Local anglers have plenty to show for their efforts

For the past nine months, David Mills has been living out his dream.

He’s done a little fishing, done a little traveling and he’s done it all with his good friend Willie Toth.

And each and every second has been captured for prosperity.

And the best part is all of it — well some of it, anyway — is being shared with the local masses.

That’s the basic concept behind Northwest Outdoors, a locally produced television show that airs monthly on BKAT, the Kitsap County public access channel based in Bremerton

The show is the brainchild of Mills, a 61-year native of Western Washington, and Toth, a transplant six years removed from California. The two have teamed to give the Kitsap Peninsula its only local outdoors TV show, relying on their own downhome personalities and dollars to deliver a unique taste of what this area has to offer.

“(I told Willie), all my life I’ve wanted to have an outdoor show,” Mills said. “I told him about all these great hunting and fishing shows on TV and I’ve always wanted to do one. And Willie said, ‘Hey, let’s give it a try.’ ”

And since April, they have gone fishing throughout not only Western Washington, but Canada and Montana in search of fishing footage and have produced shows from each of their excursions.

The pair has an extensive background in the great outdoors in general and fishing in particular. Toth worked as a commercial fisherman for many years before moving to Washington, while Mills knows the ins and outs of virtually every fishing spot within the area.

A chance meeting at Bay Street Outfitters, a supply store in Port Orchard owned and operated by Mills’ son Derek, seemed simple enough at the time. But the pair ran into each other again while fishing at Point No Point on the peninsula’s northern tip and the discussion of doing something to promote fishing in the area was born.

“It was going to be a weekly fishing report,” Toth explained, “and then it metamorphosed into us doing this show.”

It began with Toth, who has produced music videos out of his home studio, putting together an advertisement for Bay Street Outfitters. It was to be a simple, one-time job but grew into doing a full-blown 28-minute show with all the bells and whistles the two could muster.

And Mills and Toth do it all themselves.

From planning just where to go and filming all the footage themselves to setting up the cameras and lights they use to shoot the in-studio shoots where they introduce and discuss the footage that’s about to be seen and everything in between, Toth and Mills do it all.

That also includes anywhere from 40 to 60 hours of video editing Toth does by himself on a specially built computer in his home. He composes and performs the music heard on the show, and everything is well planned out and done to perfection.

The only element that isn’t carefully scripted is the on-air rapport between the two — that is all spontaneous and gives the show its down-home appeal.

“This is something that we wanted to do, and we wanted to be the guys on camera,” Mills said. “We enjoy fishing and I think that comes though on the show. We’re not acting; we’re actually fishing and enjoying ourselves.”

Both Mills and Toth hope this is just the beginning for them and the show. Plans are already in the works to create 12 episodes next year, including a special four-part series that will most likely air beginning in September.

The only drawback to producing the show is the out-of-pocket cost both are experiencing.

Toth has spent countless dollars on computers, cameras and lights, while both must foot the bill for travel, accommodations and fuel to carry and operate the boats for days on end.

While they are looking into alternative ways of paying for the show — such as gaining a tax exemption as a nonprofit organization or securing government grants for producing informative shows that teach about wildlife and the environment — the show will go on.

Mills said they’ve come too far and put in too much work to stop now.

“Our goal was to make this a community-based, fun thing that all members of the family could enjoy,” Toth said. “And that’s what we’ve accomplished. When you watch our show, you’ll want to go fishing, because it’s fun.”

Northwest Outdoors airs every Thursday evening at 7 p.m. on Wavecable channel 13 in Port Orchard and Comcast channel 12 in Bremerton. The show can also been seen in Bainbridge and Port Townsend.

New episodes air on the first and third Thursday of each month with the previous month’s episode airing the second and fourth weeks.

Shows are rotated in and out each month, keeping the show fresh and timely.

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