Why I’m getting out of the game.

And a game it is.

The more astute among you will have noticed that over the past few weeks I haven’t been posting as many YouTube videos as I used to. I’ve been asked about it by a couple of people, so I thought I’d take a moment to explain why, and hopefully help some of you who have dreams of YouTube fame (not suggesting I’m famous).

What I’m about to share with you is just me being honest and transparent with you. I’m not exactly proud of some of the things below, but it’s the truth.  

A couple of months ago I was getting ready to go on a fishing trip when my 9-year-old son came up and quietly asked, “Daddy…can I go?” He’s been on trips with me before but doesn’t get to go on all of them.  I had my camera gear in my hands, trying to make sure all the batteries were charged and the disk space was clean. For a split second, I almost said, “Sorry buddy…I’m filming tomorrow.”

That was the moment I got slapped hard with a dose of “what the hell are you doing?” I immediately told him how much I would love for him to come with us and started telling him all about where we were going. As he bounded out of the room excited about the next day’s fishing trip, I couldn’t help but feel a bit sad that I had gotten to the point where I was choosing between fishing with my son and filming for River Ratz.

For those of you out there that are interested in the labels on the jersey, and the notoriety that seems to come with the “pro-staff” positions…I have some free advice for you. I’ve had the privilege of working with some truly amazing companies in the kayak industry…Ones that truly want to do right by their customers and “pro-staff.” But the truth is…in most cases, you are nothing more than free advertising. Remember, pro-staff is short for Promotional Staff….not Professional Staff. I’m still associated with a company and a publication because I believe in the people and their products. I will continue to support them whether they rescind my pro-staff position or not. If you can’t say the same about the company you’re associated with…quit. Pro-staff are a dime a dozen nowadays, and the time you invest versus the discounts you get simply isn’t worth the effort.  I know that statement will probably make a few pro-staff directors mad, but it’s the truth, IMHO.


As far as River Ratz, I’ll still put out a few videos per year, but nowhere near the one a week that I’ve done for the last year. You’ll still see articles and such from me but only because I love helping others grow in this sport that has given me so much. Not to mention, the articles take a fraction of the time to produce AND they don’t affect my time fishing with my son.


I never had any doubt that I had made the right decision, but last night I got the confirmation. We were eating dinner when I told my wife “I think I’m going to the Brazos on Saturday.” Without missing a beat Cameron said, “And I get to go with you!” What a difference from that timid little request a few months before…..”Daddy, can I go?”


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15 Responses

  1. Rick Irving says:

    There comes a point in a Daddy’s life that including his children in his activities is the most important thing to do. Why not think about having us (you, me and Rod) work together to plan activities for other guys to join where we make it all about Daddy and the Kids on the water. I know you aren’t the Lone Ranger in needing to adjust your priorities to include your son in kayaking, fishing and enjoying the outdoors.
    Even though I have adult children and one grandchild I need to include them in things I do.
    Thanks for your post! There are many of us who need to re-evaluate things!

  2. Harmony Rowley says:

    Kudos to you man!! What a positive impact this decision will make on your family!! I am sure we will all miss the videos, but you sir just gained a little more respect from me. Too many in this world “play the game” too much and lose sight of what really matters.

    • RiverRatz says:

      Thank you! I thought there would be some saddness giving up something that I have worked on for the better part of 4 years, but there isn’t…only excitement about whats to come.

    • RiverRatz says:

      Thank you! I thought there might be some sadness about giving up on something I’ve worked the better part of 4 years on, but there isn’t. Only excitement about whats to come.

  3. Jake Syrejni says:

    Just a though, but why don’t you just include him in the videos. I have a YouTube channel I do with my son about our fun adventures together. Even just going to the grocery store without mom.
    Teach him to film, and edit if he has interest. You get to spend the time with your boy and teach him. New skill that could be very beneficial to his future.

    Food for thought. Great job tho, man!

    • RiverRatz says:

      He loves filming, and even has his own youtube channel. If we film, the videos will definitely be of our adventures together and will be shared on both channels. The challenge is that I have done my very best to produce the absolute best quality video I’m capable of. To do that, it takes me between 5-10 hours to produce one. Filming also takes a certain percentage of your focus throughout the day. You’re not just fishing anymore…your fishing with the video in mind. For now, I just want a clean break…much like an addict avoiding the temptation.

  4. Bobby Tucker says:

    Right on

  5. Todd West says:

    Great read. Much love and respect from one dad to another.

  6. Skidbat says:

    Got to do whats right for you and your family. Footage doesn’t need to be polished. Your subs will appreciate the honesty and fun that comes of a dad taking his kid fishing. I know I tend towards those types of channels myself. If you cant enjoy it and bring your kids along then whats the point? And, if the companies don’t want to support that, then they probably aren’t the kind of companies you want to represent anyway.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Well said
    Good luck
    A lil break never hurt a man, I too recently took a two year break to spend time with my family.

  8. Greg says:

    I understand completely what you went through. I myself have been filming my fishing and hunting adventures and so wrapped up in doing a good job promoting the products I use, and putting off time with kids and wife. Now that the kids are more interested in fishing I just run the camera on them for later memories when they get older. I enjoy that much more now. I still post somethings on my Face2Face Outdoors page but not like before.

    • RiverRatz says:

      It’s amazing how, once that light bulb goes off, you see things so differently. It was never about intentionally leaving him out…it was about doing a good job with RR. Checked those priorities and realigned.

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