Timmy Horton: Doing and Teaching the Art of Bass Fishing
There's an old saying that goes, "Those who can't do, teach." It implies that the legion of teachers in the world somehow fall short in their ability to achieve in the disciplines they teach.
Not only is it insulting, it's downright wrong.
Timmy Horton is walking, talking proof of that. Not only can Horton "do" — he won the 2000 Bassmaster Angler-of-the-Year title as a 27-year-old rookie, qualified for 11 Bassmaster Classics and won four B.A.S.S. events — but he's a highly skilled teacher as well.
With Timmy Horton Outdoors, he proves with every episode that quite often the most accomplished practitioners also make the very best teachers.
"About 10 years ago I started filming a show for Bass Pro Shops called The Bass Pros. Kevin VanDam, Edwin Evers, myself and others hosted various segments teaching different fishing tactics," Horton says. "I loved it!"
But it was all the positive feedback Horton received from fans around the country that gave him the confidence to keep going and to look for other opportunities on the airwaves.
"People really seemed to enjoy it. They told me they were taking what they learned on the program, putting it to use on the water and catching fish. It was a real compliment, and it got me fired up about what I was doing and how I was doing it."
Not only is Horton a great example of a doer who is also a talented teacher, he's savvy enough to take his experience from doing — tournament wins and high finishes from all around the country — and make himself a better teacher.
"I think my background as a professional angler gives me greater credibility with the audience," he says. "It's also given me a tremendous amount of experience under a lot of different conditions. I know that the advice I give and the techniques I teach are going to work in Alabama or New York or California. That's important because the audience for the World Fishing Network is so broad and diverse."
Horton has an undergraduate degree from the University of North Alabama and was prepared for a career in counseling if the tournament trail hadn't worked out so well. His education and natural rapport with people may make him seem like a natural, but he's had to work at it.
When he won Angler-of-the-Year, it was immediately apparent that he was ready for the fishing, but nothing could prepare him for the spotlight. Add to that the fact that he was a rookie with little experience as a pro angler, and there were some growing pains.
"I was quite literally shaking when I made my Angler-of-the-Year speech," he admits. "It was a nerve-racking moment, but I finally settled down after I made a joke and heard the audience laugh with me. I was OK after that and even managed to have a good time."
Since then, he's grown into the role and become comfortable with the spotlight. It's a natural extension of who he is and what he does, and he's taken his passion for teaching and turned it into the very core of Timmy Horton Outdoors.
"Before we film every episode of THO, my producer and I sit down and talk about the teaching. We try to map it out so we don't miss anything and present the lessons in the best way possible."
Horton loves catching fish and understands that fans and viewers enjoy watching big fish catches, but he feels it's critical to offer them something more. That's where his knack for teaching comes in. The catches are just a preview of what's to come if the viewer takes the tips to heart and puts them to work on his own waters.
Any host of a television fishing show can catch fish — big ones — if he only films on private waters laden with lunkers. That's why THO is filmed on public water — where anyone can fish.
"Ninety-nine percent of the audience's fishing is on public water," Horton notes. "That's why we only fish and film on public water. It's partly a credibility thing; I want to show that what we're doing and using will work in the 'real' world. It's also partly a legitimacy thing; I want to be out there with the audience on the same waters and under the same conditions that they face. That's the real testing ground."
In the end, Horton's fishing and teaching and the guiding principles of Timmy Horton Outdoors all converge on a major point in his life (and in his academic career as an aspiring counselor). He wants to give something back to others who care about fishing.
"When a viewer tells me that he caught a fish after watching the show and trying what I was teaching, I feel good inside. There's nothing else like it, and nothing other than teaching and giving back gives me that feeling. It's something special."
Editor’s Note: Please check the “Timmy Horton Outdoors” show page and the World Fishing Network TV schedule for air times.