This day and age of fishing has so many people utilizing various forms of media to share with others about fishing. For anyone who is podcasting, this interview with Clay Groves from the Fish Nerds is a must read. Even for those of us who don’t podcast, you will appreciate Clay’s journey in sharing his fishing with others. The Fish Nerds is dedicated to promoting the sport of fishing to those in New Hampshire and all over the world.
Let me start by asking the obvious question. Who are the Fish Nerds? And how did your podcast get started?
We started out in 2011 on a quest to catch and eat every kind of freshwater fish in New Hampshire. We wrote for a handful of newspapers and magazines and our stories appeared on NPR news and all over the internet. We even had a big time agent out of New York City who was trying to get our book published. The book deal eventually failed because we were not reaching enough people. So we started the Fish Nerds podcast to make our stories more accessible and because we thought it would be fun. AND it was fun.
One of the things I really like about your podcast is that you are very easy to listen to. I find your personality on the podcasts laid back but very engaging. When did you first realize that you had some talent for podcasting?
Thanks for saying I have talent…tell my wife…haha!
I have always been bad at everything in school, except for oral presentations, So talking is no big deal. Making a podcast is not the same, because to make a podcast suddenly being a good speaker is not good enough. Now one needs to be an audio engineer, a website developer, a marketing expert and whatever else. Still, I keep doing it because it’s totally fun.
There are a lot of people who try podcasting but very few who are successful. I believe you are at episode 161. That’s impressive. What have been the keys to your success?
Success is a funny thing to measure, I sometimes wonder if just making a podcast every week is the same as success. I would rather measure that in engagement.
This past fall my cohost left the show and I threatened to shut it down. The listeners did not accept this and started donating time and money to the show. Saving the show, that is success. We run a Patreon campaign www.patreon.com/fishnerds and that allows fans to support us on an episodic level. we ask for $1 per show or $4 a month. Currently all of our show costs are paid for by our listeners.
Another measure of success is our Facebook group. We have over 14,000 on our facebook business page and about 500 in our group. The page gets no action, but the group is dynamic engaged and is a safe place to share fish stories, funny ideas and to just make new friends. Making friends has been the biggest win for me.
Additionally we now have Fish Nerds correspondents all over the world. They contribute segments to the show and make it more diverse and fun to produce.
How do you come up with your ideas?
Ideas come from real life. For example, a couple of weeks ago I got into a Facebook argument with someone about the conservation of cormorants and it got ugly, as online arguments can. Rather than writing the guy off as a jerk, I sent him a personal message and invited him onto the show. It turned out to be one of the best interviews I have ever had and we are now friends.
Other ideas come from listeners, Facebook, the news and sometimes I get phone calls from media agencies to book guests. One of our most fun guest was an opera singer from New Orleans, Paul Groves. He was performing at the Boston Symphony and invited us to record our podcast in his dressing room. Turns out he was a fan of the show, and we got free opera tickets.
Have there been moments when you thought about quitting?
I think about quitting often, but listeners keep asking more questions and engaging with the show…so I keep going. I have never been dry on ideas, fish stories are everywhere and people keep telling them.
What are the future plans for your podcast?
Future plans for the show, I want to get our name on more podcasts. So you will see and hear the Fish Nerds as guests on a lot of podcasts, and we will have other podcasters on our show. I also want to use our correspondents more often. Their voices are the voices of our audience and they are gold. In the short term, we will just keep this pirate ship going.
What are 5 pieces of advice that you have for anyone else considering podcasting?
5 podcasting tips.
1. Don’t overthink your first episode, just make it and mix it and send it off to the world. It will suck, but you won’t know that until you’re on episode 10
2. Invest a little money into some good microphones. Listeners won’t tolerate terrible sound for long
3. Talk to you listeners. Even if it’s just one person, they are giving you their time, respect them
4. Promote your show. Nobody will find you without you doing the work
5. Make your show the correct length. Weird right? There is no such thing as correct length, but when you are done, be done, don’t drag the show to an hour because you want an hour long show. If you have a great 20 minutes of content, end the show at 20 minutes.
Lastly, you also have a guide service. Where do you guide?
I am an ice fishing guide in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. So I guide on the lakes around the mountains. The guide trip starts with a snowmobile ride to the fishing spot. Then we drill a bunch of holes and you get to catch fish. We use high-tech electronics to make finding the fish easier and we have heated shanties if we need to get out of the cold. Every trip includes a hot meal on the ice.
So check out FishNerds.com and start listening. You will get hooked.