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Landing the big one

Elmira’s Kyle Uttley is a fishing fanatic.

“I wouldn’t want to say he’s obsessed, because it’s not an illness or anything,” said his father Steve with a laugh.

“But he is very … passionate.”

A member of the K-W Cambridge Bass Masters Club, Uttley subscribes to six different fishing magazines, he watches the World Fishing Network any chance he gets and his bookshelves are piled high with instructional fishing DVDs. He has been known to get up at two or three in the morning to get a start on a long day of fishing.

“I have been fishing basically since I could stand,” admitted Uttley, who is now 17.

So when the opportunity arose to meet and go on a fishing trip with his fishing idol Dave Mercer, Uttley jumped at the chance. Mercer is a Canadian professional angler and the host of Uttley’s favourite television show, Facts of Fishing.

Recently, Mercer reached a milestone of 20,000 Facebook fans and to commemorate, launched a contest in which one lucky fan would be able to join him on a fishing trip.

After an unabashed and musical declaration of his love for fishing and Mercer specifically, EDSS senior Uttley is that lucky fan.

He first heard about the competition when he logged into his email account one morning before he began his workday at the Laurel Creek Nature Centre.

JUST ADD WATER ... Anywhere there’s water is a good enough place for Kyle Uttley to go fishing, even in his family’s bathtub. His fanaticism has won him the chance to go fishing with his idol, Canadian angler Dave Mercer.

“I had an email in my inbox about the contest,” he explained. “The Facebook fan who posted the most convincing comment, photo or video – the craziest, most off-the-wall entry – would win.”

With only a day to come up with an entry before he was to head to the cottage where he would have no Internet access, Uttley desperately wracked his brain to come up with an idea. The inspiration for his video came from a coworker at Laurel Creek who, like Uttley, plays the guitar and suggested he write a song.

“I sat down and I started playing a tune and I thought to myself, ‘This isn’t too bad … this is pretty good!”

What came of the session was Uttley’s two-minute music video which outlines the extent of his enthusiasm and fishing experience.

“Take me fishing Dave Mercer. My fishing addiction couldn’t get worser,” warbled Uttley in the video that has now been viewed more than 500 times on Youtube. Included in his entry were photos of himself fishing and of his collection of Dave Mercer memorabilia.

Among hundreds of other entries which included professional fishers, young children and even a solider home from war, Kyle’s video caught the attention of Mercer himself and a number of other group members who wrote positive comments and cast their votes for Uttley.

“There were so many great comments, pictures and videos that we could not decide who to pick,” wrote Mercer on his website. “So, we took a poll with our staff and a few sponsors and the winner was unanimous. This person’s entry was one of the most creative that we saw and they sure put a lot of work into it.”

Until he saw his name on the Facts of Fishing website, Uttley couldn’t believe that he had actually won.

“He was running around in circles when he found out,” said his dad. “He didn’t know whether he was coming or going. It was quite comical.”

His hard work paid off for him and come spring, Uttley will be boarding a fishing boat and riding off into the sunrise and dropping his lure into the water next to his idol, a day he can’t wait to arrive.

“I love how with fishing you can release what you catch, so you can enjoy it again and again,” he said of his passion. “I don’t even really care what we fish for. As long as I am going fishing with him, that’s all that really matters.”

A little more local for your inbox.

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