Hey, Dave, Get a job!

Mercer: "I don't feel like I've ever had a real job."

Hey, Dave, Get a job!
Mercer is the Bill Dance of bass fishing in Canada and he's becoming increasingly recognized in the U.S. (James Overstreet photo)

When 40-year-old Dave Mercer says he's never had a "real job," it's hard to argue with him. Well, it's always difficult to argue with the high-energy, high-volume Mercer. In this case, there's not much to argue about. The facts of his life stand as proof.

Mercer hosts Outdoor Channel's "Facts of Fishing" show and serves as the emcee of Bassmaster Elite Series events, including the Bassmaster Classic.

And for Mercer, that's not work; it's the fulfillment of his childhood dreams.

"I've always had two loves – fishing and entertaining," Mercer said. "I don't feel like I've ever had a real job."



Click image to see photos of Dave Mercer fishing
Dave Mercer, Facts of Fishing



By all appearances, Mercer could be defined as one of the hardest-working men in the fishing world. He's the Bill Dance of bass fishing in Canada; it seems that everyone who fishes recognizes him there. Increasingly, Mercer has become a standout in the U.S. as well. He recently topped the 100,000 mark in followers of his Facebook page.

The examples of hard work include his physical appearance as well. Mercer once carried 330 pounds on his 6-foot frame; he now weighs 230.

Even as a kid, Mercer never had a "real job." When he was 13 years old, he won a local bass fishing tournament that came with a check for $400. Plus he started working as a fishing guide in the area near his hometown of Port Perry, Ontario, located about 45 miles northeast of Toronto.

"I made more money than everybody else at school that had a summer job," Mercer said. "I thought I was loaded."


When asked in an elementary school class what he wanted to be when he grew up, Mercer quickly answered that fishing was his goal. But the self-described class clown, couldn't define it more specifically than that. Being a big-time bass fishing tournament competitor was never part of his dream. So how do you make a living "fishing"?

"I didn't know what I was going to do exactly," said Mercer, who by the time he was 20 years old knew that tournament fishing was definitely out. "I loved tournament fishing, but I didn't like that lifestyle. I didn't want to live out of the back of my truck. And I didn't think I could beat Kevin VanDam, for example. You really have to have a special drive to do everything involved with tournament competition. That's why I have so much respect for those guys."

Mercer now lives on a lake near Barrie, Ontario, not far from where he grew up. He and his wife, Sarah, have known each other since they were in elementary school together. They have a 9-year-old daughter, Cadance, and a 7-year-old son, Jack.


Mercer, by all appearances, seems to be a lucky man, headlined by a happy family and two dream jobs. Particularly for his career, there were few, if any, role models for becoming the Bassmaster Elite Series emcee and hosting your own TV fishing show. He definitely chose the path less traveled by.

Mercer agrees that he's been lucky. But at the same time he believes in the theory that you make your own luck. Mercer can cite many examples in his life. His television career is the best. He had an idea for doing 60-second "Facts of Fishing" segments. When he was 21 years old, Mercer pitched the idea to public television stations in the Toronto area. One station manager gave Mercer a chance, which began with a "screen test." Mercer had no previous TV experience.

"I had no idea what a screen test was," Mercer said. "Basically, we launched the boat, and this guy says, 'OK, go.' I remember it like it was yesterday. I said, 'What do you mean go?' He said, 'Just tell me how fishing has been this year.' I rattled something off about how great it had been this year, and I was done."

The screen test went well enough for Mercer to get the go-ahead. The one-minute "Facts of Fishing" segments became increasingly popular in Canada. Eight years ago, they were assembled on a DVD that was sold only in Canada's Bass Pro Shops. It became their No. 1-selling DVD store-wide.

The following year – 2006 – "Facts of Fishing" morphed into a half-hour show. This year marks the second season for the show to be aired on Outdoor Channel.

Mercer's 100-pound weight-loss is another example of making your own luck. He'd always been a big guy, but through high school Mercer had always played sports, including football and baseball.

But, like a lot of us, exercise became less and less a part of his daily life as he got older. By the time he was in his early 30s, Mercer was a really big guy – 330 pounds-worth.

"Especially as a guy, it's easy to laugh that off," Mercer said. "I didn't have a moment where I looked at a picture and said, 'Oh, I'm too big.' And I never set a goal of losing 100 pounds. Basically, we all know what it takes to be fit. I just started doing what it takes."

The only goal Mercer set was waking up an hour earlier than usual and going for a walk. Then he started adding in 10-minute segments of jogging. Next he began examining his diet, but he never went on a strict, calorie-based diet.

"I just started cutting out the crap," Mercer said. "I started eating more whole foods."

Twenty-pounds into his eventual 100-pound weight loss, Mercer went into his local Subway Restaurant for lunch one day and an employee noticed that he'd dropped a few pounds. Mercer was asked if he'd like to participate in a weight-loss marketing campaign. As a result that chance-encounter, Subway became a major sponsor of his television show. It's a business arrangement that's now in its eighth year.

You decide: Is that luck, or making your own luck?

"It sounds like a cliché, but I love my life," Mercer said. "I have two dream jobs – hosting my own fishing show and emceeing the Bassmaster Elite Series, which to me is like being a comedian and dreaming of hosting The Tonight Show."

"Facts of Fishing" show page

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

13 Fishing Pathfinder Weedless Walking Bait

13 Fishing Pathfinder Weedless Walking Bait

Fresh off catching the biggest bass in ICAST Cup history, 13 Fishing pro Jessie Mizell shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead the new Big Squirm soft plastic worm and the company's unique Pathfinder topwater walking bait that is totally weedless in design.

New Spinning Reel for Finesse Fishermen

New Spinning Reel for Finesse Fishermen

As Pure Fishing's Andrew Upshaw explains, reel making giant Abu Garcia has done it again at ICAST 2019 with a new spinning reel geared towards finesse fishermen.

13 Fishing Inception SZ

13 Fishing Inception SZ

Florida angling pro Jessie Mizell knows that the saltwater found in Sunshine State coastal fisheries can wreak havoc on even the best fishing gear. But with 13 Fishing's new feature laden Inception SZ saltwater baitcasting reel, tackling inshore and light tackle saltwater game fish just got a whole lot easier!

Lowrance Enters Trolling-Motor Market with Ghost

Lowrance Enters Trolling-Motor Market with Ghost

Lowrance's Lucas Steward shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead what all of the fuss is about in the brand new Ghost trolling motor being brought to market by the Tulsa, Okla.-based fishing equipment manufacturer.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Experts agree record channel cat caught in 1949 was actually a blue catfish. Records

Upon Further Review: 70-Year-Old Catfish Record Voided

G&F Online Staff - May 22, 2019

Experts agree record channel cat caught in 1949 was actually a blue catfish.

While catfish are still catfish, the difference between day and night tactics and strategies can be profound, even when fishing the same lake or river. Catfish

How to Catch Catfish Day and Night

Terry Madewell - April 04, 2018

While catfish are still catfish, the difference between day and night tactics and strategies...

Unless you live in Antarctica, the only continent they aren't known to inhabit, there is a species Catfish

10 Biggest Catfish World Records of All Time

Jack Vitek - December 08, 2014

Unless you live in Antarctica, the only continent they aren't known to inhabit, there is a...

When it comes to fishing baits, you won't find a more unusual variety than the strange brews of smelly ingredients often used to catch catfish. Catfish

How To Make Your Own Catfish Dough Bait

Keith Sutton - August 04, 2015

When it comes to fishing baits, you won't find a more unusual variety than the strange brews...

See More Trending Articles

More News

On this National Day of Mourning after the passing of George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st President of the United States, sportsmen look back at his outdoors legacy. News

Outdoors World Mourns Loss of President George H.W. Bush

Lynn Burkhead - December 05, 2018

On this National Day of Mourning after the passing of George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st...

We reviewed these new boats that stand out for value, reliability and made-for-fishing action. Boats

Great New Fishing Boats for Southern Comfort

G&F Editors - February 21, 2019

We reviewed these new boats that stand out for value, reliability and made-for-fishing action.

‘Great Red Snapper Count' includes angler incentives to report tagged fish. News

Gulf Red Snapper Could Be Worth $500 Each

G&F Online Staff - June 05, 2019

‘Great Red Snapper Count' includes angler incentives to report tagged fish.

8 state fishing records have been broken this year in the Old Line State. Records

Maryland Record Gray Triggerfish Caught

G&F Online Staff - November 04, 2019

8 state fishing records have been broken this year in the Old Line State.

See More News

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.