THE BIG FISH: Local youngster records fishing show with national host

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Evan Walker, 12, New Palestine is a bigtime fisherman and got to film a show with national fisherman Chad Miles, the host of Kentucky Afield TV.

HANCOCK COUNTY — Exactly how many fishing poles Evan Walker owns is a little bit of a mystery.

“You know, I’m not sure how many I’ve got,” he said, with a laugh. “I’ve probably got more polls than I can count.”

One thing the 12-year-old fisherman is sure of though — he’ll never forget an adventure a few weeks ago when he went fishing with Kentucky Afield Television host and outdoorsman Chad Miles.

Should the day ever slip Evan’s mind, he’ll always be able to revisit the adventure thanks to a recording. Not only did Miles surprise Evan and take him out for a day of fishing on Nolin Lake in Kentucky, crews filmed the outing for Kentucky Afield TV. It’s a program sponsored by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources and the KET Public Broadcasting Service.

Kentucky Afield Television is the longest continuously running outdoors television show in the nation. The program first aired in 1953 and is now one of the nation’s oldest television shows still airing on any subject.

The day in the boat with Evan will be shown this weekend on channels throughout the United States. The show will then be available on YouTube and Google following an initial broadcast.

“I’ll probably watch it like 40 times,” Evan said.

An early release of a clip of the show with Miles surprising Evan has already collected over 3 million views on social media.

The day off fishing with Miles came about thanks to Evan’s father, Dan Walker, who met Miles a couple of years ago on Nolin Lake, a 5,795-acre body of water where the Walker family likes to vacation.

“Evan’s become such a big fisherman and has watched probably every show Chad has ever done, so I just asked Chad if he’d spend a little time with Evan maybe one day giving him a few tips on fishing, but he did a lot more than that,” Walker said.

Walker tricked his son and got him to the dock early one morning a few weeks ago, telling his son the bass were biting. Within a few minutes, Miles showed up in a boat and surprised Evan, asking him if he wanted to hang out and go fishing while they taped a show.

“When he first started coming towards me in his boat, I didn’t know who it was and I was kind of mad because I was fishing off the dock and I was like ‘does this guy not see what I’m doing here?’ But, then I realized who it was and I was so surprised,” Evan said.

For Miles, getting a chance to spend time on the water with a youngster who loves fishing and the outdoors as much as he does was a rare pleasure.

“We’ve only done a few surprise shows in my six years with Kentucky Afield, and this one with Evan was interesting because when I did meet him a few years ago, I learned he really loved to fish,” Miles said.

It didn’t take Miles long to realize Evan was a huge fan of the Kentucky Afield show.

“He knew more about some of our locations and what we were doing more than I did,” Miles said.

While there are many reasons Evan fell in love with fishing, including being a true outdoorsman who loves to catch and eat fish, the biggest reason Evan keeps fishing is the uncertainty of what’s going to show up on the other end of the line.

“It’s a surprise when you fish,” Evan said. “You never know what you’re going to get.”

While Walker was on the dock with his son and had already given permission for Miles to take Evan out to fish and be on the show, Walker said seeing the smile on Evan’s face when he realized he was going to go fishing with “Chad Miles” was priceless.

“Chad just has a special way with kids and he really made Evan feel at home,” Walker said.

Miles laughed when he recalled one of the first questions Evan asked when he got on the boat that day.

“Most people when they get on the boat with us, they want to goof around and maybe jump off the boat, but Evan goes and sits down and starts looking at my gear,” Miles said.

Evan asked questions about fishing lines, bait and fishing lures, something most 12-year-old kids aren’t really interested in.

“Evan is a good fisherman because he wants to be, and that was important because of the type of fishing we were doing where you have to pay attention to detail,” Miles said. “The smallest little changes can make a big difference when it comes to catching a fish and Evan gets that. He pays attention to those small details.”

When asked what the key to being a good fisherman is, Evan didn’t hesitate and said “patience.” Something most preteens may not have learned to master just yet.

“He’s a very patient fisherman,” Miles said.

While Evan said he loves the sport of fishing, it shares the stage with the seventh-grader who also plays football, basketball and baseball. Still, regardless how busy he gets with other sports and school work, Evan said he’ll always find time to fish even though he has no desire to become a professional fisherman.

“I don’t think I’ll make a living as a fisherman,” he said. “But, who knows?”

Certainly, a question Evan can’t answer just yet or until he purchases at least a few more dozen fishing poles.