Twenty Questions With "Fishing Basics" Creator Greg Karch
I once had the pleasure of fishing with Greg Karch during an FLW Walleye Tour event and found him to be a genuine fellow. He is an intelligent man with a big heart, and is quick to share his knowledge about the sport he loves most with everyone he meets. Learn more about Greg and his "Fishing Basics" fishing clinics below.
Join us Wednesday night, March 30th, at 7pm Central Time in the Walleye Central Chatroom for a candid visit with Greg, who will be our guest host for the hour. No registration is necessary to enter the chatroom.
Hope to see you all there!
Juls: Who is Greg Karch?
Greg: I live on Lake Winnebago in Oshkosh Wisconsin. Besides fishing I spend a lot of time working at Thrivent Financial where I am an Application Engineer. I really enjoy fishing, which is a great stress reliever after a tough day at work. Besides fishing, I also enjoy hunting deer, duck, and turkey. Since I have had it good, I want to promote and share the great sport of fishing with everyone.
Juls: Are you married? Children? Do they like to fish too?
Greg: Yes, I am married to my wonderful wife Karen of twenty-three years. Karen really enjoys fishing and also is a pal to do taping of our fishing trips. This past couple of years she has not had much time for fishing as she has been very busy with her military career. She was just promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Reserves and has been gone every weekend for the past five weeks.
Juls: How old were you when you went fishing for the first time? And, who was it with?
Greg: I started fishing when I was twelve and it was with my friend Don. We would fish golf course ponds and Ruby Creek where we caught gills and suckers.
Juls: What is your most memorable experience while fishing? (Either tournament or fun fishing...doesn't matter)
Greg: I would have to say it was my 2008 FLW Walleye League Oconto event. During Pre-fishing I found this spot... and boy were there some nice fish on this spot. It was a long run and I knew it would be rough, but decided to make the run anyway. The first fish was a seven pounder and my co-angler said that was his biggest walleye he ever caught. An hour later a board goes back and it is an eight pounder and followed by a nine pounder. That was it, but it was good enough for a top ten finish along with my team mate.
Juls: You are helping to grow the sport of fishing through youth fishing clinics, family fishing clinics, and adult clinics that are free to the public and volunteer your time. How is that working out for you?
Greg: I thoroughly enjoy holding these clinics for youths and families and seeing them all enjoying themselves. Last week at the Ice Breaker event I had parents walk up to me and thank me for what I do. Their kids preferred not to wear their life preserver. During my clinic I wore mine and their son came up and put one on so I could show youths how to put a life preserver on correctly. This shows that we can make a difference.
I started doing clinics a couple years back. In 2009 I attended classes where I became a certified Angler Educator for Wisconsin DNR. In 2009 I took the funds that I would have spent fishing tournaments and started building my youth and family fishing seminar called, ‘Fishing Basics’. I did research to determine what should be taught and started building my educational tools. ‘Fishing Basics’ turned out to be an hour long seminar where I have many interactive segments with the youth during the seminar. In 2010, I did the same and invested the funds in fishing rods to be used during family fishing clinics. I bought fishing educational materials and tackle that was handed out to the youths. In 2010 I held ten clinics all around Wisconsin and in the Winnebago County libraries. Besides youths I held family fishing outings for soldiers and their families where I provided everything they needed.
All my fishing clinics are free to the public.
Juls: How many clinics will you run this season and where are they located?
Greg: This year I have twelve fishing seminars all around the Fox Valley area. I have put together a fishing program for the City Of Menasha where I will work with youth, families, and adults. I m booked every weekend in May and June.
Juls: How can people find out more about your free fishing clinics? Can they volunteer to help? Do you have a website? How can they contact you?
Greg: People can find out more about my clinics or to volunteer by contacting me at firstname.lastname@example.org or check me out on Facebook at ‘Greg Karch’. I have been posting all my fishing clinics as events on Facebook. Become a friend and see updates and pictures of all events.
Ways to promote fishing:
• Volunteer at one of my events
• Find a group or event that needs an Angler Educator
• Hold a fishing clinic in your area (I will help in any way possible)
• If you have new or slightly used fishing items donate them to clinics
Juls: Who are your promotional partners/sponsors?
Greg: This year Dave’s Musky club stepped up to the plate and are donating much needed funds for my 2011 clinics. Other sponsors that help me and my clinics are Mercury, The Boat Doc, Off Shore Tackle, TTI Blakemore Fishing Group, Maui Jim Sunglasses, NPAA and Pure Fishing. This year I picked up Northland Tackle Company, Plano and The Reel Shot. In the future I hope to continue to grow the partnership of my sponsors, so that we can grow the sport of fishing together.
Juls: What are your goals for this grassroots effort to get people fishing?
Greg: My goal for this year is to educate over a thousand youth and family members through my ‘Fishing Basic’ seminars.
Juls: I know you like to fish tournaments, will you be fishing any tournaments this season?
Greg: I may fish a local tournament, but that will be it. Next year, I am hoping to get back into fishing in a tournament circuit.
Juls: What was the most enjoyable event you've ever fished competitively?
Greg: I think the most enjoyable event was the 2006 MWC Spring Valley. I was fishing with my buddy Randy Z. and after a tough pre-fish, one afternoon we found some fish. In a half hour we had 3 fish and it was fishing a technique that both of us never really fished (lead-core) before. We got out of there and did not return until day one of the tournament. After day one, we were in 14th with 12 pounds. What a feeling when your fishing against the best. We did faulter day two and finished just outside the money. Randy and I learned a lot during that tournament and met a lot of great anglers. That's were we learned it's not always about winning but enjoying yourself and making the best about your sitiuation.
Juls: What do you do for a living when you're not fishing or helping people learn to fish?
Greg: I am an Application Engineer for Thrivent Financial and work in the Investments area. Basically I design systems.
Juls: You're also a guide in Wisconsin, correct? What is your favorite memory of your time guiding?
Greg: I am a licensed guide and USGA Captain. Basically, I have been very busy with my clinics and most trips booked are for a parent and youth. Last year I had a trip with a father and son and we were perch fishing. I watched the youth. Every time he had a bite he would start reeling. I explained that he needed to set the HOOK before reeling in. The youth started to really set the hook and caught more fish then his dad.
Juls: What are you most looking forward to this season?
Greg: Seeing open water and getting out fishing!!! So far in 2011 I have not fished once. This was due to establishing the twelve fishing clinics and obtaining funding for my clinics. In the future, I hope that organization see the value I bring and will help me promote the great sport of fishing.
Juls: Of all the waters you have fished in your lifetime, what are your top five favs? And, why?
1. Lake Winnebago – I live on Lake Winnebago and really enjoy fishing on this lake. I can use so many different presentations to catch walleye in this lake. Last year my wife (Karen) caught a 29.5 inch walleye on a Deep Junior Thunderstick, so hopefully we are not to far from getting a 30 incher. Another aspect I enjoy is when the walleye fishing gets tough in July and August the perch and bluegill fishing really turns on.
2. Green Bay Northern Bay – Talk about a big fish spot. I really enjoy catching the big one’s and boy do they know how to fight. Most of the time, I pull Northland Baitfish blades or Big Eye Custom Lures blades and custom beads.
3. Lake Erie – After a 4 year Sabbath, I will be returning with my buddy Tim and his son Dillon to Lake Erie. I can’t wait to troll Reef Runners and harnesses to pull in a plethera of Walleye. Juls, hopefully you will have a few hint’s for use…? ;)
4. Devil’s Lake – I have been here twice and only wish I was there more often. Devil’s Lake is another great place, where you can catch many fish with many different presentations. Favorite presentation here is casting cranks.
5. Below the Rainbow Flowage Dam – This was my first place I started fishing walleye and returned ever year to cast the good old countdown Rapala spring. One spring I was casting a #5 countdown Rapala and WAM!!! After a long battle I had a 52.5 Muskie.
Juls: Do you plan to get your fishing clinics started in more states?
Greg: I do. I am working with Mark Carlyle to become part of his group called ‘Outdoor Knowledge’. This year I was appointed chair of NPAA (National Professional Angler Association) Future Angler Committee where I will be working with members to growth the sport of fishing. I have talked to a few members in Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Colorado on hosting youth fishing clinic.
Juls: What is your favorite presentation to use? What is the most fun for you?
Greg: One of my favorite presentations is trolling Berkley Flicker Shads or Hot N Tots behind my Off Shore planer boards. I also enjoy trolling harnesses especially when fishing the Bay. Last year I started doing more slip bobber and jig fishing and land a 28.5 on Bago.
Juls: Kids say the funniest things some times....What is the funniest thing that has happened while doing a kids event?
Greg: Last year during one of my seminars we were doing the casting clinic. I showed a youth how to cast. I then gave the combo to the youth. They casted and all I saw was a big splash. They forgot to hold on to the combo.
Juls: What are you most proud of in your life?
Greg: I would have to say my relationship with my wife Karen. Behind that is what I am doing to grow the sport of fishing.
Juls: If you could give some advice to a new angler who wanted to start fishing, what would that be?
Greg: Much of what I learned was through reading publications and fishing with many people. Another tip is don’t think you know everything.
(Greg)To end this interview; I would like to ask each angler how do you plan on growing the sport of fishing?