Woodland resident Justin Wolff is the owner of a fishing tackle shop called Angler West. What you may not know is that the shop is named after a TV show Wolff himself started in March 2003, which currently airs on the CW Network and NBC Sports California.
Growing up in Redding, California, Wolff would spend time fishing with his Uncle Hughie, who served as his biggest inspiration in the sport.
“Since I was little, fishing was just what you did,” Wolff said. “Growing up by the creek, I always had the ability to go fishing and have something to do.”
Wolff got his first jet boat at 16, then his first bass boat when he was 18 years old.
He turned his passion for fishing into something greater when he approached Michael Quinn at the radio station 1230 KLXR, which was an oldies station.
“He told me, ‘hey, let’s do a fishing report,’ so we started what turned into Angler West Radio,” Wolff said. “That developed into a nice little radio show, and then I fished with a guy named George Cooper (who owned KGEC-TV Channel 26 in Redding.) He encouraged me by getting me to play with video, where I started a public access TV version of the radio show which didn’t have any sponsors.”
As Wolff gained a following, NBC and CBS affiliates eventually picked up the show, which was the catalyst for the Angler West that exists today. Back when he started in 2003, Wolff said it was much harder to film, as everything was on tape and had to be carefully spliced in the editing process. These days, editing is done digitally, which is much easier to navigate. He can email his video files to the networks, but back then, he had to mail tapes to the networks through FedEx, which he said was a tedious process.
He moved to Woodland in 2008 and expanded the locations he films to the Pacific Northwest. Besides hosting the show, Wolff also films everything and serves as a one-man camera crew. Aside from the West Coast, Wolff has filmed in Alaska, Panama, Mexico, and even Guyana, which is his favorite. Before his death, Wolff’s Uncle Hughie appeared in several episodes of the show.
Despite having gone to exotic locations, when it comes to fishing for fun, Wolff prefers to fish in small rivers, as they bring him a sense of comfort.
Although fishing is more of a niche sport compared to football or baseball, Wolff says that according to the networks, Angler West has always been the highest rated outdoor show in the west.
“It’s very unusual for a fishing show to get ratings at all, but they told me I consistently get ratings,” he said.
While he acknowledges that Angler West is a small business, he knows the store has an interesting appeal.
“I can’t really compete with Walmart or Bass Pro Shops, but I can create a unique experience or opportunity that people can’t find in other places like that,” Wolff said. “The nice thing is there are plenty of people who want to support small businesses, so that’s cool.”
Wolff has finished filming 477 episodes. Angler West airs in Seattle at 6:30 a.m., Portland at 4:00 p.m., and 8:30 a.m. in California on Saturdays on CW 11.
Angler West is located at 143 Davidson Ave. in Woodland.
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