventures on a kayak. The show is called “Bassquatch Hunter TV” and can be found on Waypoint TV.

West Bloomfield resident Mike McKinstry has launched his own fishing show, which includes some of his adventures on a kayak. The show is called “Bassquatch Hunter TV” and can be found on Waypoint TV.

Photo provided by Mike McKinstry

West Bloomfield resident launches fishing show

By: Mark Vest | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published July 3, 2019


Around this time two years ago, West Bloomfield resident Mike McKinstry was entrenched in a marketing career until he had what he referred to as an “aha moment.”

One of McKinstry’s hobbies is spending time on the water fishing, and it was during one of those excursions that he was on the phone with a client for a “very important business meeting.”

During that call McKinstry caught a fish, which got the attention of his client.

“My client just stopped everything we were talking about and said, ‘You know what, send me a picture of that fish. It sounds like you’re pretty excited,’” McKinstry remembered. “And then we talked for an hour about fishing after that.  I was like, ‘You know what, I enjoyed that more than the business part of our phone call, so I think I need to stop doing this and put all my efforts into fishing.’’’

McKinstry said he went back to work that day and put in his two-week notice, which was on the 10-year anniversary of starting the job.

After making fishing videos that were posted for his YouTube series, McKinstry had his show, “Bassquatch Hunter TV,” get picked up by Waypoint TV, which streams content on the internet.

McKinstry referred to it as “like a Netflix of the outdoors.” He said the first episode aired in April of this year.

McKinstry said getting the show was life changing.

“I have a welcome letter from the network,” he said. “It’s framed (on) my wall. I look at it every day to remind me of how excited I was when I first started, so I always have that excitement, that ambition, as I did on day one. It was one of those moments where it validated all the work I did, and it kind of gave me more motivation to keep on evolving and keep on growing because this isn’t my end goal — it’s just a launch pad. I’m hoping to keep on growing, get bigger audiences, bigger networks, bigger sponsors, and be able to influence a larger amount of people and encourage other people to follow their dreams too.”

McKinstry said his revenue is based on sponsors, and although he took a “massive pay cut” after quitting his job, there has been an upside.

“I lost health benefits and all the things that come along with losing a career, but I got it back in happiness and my free time, and able to enjoy what I actually love doing,” McKinstry said. “It’s like having therapy every day, but I get paid to have therapy.”

McKinstry uses a kayak to do his fishing on the shows, which have been filmed in different parts of the country, including Michigan. He said his catchphrase is “Always take care of the water you touch, the fish you catch and the people you meet.”

Part of taking care of the fish is releasing them after they have been caught, which McKinstry said he does for every fish that he catches. 

According to McKinstry, “Bassquatch Hunter TV” isn’t your grandpa’s fishing show.

“I found a niche in showing more of an adventure and making my episodes like miniature movies,” McKinstry said. “I opted to have zero commercial breaks in my episodes. … Every episode shows the journey getting to the location, launching the kayak, getting in the water, catching fish (and) how we caught the fish. And then we also try to include something else about the local area, just to make it more of an adventure. Like when I was in Louisiana, we went to a gator farm and were zip-lining over gator swamps.”

Matthew Peach, of M-1 Studios in Ferndale, is a producer for “Bassquatch Hunter TV,” and he has also noticed a difference between McKinstry’s approach, as compared to other fishing shows.

“Traditional fishing shows are very much just, ‘Here we are. We’re out there, we’re sitting there and here’s a fish — we’ve caught a fish,’” Peach said. “Mike takes this approach of making (it) entertaining the whole time. We’re doing fun stuff out on the kayaks. We’re not just fishing.”

McKinstry expects to have 12 episodes the first season, with the possibility of doubling that number going forward.

McKinstry described the adventure he has been on as an amazing one.

“It’s about getting outside and finding things that make you happy,” he said. “Following happiness instead of following possessions, following money and material things. … That’s when I found myself.”

Call Sports Writer Mark Vest at (586) 279-1112.