That’s the number my cameraman sent me on my Facebook profile. Otherwise, in person, people keep calling to reach me! “Abdul Sami, 34, says with a chuckle. After he began a fishing channel, Abdul Sami Fishing, one and a half years ago, the Guntur native got used to the spotlight. It is now a source of income for Sami as well with over 1.5 lakh subscribers.
The vlogger fishing company is booming, with subscriptions reaching into millions of lakhs. Kerala, led by Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Goa, and Maharashtra, has the largest number of such vloggers.
The tremendous presence of Malayali is due to the numerous forms of water sources in the state, such as the sea, lakes, rivers, and ponds. This year after the lockout, the numbers have increased,” says Midhun Surendran of Kozhikode in Kerala, who runs Mallu Angler (101K subscribers) and is the manager of a group of fishing enthusiasts on Facebook.
As these vloggers fish from the beach and do inshore and offshore fishing, the material is varied and thrilling. They talk about technique, offer advice, and highlight features of the grab in addition to detailed coverage of the process.
Grouper, red snapper, rohu, catla, king cod, mangrove jack, barracuda, barramundi, stingray, various snakehead species, among others are the fish varieties usually included in the vlogs. Some vloggers illustrate the use of ingenious bait, made using rice bran powder, chicken intestine, maida paste, and even cauliflower, in addition to demonstrating typical fishing traps and speargun fishing.
By sharing summary footage, not just fishing methods, vloggers often show the gear/equipment used. “There weren’t many platforms in Malayalam to direct me through the process when I began vlogging in 2015. That’s why I’ve chosen to concentrate on gear. Today thanks to us vloggers, they’re minting money from fishing tackle stores,’ says Midhun.
These vloggers include members of the fishing community, such as Ungal Meenavan Mookaiyur (821K subscribers) by K Kingston of Ramanathapuram, Tamil Nadu, and Kadal Raasa-Fishing (173K subscribers) by D Gandhi of Puducherry, who make videos recording their day at sea.
“I couldn’t see a better choice than fishing when it came to making original content. So, I ventured out into the sea for the first time on my channel. Videos that star my dad get more clicks! There are also vloggers, however, who pay fishermen to take videos for their channels,” Gandhi says.
Sebin Cyriac, who has 1.34 million subscribers to his website, Fishing Freaks, says that presentation, consistency, and variety go into creating a good channel. “For me, it is a family thing. My videos also include my 85-year-old grandma, Rosamma Joseph, who introduced me to fishing, my parents, brothers and sisters, friends, neighbors, and their relatives.…. There were 24 of us in one episode as we traveled to Chellanam (in Kochi) the day after my elder brother’s marriage! Sebin says, who was all set to travel to Canada when his life was changed by vlogging.
Saiju Thomas (K&K Techs) has been operating a prawn farm (chemmeenkettu) in the Alappuzha district of Kerala for many years now and in his videos, he talks about rearing prawns and different aspects of farming. “Initially, I used to do videos related to technology. “But I turned to my vocation when I had fallen short of ideas,” says the 38-year-old.
Vloggers have been compelled to think differently by the existence of so many platforms. “Showcasing something different is critical. So I’m going on a three-month Dubai fishing trip to develop new content,’ says Bisher, who is back in Kozhikode from a four-day deep-sea fishing trip off the coast.
Unni George, a Malayali vlogger from Kumbalangi near Kochi, adds that in his videos he always searches for adventure. One of them depicts his experience with an Arapaima weighing 37 kilograms, a powerful hunter he had captured in an Angamalan quarry. The fish, though endemic to the Amazon, is grown in commercial farms in Kerala and during flash floods escaped to water bodies.
In the meantime, Maruthu Palanichamy (Konkan Fishing), a Tamil Nadu native of Kambam and now living in Bengaluru, gives his 15-year experience to his vlogs. He stands out since, including parts of Tamil Nadu, Goa and Karnataka, he flies around the coastline to fish. That is why it is in English on my channel. I even use inflatable boats for fishing expeditions, which in the angling community is not common,” he says.
Includes the amount received from product sales, the revenue of a vlogger will run into several lakh rupees. No better example exists than Unni. His vlog, created in 2018 by OMKV Fishing&Cooking, became the means of clearing his debts after kidney transplantation.
OMKV, Odu Meene Kandam Vazhi’s short form, is now my life! After the transplant, I couldn’t endanger my life by doing hard work. So I wanted to try my luck on YouTube and clicked on it,’ says Unni, 34. For his simple presenting style and his cooking posts, the vlogger, a toast of social media, has also made a video with famous food vlogger Mark Wiens.
Earn your way
After having 4,000 viewing hours and 1,000 followers, a vlogger will apply to YouTube for monetization. If the material is checked for accuracy, one may start earning money. The benefit depends, however on the number of views and not on the number of subscribers. It took 3 months for me to make 100 bucks. You get ~12,000-15,000 a month if the videos get one million views a month. If the video goes viral, the number goes up,” says Sebin. There are vloggers, including the amount received from product ads, who get as much as 15 lakhs a month.
A standard fishing gear combination pack costs around 1,500, which is not enough to capture all kinds of fish. Reels are priced at ~2,000 and up and cost ~75,000-80,000 for some high-end ones.
However, there is no assurance that you will get a perfect video per time, except with sophisticated gear. “Abdul Vajid of Tackle Tips explains, “The science behind fishing must also be understood especially as to how the moon, tides, temperature, wind… Fish movement is impaired. At the right time, one needs to be in the right position to use the proper technique. The secret is patience.’
Catch-and-release material is the subject of a limited number of vloggers. Specializing in Malabar snakehead (vaaha), a ‘vulnerable species on the IUCN Red List’ found only in Kerala, is Chennai-born Om Prakash, of ‘Om is fishing’ who works with a BPO in Bengaluru.
I fly to Kerala to catch a fish and I still release it unless it is critically injured. My aim is to raise knowledge about this species. Not even the angling world knows a lot about it. I’m now still working on cherumeen (Channa Psuedomarulius), a sub-species of the bullseye snakehead,’ says Om, 38.
The 27-year-old Ngurang Nega from Arunachal Pradesh is another crusader who raises awareness on his channel, Mahseer Fishing Arunachal Pradesh, about the golden mahseer, an endangered variety. “Even local residents aren’t aware of the need to protect the fish. So I fish for the mahseer, and before launching it, I show it to the viewers,’ Nega says.