I hooked up with the charming Mariko Izumi on the fishing show in Edmonton Canada over the weekend and interviewed her on her fishing adventures.
Mariko is best known as the host of the World Fishing Network´s (WFN) Hookin´Up, which is a fishing show that features fishing and fun in some of the hottest locations on the planet.
Since getting into the TV fishing business in 2007, Mariko has presented a web series on the current events of the fishing industry and hosted her own series. She is also on top of all that a proud partner of F3T Canada – the Fly Fishing Film Tour.
“What is the Fly Fishing Film tour all about?”
It’s a film festival that goes across Canada and the US, it started 10 years ago in the US and I know run and operate the Canadian side. Every year fly fishing film makers around the world submit their short films and then we select the top 9 or 10 films. Then we put them together into a 2 hour film and bring that film tour across all Canada. You buy ticket to the film tour and come to a restaurant or often a theatre and see these beautiful fishing films. We also make it extra sweet for visitors coming as we give them our magazine which we produce as well which is called The Stonefly and give away a lot of free stuff.
“So everyone can submit a film from around the globe?”
Yes, for an example; this years line-up there is two films that take place in the Seychelles, two that take place in Canada, a few that take place in the US, for example Marlin fishing on the fly in Virginia and another film in Africa. This way it makes it more international because when you go to a film tour you see different types of fishing, different types of species in different part of the world.
“But how did you become involved with all of this – what made you fall in love with the sport?”
I guess it is quite a unique story. I grew up in a fishing family where my uncle and dad, Wayne and Bob Izumi, grew up fishing. They were poor with my two aunts and four kids. To make a long story short, basically my grandma ran away and my grandpa was busy working supporting the kids, so these 4 kids were a lot by themselves – so they fished all day long in a rural town in Ontario. Flash forwarding to the year I was born, by this time fishing had really influenced both my uncle and my dad´s life, so the year I was born my dad and uncle started their own half our sport fishing TV show, called Real Fishing. To this day it still airs across North America and they are in their 33rd season. With that said, I did not plan on following the footsteps of my dad and my uncle. I grew up being very girly and competing in dance and gymnastics, and my first career was in public relations but the WFN was originally started in Toronto and when I graduated I was also there and started doing some work for them and then I realized that I should follow in my father and uncle footsteps. Being in front of the camera, out on the water and travel was really fun and suited me. My mom even hosted a fishing TV show in French too for a couple of years, show this really is in the family.
How is it making a living in the sport – easy or not?
Definitely not easy and I think you agree. I´m in the entertainment business but even if I was just in fishing, it is like the entertainment business, it is a constant hustle. Fishing, even though the stats are there in terms of, for example in Canada more people recreational fish than tennis and golf combined, so there is money in it but there is something that makes it so that there is not a lot of money to go around. So if you want to make a full time living in fishing, whatever it is touring and doing tournaments, doing fishing shows or other it is a hustle, you have to build relationships which is very important and you have to maintain them. It is hard work and harder than people who aren’t in the industry would believe and think it is only living the dream. Don’t get me wrong – I wouldn´t have it any other way and I love this field but it is hard work.
Sturgeon fishing is a favorite now that I live in BC and have the opportunity, it is such a unique experience, especially when you go with a guide who is part of the tagging program. Once you get a fish around 4.5 – half feet, in order to protect them you don’t want to bring them into the boat, so you need a really good guide as you are in a river with this really fast current and once the fish is a bit tired and you want to land him you want to bring him to the sides, and you also have to make sure you are not bringing the fish or line into the rocks as well as work with the current at the same time. Once you get him there and jump in the water and hold the fish, that moment, you are holding this prehistoric creature in the water is so special. They are gentle giants as they don’t have teeth.
Then I have always loved salmon, whether it is on the fly or out on the pacific, I just love fighting a salmon.
What would be your most memorable fishing trip?
I´ve travelled all over and fished my whole life really, but some of my favorites; one is definitely up in northern BC on the Langara Island Fishing lodge for salmon, halibut too which is not as much fun but fun to try. Salmon fishing up in Haida Gwaii on the pacific is definitely one of my favorites, Ive been there a few times, you are out on a small boat and it is not uncommon to have whales come and visit you and you can basically touch them, there is deer and the food is very good as well. Ive always love the visits there.
I always love Puerto Rico for big game as you can catch Marlin right outside or almost in San Juan, which is their capital so you can still see the skyline of San Juan but you are still catching a huge Marlin. You get the urban plus outdoor experience all in one, plus that San Juan is really fun.
No budget – what is your dream trip?
SEYCHELLES! Two of the films in this year´s Fly Fishing Film Tour take part in the Seychelles and it looks so gorgeous, Crystal clear water and clear skies.
Hope you enjoyed my chat with Mariko as much as I did and maybe it gave you some new bucket list fishing adventures, sure did for me as I am now all set for a Sturgeon trip. Mariko is as well a travel blogger and writer, you can follow on her adventures on her page: http://travelwithmariko.com/ and find her as well active on social media.
All my best,