Story by Karen Paton-Evans
Photos Courtesy BlacktipH Fishing
Nobody doubts Josh Jorgensen’s fish stories about his big catches or the ones that got away. The proof is there for all to see on the Windsor native’s BlacktipH Fishing program, the most subscribed online saltwater fishing show in the world with over 184,000,000 views and 584,000 subscribers.
Josh’s fishing buddies are often family, friends, sports stars and celebrities, happy to share their adventures with online viewers.
Recently, Josh took three National Basketball Association players on the hunt for mahi and swordfish off the coast of Miami. Quincy Acy of the Brooklyn Nets, Dewayne Dedmon of the San Antonio Spurs and Ekpe Udoh, recently returned to the NBA, were stoked.
Minutes into the trip, Quincy, biceps straining, was hanging onto his rod and battling to reel in a sailfish. Looking on, Ekpe asked Josh, “Are there sharks in the water?”
“Oh, yeah, dude. These sailfish get eaten by sharks. You'll see the shark come jumping out of the water and try to eat it,” Josh told him.
“You just let go of the line?”
“No, man, you just keep rolling,” Josh advised.
Ekpe shook his head. “It would be your last fight. Not me. Not me.”
With Josh’s coaching, Quincy successfully landed the sailfish. Admitting to feeling tired, the athlete psyched himself up to go after mahi and swordfish next. “I’m a fighter," Quincy said. “I was scared of the [sailfish’s] little sword thing, though.... When you get on a boat, you never know.”
Moments later, Quincy's big fish was back in the water, swimming away. Josh’s catch and release policy preserves the fish. The anglers he guides are content to take home photos, video and bragging rights. Video of the NBA players’ BlacktipH Fishing trip also made ESPN.
Dewayne happily hooked a mahi, watching in fascination as it turned from blue to green.
While Josh prepared eel for bait, he told the basketball players, “Swordfish will eat anything. You drop down a squirrel, they’ll eat it!” Unfortunately, no swordfish appeared for dinner that day.
Useful information, interspersed with tips on technique and fun banter, makes BlacktipH Fishing highly watchable. Since he began uploading the fast-paced videos in 2006, Josh has travelled with his camera crew on hired boats to fishing spots in the salt waters off New Jersey, the Florida Panhandle, Texas, California and Montana. “I’m trying to fish all around the U.S.,” he says.
Whether angling for kingfish, cobia, snapper, grouper, tuna, ahi, permit, snook, tarpon and other monster fish, “my shows are all about entertainment,” says Josh. Back on land at his Florida studio, he enjoys the editing process and applying his science degree in web design and development from Full Sail University to create an engaging experience for viewers.
Watching the programs, the thrill for viewers and anglers alike is, as Quincy pointed out, the unpredictability of what will happen next.
One of Josh’s most memorable excursions occurred in August 2016, when he brought in a giant sawfish, about 18’ long. “It’s a very rare fish. That was the first time I ever saw one in the water,” he says. “I was very cautious around that animal – probably one of the scariest animals I ever handled. If he bites your leg, he’ll snap it in half. It’s game over. It was exciting to see and touch him.”
A sawfish is much different than the bass, muskie, pike and other fish Josh started catching at age three with his dad, Jack, on the Great Lakes.
“I like fish that are stronger and more powerful than me. It’s not just a physical battle, it’s also a mental battle. And a massive adrenalin rush,” says Josh. “When you’re literally hanging in the air with a fish on the end of the line, it’s exhilarating.”
“Everyone I’m taking out is addicted. It’s so much fun,” Josh reflects. “When I was out with Donald Trump Jr., he was reeling in an 80-pound shark and an 800-pound hammerhead tried to get his shark, 20’ or 30’ in front of us. It was unbelievable.”
Looking after guests, “I don’t put anyone at risk. I make sure everything is done with absolute caution,” Josh assures.
He takes bigger chances with his own wellbeing, however. “I’ve been pulled overboard by fish,” Josh says. “I’ve been bitten by sharks twice while removing the hook.” He has lost count of the number of times a monster fish has swum up and chomped an 80-pound fish off the line in one bite.
“The scariest thing for me is when a 12’ rogue wave breaks on the boat. It fills the whole boat with water.”
Josh’s love of extreme angling overrides his severe seasickness. “I take medication,” he says. Unlike many fellow fishing enthusiasts, “I personally don’t like to eat a lot of fish.”
His bucket list includes landing a 1000 blue marlin, a mako shark and a great white shark. “There are lots of fish in the ocean I haven’t caught yet,” says Josh, who hopes to secure the funding to drop his hook in the Indian and Pacific Oceans someday.
“The problem with those trips is they are very expensive. And there is no guarantee you’re going to catch fish,” he says.
As BlacktipH Fishing’s online presence increases, more sponsors are attracted and Josh is able to cast his net farther afield. Profiles on CNN, CBS, Shark Week and other media outlets have boosted exposure.
Revenues for the fulltime, year-round business are also earned through private fishing tours. “Anyone can fish with me for a fee,” Josh says. Requests are received at blacktiph.com.
In 2011, Josh made Florida his permanent home. He met his wife, Kaylin, in the sunshine state. Every couple of years or so, the couple visit Essex County, where the Jorgensen family still have fun fishing together. Josh looks forward to the day when he can teach his daughters, Abigail, 1, and Ella, 4 months, how to bait a hook. He has it all planned. “We’ll start off small, fishing for snapper.”
Photos from top to bottom: A Double Threat Charters mate, Quincy Acy, forward for the Brooklyn Nets and Josh proudly display the sailfish the NBA star caught; a shark, hooked on a line, gets a pat from Josh, who reassures the animal it will soon be released; Josh and Donald Trump Jr. show off the bass they landed.