Josh Jorgensen’s Wildly Successful Fishing Experience Pits Celebs Against World’s Biggest Fish
Story by Ron Stang
Photography courtesy BlacktipH Fishing
It all started in the waters off Essex County and why not? To the uninitiated, places like Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River offer some of the best fishing in North America.
“I grew upon my whole life fishing on Lake St. Clair,” says Josh Jorgensen, the now 31-year-old Florida man who runs arguably the world’s top fishing and video experience business, store and website, BlacktipH Fishing.
Born in Windsor, the son of Windsor businessman Jack Jorgensen, Josh really can’t remember a time when he wasn’t well, hooked, on fishing.
“I’ve been fishing since I can first remember, literally, from three years old,” he said. “We lived on the water, so it just came naturally. I just became super obsessed with it.”
What did he catch? The bounty of the lake, like bass, muskie, walleye, carp, catfish. The lake is one of the best muskie and small bass fisheries. “I really don’t know how to explain it,” Josh, speaking from his current home in sun-drenched Palm Beach, says. Noting the thrill of the struggle and the accomplishment of a catch, he added “It’s part of me.” Growing up if he literally wasn’t in school, “I’d be fishing.”
Fast forward to age 13 and his family’s vacation house on Florida’s east coast. If young Josh thought the fishing was great on the Great Lakes, he struck gold in what has to be one of the world’s best fishing capitals. “And the rest is history,” he laughs.
Josh discovered a certain type of fishing—beach fishing. But not just for any fish—specifically for sharks. “And I became obsessed with catching sharks on the beach.” Sharks can swim close to land seeking prey. But Josh’s friends back in Windsor didn’t believe him. So, he started making YouTube videos. And that was the seed for what would become an enormously successful fishing experience, video and media company that would scour the world for great fishing and has since become host to hundreds of clients, many of celebrity status in the worlds of sports and entertainment.
And hence the business name. Blacktip is a kind of shark, the kind he used to fish on the beach. “I was known as the Blacktip Hunter,” he says. So, he abbreviated the two words into one “BlacktipH,” which became the company’s brand.
As a teen and in his Twenties, Josh broadened his fishing expertise to deep sea, inshore, surf and spear fishing, among many others. “I’ve caught pretty much every type of fish,” he says. And he found himself going after bigger and bigger species. To the point that the only ones he hasn’t caught so far are Black marlin, Dogtooth tuna and Giant trevally—“three of the biggest.”
Josh’s early YouTube videos were “extremely amateur,” he admits. But with brother Jake, who is based in Windsor and takes care of the e-commerce side of the business, they decided to create an adventure fishing and media company. As a computer web designer—he can code in nine languages—Josh relies largely on social media to advertise and attract clients. The brothers hired a full production team and have now recorded hundreds of videos of both Josh’s own fishing exploits around the world and those of his elite clients.
And he’s gone everywhere there’s great fishing: Costa Rica, Panama, Guatemala, Colombia, the Bahamas, up and down the east and west coasts, Mexico, Africa.
You can see dozens of the videos on the BlacktipH.com website or on YouTube and other platforms. They capture the challenge and exhilaration of fishing for some of the largest fish in the world, pitting humans against the beasts of the sea, much larger than the people catching them.
And, says Josh, that’s the point.
“I want to catch fish bigger than myself,” he says. “300 pounds are small, the bigger the better. For us a 500 pound fish is a nice fish. Our minimum goal is for everyone to catch a fish that weighs more than they do.” These giant species can be sharks, goliath groupers, tuna, marlin, sailfish.
How is it possible to catch such huge fish?
Josh says it’s all in the technique. “How you use your body weight against the fish’s weight is how you’re going to beat the fish — fish are so strong.”
Some of BlacktipH’s most entertaining videos feature celebrities.
Guest clients have included countless NHL, MLB and NFL players like Tampa Bay Lightning stars Nikita Kucherov and Andrei Vasilevskiy and football tight end Rob Gronkowski “Gronk.” Retired pro golfer Greg Norman caught a world record size Hammerhead shark, almost 15 feet and 1300 pounds. Clients have included Donald Trump Jr., professional boxer Jake Paul, Canadian arm-wrestling champ Devon Larratt and lots of internet stars. Many have had no prior fishing experience whatsoever.
In fact, watching the video with Larratt, fitness guru JujiMufu and world champion powerlifter Layne Norton, is to be impressed that even men of virtual steel can struggle to reel in the big ones.
Says Josh about one of his clients: “A professional bodybuilder, 5’10”, 290 lbs., solid muscle and the fish kicked his butt! We caught the fish, but he (the client) was dying. But he loved it. He said it was one of the hardest things he’s ever done in his life.”
In the videos, Josh is right there alongside the guest celebs, coaching and guiding them, making sure they position their bodies properly—often with laughs all around —as his clients go man to beast with these sea monsters. “I just love watching people catching their first big fish,” he says. “Feeding off their energies is amazing. To be able to catch that on video is incredible.”
How big are these big game, marine version? They’re so big they need 20 lb. fish as bait. “One of the comments we get a lot is people say that the fish we use for bait is ‘bigger than any fish I’ve caught in my life,’” Josh says.
BlacktipH recently surpassed one billion YouTube views and has billions more on virtually all social media platforms. But it doesn’t just do its own productions. It has worked with major television networks including the BBC, Discovery Channel, National Geographic, Animal Planet and MTV. “We’ve created lots of content for them,” Josh says.
How does Josh determine where to fish and catch the big ones? Josh works with a network of people who are constantly monitoring where the best fishing locations are.” It changes every week, every month, you’ve just got to follow the bite.”
And it can change on a dime. The day before our interview Josh was going to head to Ocean City MD to fish. Then he got a call and instantly rescheduled, flying instead to New York to catch Bluefin. “Because if there’s a hot bite we’re getting on the plane and flying!” he says.
Visit Josh’s website at BlacktipH.com.