I was always amazed watching a man named Ted Peck who had one of the pioneering fishing shows in the 1960. He was doing what I loved, fishing. He showed different aspects of fishing, from salt water to fresh water, and trying out new techniques and new tackle.
As I grew older my love for fishing grew immensely. I would love to have my own show, or be one of these special people called pro staff, and to be a representative of a company that would share the same values of spreading the knowledge to the common fisher person. I wanted to be a representative that is not governed by political views, popularity, advertisement, and monetary gain, but to always be honest. I realized later that pro staff were often professional guides; individuals that have their own television shows, or consistent winners of large fishing tournaments. Many others had personal contacts with influential people. None of these elements were in my portfolio. What I was I? ... I was the common fisherman with lots of experience just like the everyday fisher person.
I gained more experiences with lakes, small streams, big rivers, sloughs, reservoirs, and ocean beaches. The consistent pattern was that I was catching a lot of fish. By the time I was 35 - I had a large volume of knowledge that I wouldn't think of sharing with others. Why should I? After all nobody ever gave me a break; I learned how to fish the hard way. Yet, what was the meaning of all that saved knowledge if I couldn't share what I loved doing the most in fishing, with others?
Twenty-three years ago I bought a pair of breathable waders that leaked the first day. I sent them back to the company with a disclosed full review on the waders. That company loved my notes and so began my love of reviewing products.
During the next three years I wound up with a number of wader samples from that company to review under many different conditions. That opportunity would last until economics became an issue and the company shut down their local production facility.
I didn't realize how much I loved doing these reviews and my interest to become a product field tester haunted me for numerous years.
I thought that had become a purist, a snob ...
I had great knowledge, but I was unwilling to share what I knew with other anglers. Then came the home computer area. With the development of the internet and the various open forum websites for many categories, which included fishing and outdoors equipment.
These new exciting open web sites welcomed individuals to share in their experience. I wanted to renew my steelhead knowledge that I had gained in the 70’s and 80’s in British Columbia while fishing the Squamish River, the Vedder River and the Chilliwack River. I mentioned this on a fishing forum, and this individual, Matt Stabler, who new nothing of me, opened his heart and welcomed me. Matt invited me to join him on one of his adventures on the Stamp River system. He helped me so much that we became very close friends. Matt changed my views and I wanted to be a mentor also in helping others.
With the openness of forums like FishTactics, Fishbc, and K4u.ca,I changed my direction.
Thus began my new journey, and my way to share successful outings, and to review products on my own level, and with no prejudices. The new journey has been sharing with others, and to help other individuals grow within the industry I loved. A few fishermen were upset that I post and shared the secrets of success, but that is their problem. I was no longer a member of their purist club.
As I grew, and the popularity of my posting grew, I met an angler named Robert Van Pelt from Pacific Net and Twine. Robert has the same philosophy and personality as myself, and had a belief in my postings. He needed a pro staff for Amundson Outdoors that had the same ideas as his own. He offered me the pro staff position and wanted me to review some products. I agreed to do so and Robert and Amundson Outdoors wasn't disappointed.
My grade in English was poor. I wanted to write articles and share, but lacked the magic others had with words and grammar. I struggled many times until I met an Author, Ian Forbes, and a publisher, Larry Stefanyk from Fisherman Island Magazine . I had an idea of two articles called '' Another Addiction'' and another called ''Beach Fishing on East Vancouver Island”. With their assistance, and well over 10 re-writes, I finally had the articles to a level of acceptance for publication.
I disagreed that fly-fishing was the only way to catch salmon on our local beaches. Many laughed when I brought out my old Mitchell 12 foot noodle rod and a spinning reel loaded with 6-pound line, a split shot and a small rainbow Rapalla.
The salmon were about 20 feet further away from any fly fisherman's best cast, and most anglers had come out of the water to sit on beach logs in hopes that the salmon would come closer. All anglers, that is, except for me. There was no laughing when I returned with 2 very large hatchery Coho salmon.
On subsequent trips my success improved and my catch rate exploded when bringing both fly rods and spinning gear. I also found a new, Raven 13.5-foot ultra-lite beach rod that proved to be very successful on the beaches. Unfortunately, the Raven Company decided to discontinue that particular rod.
Then, another door opened, and through Robert once again, I became part of a rod development team for a company from the ground floor, developing a new light tackle, long spinning rod specifically for beaches. River Creek rods could see the great opportunity and value in this venture and they decided to take advantage of my willingness to share the knowledge that I had gain throughout my lifetime. With my time in helping to develop this rod I was honored that they offered me a chance to name the rod and to have my signature on it.
Who was I now? What Had I become?
I guess you can call me a hard-core non-pro. Willing to help those who are willing to help themselves. I will fish to whatever the circumstance require. Weather I fly fish or gear fish I hold no prejudices to anyone as long as its with ethics. When I do a review its with honesty and without prejudice.
I am 61 years old and happy to finally become a pro staff field tester for various companies.
Gil d’Oliveira .......... Web Domain........ Castingaline.com
Amundson Outdoors Pro Staff
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