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April 4, 2020

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Producer of popular fishing show also owns Woodland tackle shop

Producer of Angler West TV hopes to drum up local business

By , Columbian staff writer
2 Photos
Justin Wolff, (left), the host of Angler West TV, poses with a steelhead while the legendary fisherman Roland Martin looks on. Wolff's tackle shop in Woodland stocks products and gear used in episodes of his popular show. (Photo courtesy Angler West TV)
Justin Wolff, (left), the host of Angler West TV, poses with a steelhead while the legendary fisherman Roland Martin looks on. Wolff's tackle shop in Woodland stocks products and gear used in episodes of his popular show. (Photo courtesy Angler West TV) Photo Gallery

Angler West TV has the highest ratings and is the most watched fishing show in the west, but it seems few people know that Justin Wolff, the producer and videographer for the show, lives in Woodland, where he also owns a tackle store.

Wolff has produced the show since 2003 and has lived in Washington since moving here from California in 2008. Yet the store, located at 143 Davidson Ave., is visited more often by people who do not live nearby.

Wolff said that is because he is better known in his native state of California.

“The show airs everywhere, but California is where I started,” said Wolff. “I’m a lot better known in California than I am here.”

“I get a lot of people that come in from California,” he continued. “I get more people from outside the area coming in here. I’d like to change that.”

Wolff moved to the northwest in 2008 as part of a business deal that fell through.

However, he has emerged from the ordeal stronger financially and is now glad to reside in Woodland.

“All these years later I can look back and I am happy to be up here,” he said.

The store is stocked primarily with products by the companies that sponsor Angler West TV, and Wolff has chosen those sponsors because he has used their gear himself, and he knows that it is good. His hopes for the store aside, Wolff concedes that his website is more profitable.

“I started the website because people would watch the show and ask, ‘Where do I get that?’ ”

Now the website does a good business selling products featured on the show — products that he picked out personally.

The show grew out of a radio program named Angler West. Wolff started doing a video program tied to the radio show, and things took off from there.

While the show is his, he rarely appears in the fishing segments. Instead, he is behind the camera.

There are at least two reasons that he does not appear in the show, other than in short segments about the gear used in the episodes.

“One thing I didn’t like about a lot of shows is the ego thing,” Wolff said. “A lot of the shows I couldn’t stand watching.”

He did not like the self-congratulatory attitudes of many fishing show hosts, so he prefers not to be the one in the limelight. Instead, he lets those doing the fishing be the focus of the show.

He also enjoys the videography part of the process, which he said grew from his love of photography.

There is a financial element to it, too. If he had to pay a camera man and editor, the show would be less profitable.

“I’m one of the only fishing shows ever to make a profit,” he said. “Most fishing shows are failures financially. It’s very difficult to make a fishing show profitable.”

The show has been gratifying for Wolff for several reasons.

“The most gratifying part? I think it’s the responses from viewers,” he said. “When they see something and go out the next day and do it, and they let me know, they tried that technique.”

He is also happy to provide a service for those people that physically can’t fish themselves.

“A lot of my viewers that for some reason can’t go fishing themselves, that’s how they go fishing; they watch the show. I get a lot of that.”

He recognizes that it is difficult to keep a tackle store profitable, even when fishing is good. That has not been the case for salmon and steelhead locally these days, but he said the kokanee and trout fisheries near Woodland are popular. He carries a lot of gear for trout and kokanee.

In fact, Wolff was instrumental to bringing new kokanee techniques to the Northwest. He said kokanee fishing in California is more sophisticated.

The local kokanee anglers were still using big, clunky gears, including the old Ford fender flashers.

Now anglers use more finesse gear, including the Mac’s Lure’s Smile Blades. The store stocks everything an angler needs to fish for kokanee.

“I have more Mac’s Lures than anybody by far,” added Wolff. “I have produced a lot of kokanee shows. (Kokanee anglers) spend a lot of money. They are really serious about it.”

As Wolff looks to the future, he would like to expand his business locally.

“I’d like to move into Vancouver,” he said. “They do not have anything like this there.”

The store is only open half a day right now, from noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. If the store becomes more profitable, he will start keeping it open all day. Enter the store, and you will be greeted by Wolff’s personable retail manager, Charissa Shaner, who obviously enjoys interacting with the customers.

Backed by Wolff’s popular show, and by the quality of what the store offers, it is hard to imagine that his hopes for the future will not be realized.

Angler West TV

In the back of the store Wolff keeps a small studio where he shoots the show segments concerning the gear used in each episode.

For anglers interested in watching the show, it airs on the World Fishing Channel, and is listed in the schedule at:

The show is also available on YouTube, and carried by NBCS Sports, KWTV Willamette Valley TV, and other local affiliates. The show airs on Saturday and Sunday mornings, and at times during the week.

Angler West TV:

Angler West Woodland store: (360) 747-1093

Columbian staff writer