On the Hook: Glen Pla – Catching up with the mastermind of Average Angler Adventures

Catching up with the mastermind of Average Angler Adventures

We jumped at the chance to sit down with 'Average Angler' Glen Pla.
We jumped at the chance to sit down with ‘Average Angler’ Glen Pla as his show on the Bright House Networks exploring Florida’s fishing potential approaches Episode No. 300.

BY BOB BRAMBLET

KAYAKFISHMAG.COM: Your show, Average Angler Adventures, is approaching its 15-year mark. What would you say is the reason for the show’s success, and how do you keep things fresh?
I think the show has remained unpredictable with its content so that the viewer stays interested. We are always looking for new angles even when catching the same species. Our spin on things could be history related, comic plotlines or journeys through less traveled terrains. A lot of our episodes are strung together with themes so we can create mini-series like our five-part Panfish Expedition last year that had us trying to find and catch every member of the sunfish family across the peninsula.

You use kayaks in many episodes. What is your main motivator to use them and how do you pick one?
Kayaks have always been a great mode of transportation for us to represent the old Florida out there and it is financially more attainable for a lot of our viewers than a flats or bay boat. Years ago we switched to electric to make it easier on the camera person and to cover great distances. Ocean Kayak’s Torque has been the most reliable and easily maneuverable in tight mangrove areas.

What is the biggest fish you have caught on a kayak, on or off camera?
A seven-foot sandbar shark towed me around in the Tampa Bay channel for about 45 minutes till I got a handle on her for an episode called ‘Shark Alley.’ Our safe boat had motor issues so I was virtually on my own with that fish in deep water. I’ve caught big black drum off the Yankeetown marshes that also tested my kayak mettle as well for a couple of episodes.

Where is the most interesting place you have fished, and why?
My favorite place is Ozello because of the vast marsh beauty, but I find merit in every place and type of terrain I visit. I love Jacksonville bayous because of the southern flounder found there. Tampa Bay’s varied environment from barrier islands for redfish schools to upper bay mangrove creeks at night hunting down large winter-time trout. The panhandle I always enjoy because of the huge areas of wild protected land, and I’m just now getting my feet wet in the majestic ‘glades where my father and I used to snake-hunt when I was a kid. With the show, I’m really trying to cover Florida’s rivers and backcountry more as I think freshwater fishing here is way under-appreciated.

Do you have any plans to syndicate or take the show to a larger demographic?
That is up to Bright House, Average Angler is exclusive to them and they have allowed this amazing experience for me to happen. We will hit our 300th episode next year and it’s been quite a ride so far.

Pla, comfortable behind the camera in his fish 'yak.
Pla, comfortable behind the camera in his fish ‘yak.

In many of your episodes you like to bring a historic element into the story. Why do you think that’s important?
I’m a third generation native Floridian and with this opportunity through television I felt it’s my duty to keep our diverse history alive and for a lot of folks who now make the state their home it’s a new discovery for them.

While we fished today, you caught your first oscar. How many different species of fish do you think you have caught in your lifetime?
I’ve caught most of the salt species around Florida though a couple still elude me. In recent years I have concentrated quite a bit on the freshwater fish including the exotics. Florida has been my main angling grounds but one day I’ll venture out into Central American waters.

What is your favorite species to target?
It fluctuates through the year depending on the season; in spring I’m a redfish and snook fanatic, in fall I go gaga over flounder. In the dead of winter, give me the convict fish and nighttime gator trout. Summer, tarpon and snapper with a dose of panfish as well.

Who has been the most interesting person you have ever fished with, on or off camera?
My 9-year-old son Raja because his world has just begun and it’s a wonderful experience when we have one on one time together which fishing brings us.

What is the most interesting thing about Glen Pla that everyone should know?
As a TV show personality, I’m always looking for that next adventure to share with the audience. I will peek around every hidden mangrove corner or distant bend in a wild creek to bring the folks the best 30 minutes on Florida fishing I can. I’m steadfast dedicated to the art of preserving this state’s heritage and unique environment.

Interview by Bob Bramblet. Read more of Bramblet’s On the Hook interview series with celebrities who kayak fish, or try it for the first time, catching up with kayak fish broadcast personality Cefus McRae and former MLB relief pitcher Willie Eyre