If you have read other interviews, you know that I love people who show that they have fun fishing. Mitch Erickson is one of those anglers. You can just tell the fun he is having in every pic on Instagram. I reached out to Mitch to talk about the role fishing plays in his life.
Looks like you have fun from your Instagram photos. What makes fishing fun for you?
In my family, fishing has always been a special part of our lives. As a toddler, I spent every weekend at my grandfathers campsite on the Susquehanna River just hanging out with family, camping, swimming and learning to fish. I continued to get more and more into fishing the older I grew because of being able to explore more bodies of water. I fell in love with the freedom and feelings that come along with fishing. To me, fishing is more than a sport or hobby, its my therapeutic escape from the everyday struggles of work and bills and growing older. And it’s something that I will do forever. I will keep learning and keep catching until I close my eyes for good!!!
You recently caught your first musky. What’s the fish story behind the catch?
Well my best friend and I both were completely hooked on fishing for flatheads. But the last two years the river has gotten really crowded with boaters that are also fishing for flatheads. One night after a frustrating catty trip my buddy had said to me that we need to fish for something that takes more skill and time to catch. Right after he said it, we agreed that chasing musky was the ticket. So we both started doing our research, and over two or three months we both updated our gear and lures. We actually only started fishing for musky in March or April of this year. And a few months later, I finally hooked up with my first musky which happen to be a 40″ Tiger Musky. That was one of the best moments of my life, because all of the research, money, and time spent on the water finally paid off big time with boating that fish!!!
What are your favorite places in PA to fish and what makes them each special to you?
I have a few secret big bass ponds that some farmers and friends let me fish that are awesome honey holes, but my all time favorite place in my home state of PA to fish is definitely the Susquehanna River. I love fishing the river because the Susky is full of so many different kinds of fish to target depending on the time of year. But the main reason it’s my number one spot is because I spent most of my life so far out fishing, boating, and camping all over the river.
What is your biggest PA bass?
My biggest PA bass so far sits at an even 5lbs. I worked third shift at a company that is real close to a public pond. I punched out at and headed straight for the water. I was really tired and exhausted but the urge to fish outweighed the need to sleep. So when I got to the pond I put on a random spinner bait, and the very first cast I made, I hooked up with my biggest bass to date. Needless to say I slept like a baby that day!!
You use some big swimbaits for bass which isn’t necessarily the most common technique here in PA. What are your favorite swimbaits and how do you fish them?
I have always been a fan of rubber baits more than anything else on the market. With rubber baits you can work them to look and move just like a real baitfish more than any lure on the market could. With the right rig setup you can also throw rubber baits into places where lures and other baits just do not and will not work, like weeds, lily pads, rocks etc. And 9 out of 10 times, that’s where the big boys are going to be hanging out.
What is Team Rebel Run and what is your association with them?
Team Rebel Run is a fishing team made up of family and friends who are all passionate about the sports and lifestyle of fishing and hunting. It all began because me and my dad designed and made saltwater and freshwater fishing lures that my dad would then sell on his online tackle store which was called “Rebel Run Tackle”. One day we were on the computer looking at blueprints for a lure we were going to be making, and I asked my dad to make me a shirt to wear while I went fishing with his online store name on it. At first he said he would think about it, so I just kinda left it at that for a little. One night I went home and sat on my computer and started designing a logo for the shirt I wanted to make. I eventually finished with the logo we have now which is the skull and army helmet with fishing rods crossed behind it. I then took it to my dad and finally convinced him to cut out the logo on the vinyl cutter and press it onto a shirt for me. After that I told him I wanted to put “Team” in front of the “Rebel Run” name to put on the front of my shirt. Once we got the shirt made, I started wearing it every time I went fishing, and posted as many pictures as I could with my shirt on. People started asking what it was all about and wanted one of there own. They wanted to be apart of the team!!
You catch some nice catfish. What are some of your favorite waters and techniques for big catfish?
I know I have said it a lot already, but to catch 30-40+ pound flathead catfish, I go to the Susky. There are a few other secret spots I have found over the years that hold big catfish that I go to once in a while, but like I said the Susquehanna River is my go to place for not only catfish, but almost every fish I target. Flatheads have not always been swimming the Susky. I can still remember about 5 or so years ago, I could fish the river and not hook up with a single flathead. There was nothing but channel catfish swimming those waters. Now the flathead catfish have taken over, and other species of fish have all but disappeared because of the flathead. But that’s another can of worms that we won’t get into right now. Anyhow, when I go fishing for flatheads, I always use live bait. I run 30lb mono on my ugly stiks, with a 50lb shock leader. Sometimes I fish with Egg or Slip sinkers on my rigs to keep the baitfish in one area if the water is high or fast. Most of the time tho, I just hook up my baitfish on the 6/0 J-hook and cast them out and let the fish do the work. I really can’t remember who or where I learned my set up from but it has been working great and boats me some monsters!!!
Great stuff Mitch. Thank you for doing this interview. I will be following Mitch on Instagram to witness more of the fun.