Skip to main content

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

Action and Power Ratings- How to Choose the Right Bass Rod

Action and Power Ratings- How to Choose the Right Bass Rod

Most fishing rods feature both an action and a power rating, but what do those ratings mean and how do you use them to select the right rod for different scenarios? In this video, outdoor writer and tackle specialist Shane Beilue breaks down the difference between a rod blank’s action and power and discusses what the various ratings of each mean.

Catch More Bass on a Jerkbait in the Cooler Months

Catch More Bass on a Jerkbait in the Cooler Months

This one simple trick will trigger more bass strikes on a jerkbait during the fall months.

Hobie MirageDrive 360 Kayak Propulsion: Amazing Control and Power

Hobie MirageDrive 360 Kayak Propulsion: Amazing Control and Power

The Hobie MirageDrive 360 pedal propulsion system is the pinnacle of kayak control with more efficient fin designs, glide technology and allows the boat to be moved in any direction.

Understanding Reel Retrieve Ratios and How it Affects Lure Presentations

Understanding Reel Retrieve Ratios and How it Affects Lure Presentations

Increase a lure’s effectiveness by pairing it with the ideal reel speed.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

We found 10 secret (and proven) catfish baits that have the staying power to attract catfish time after time.10 Secret Catfish Baits You Didn't Know About Catfish

10 Secret Catfish Baits You Didn't Know About

Anietra Hamper

We found 10 secret (and proven) catfish baits that have the staying power to attract catfish...

Make this venison chorizo recipe and cook it right away or freeze it (cooked or raw) and use it as needed.Venison Chorizo Recipe Wild Game

Venison Chorizo Recipe

Allie Doran - October 30, 2020

Make this venison chorizo recipe and cook it right away or freeze it (cooked or raw) and use...

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. How To Make Your Own Catfish Dough Bait 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...

It may be 125 years old, but the .30-30 Winchester retains its status thanks to modern loads.Turning .30-30; It's Better Than Ever Ammo

Turning .30-30; It's Better Than Ever

Richard Mann - October 27, 2020

It may be 125 years old, but the .30-30 Winchester retains its status thanks to modern loads.

See More Trending Articles

More News

After a huge ‘gill caught by a kid in Okla. goes viral, we take a look at the biggest of the diminutive species.The Story of Record (and Near-Record) Bluegills Panfish

The Story of Record (and Near-Record) Bluegills

Lynn Burkhead - August 12, 2020

After a huge ‘gill caught by a kid in Okla. goes viral, we take a look at the biggest of the...

Listed as endangered just half a century ago, the American alligator now thrives across the South and represents one of our great conservation success stories.Once Endangered, the American Alligator Survived Potential Disaster Thanks to Conservation Efforts News

Once Endangered, the American Alligator Survived Potential Disaster Thanks to Conservation Efforts

Carolee Anita Boyles - September 21, 2020

Listed as endangered just half a century ago, the American alligator now thrives across the...

It's the first record blue certified over 100 pounds in the Peach State.Monster Blue Catfish Smashes Georgia Record Records

Monster Blue Catfish Smashes Georgia Record

Game & Fish Staff - October 20, 2020

It's the first record blue certified over 100 pounds in the Peach State.

The move is described as the largest expansion of hunt-fish opportunities in U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service history.Trump Admin Opens 2.3 Million New Acres to Hunting & Fishing Conservation & Politics

Trump Admin Opens 2.3 Million New Acres to Hunting & Fishing

Lynn Burkhead - August 19, 2020

The move is described as the largest expansion of hunt-fish opportunities in U.S. Fish and...

See More News

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

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

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now