- Associated Press - Sunday, October 30, 2016

CARTERVILLE, Ill. (AP) - Dylan Fuqua of Carterville loves to fish. He really, really loves to fish.

Fuqua, the son of Vincent Fuqua and Beth Griffith, is so captivated by the sport he has his own YouTube channel, Fishing With Fuqua. And, he recently purchased a bait shop - not bad for a seventh grader.

While it’s tempting to write off Fuqua as an idealistic 12-year-old, he earned some credibility during the Southern Illinois Celebration of National Hunting and Fishing Days, winning the King Catfish Tournament.

Fuqua weighed in a 22-pound channel catfish caught in the Rend Lake spillway. It was the first time he had entered the tournament.

“I didn’t think it would win,” he said. “I thought someone would do some jugging or some trot-lining and catch a big one.”

Fuqua tells the story in one of the 25-30 videos available on his YouTube channel.

“I started thinking about making videos because I watch other peoples’ videos on YouTube,” he said. “I thought, since they’re making videos, why can’t I? So, I asked my dad for a camera for my birthday.

“He got me one and we went out and started making videos. All of sudden here started coming my subscribers. I thought that’s pretty cool, look how many people are watching my videos.”

Currently there are more than 100 subscribers to the channel.

“We got so many (subscribers), so quick,” Fuqua said. “That’s awesome.”

But, the Carterville Junior High student initially had an ulterior motive for taping his adventures.

“We’d go on big ol’ trips we’d catch tons of fish, and big ones,” he said. “I started telling my friends at school and they wouldn’t believe me, and so, I was like, I’ll prove these guys wrong.”

The videos vary in length to less than a minute, to more than 30 minutes. They depict everything from casting a bait into a distant tree, to fishing from a waterfall. And, they’ve even had “Fishing with Fuqua” T-shirts made for Dylan to war on screen.

“I kind of just go to some fun places, some new places and try to catch some fish on video,” Fuqua said. “I try to make the coolest videos I can. Sometimes I do reviews, or try to catch the biggest fish I can. I just try to be myself and catch some fish.

“We were at Jackson Falls on that one (fishing from waterfalls). My dad’s friend was down and she was camping. I had my pole in the car and I was like, ‘Hey dad, can I throw it off here real quick?’ He said not to fall off. I started catching fish and it turned into a video.”

Father and son collaborate on ideas for future videos. They try to produce one or two videos a week. The elder Fuqua does the camera work and the editing. His son is the talent.

“Dad does a lot of the editing,” the younger Fuqua said. “I help out, but I just catch the fish.”

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Source: The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan, https://bit.ly/2em6XMa

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Information from: Southern Illinoisan, https://www.southernillinoisan.com


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