An angler with Kansas ties and a strong social media presence is doing his part — and then some — this October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Manhattan native Ethan Dhuyvetter, better known by his YouTube handle, Online Outdoorsman, has raised more than a thousand dollars for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation through an online fundraiser — eclipsing his original one-month goal of $750 in just six hours and blowing past his $535 total raised last year. After breaking his original goal, he moved the target to $1,000, which was topped again earlier this week. Dhuyvetter has also been donning pink during his YouTube videos and other social media posts in support of raising awareness for the cause.
“I started it last year when I was trying to think of how I could give back to something bigger than fishing,” Dhuyvetter said. “I stumbled upon a pink buzzbait I had (actually made this back in high school), and decided it would be a fun challenge.
“Last year, we raised $535 so I assumed $750 would be a fair challenge. Six hours later, I was calling my mom and freaking out. That is one of the best parts of online communities — seeing us come together for good. Lots of negativity on the Internet, but I’d argue there is more positivity and we tend not to pay as much attention to it.”
Dhuyvetter, who now lives in Grand Rapids, Mich., was a member of the Kansas State University Bass Fishing Team from 2011 to 2015, and fished in both the FLW and BASS college national championships.
Now a Michigan resident, he can often be seen fishing from his kayak in one of the state’s many lakes, though he occasionally will make treks back to Kansas or to other states to fish. He said his new home waters offer a wealth of diversity that he never had in Kansas.
“It’s very different as the state has a much more diverse set of fish,” Dhuyvetter said of Michigan. “Due to the sheer amount of water (thousands of lakes and the Great Lakes), there is a lot of fish anglers can target. I’m addicted to bass fishing, but finding that I can branch out to nearly anything if I’d like. The waters I’ve experienced tend to be clear and vegetation-rich.”
He’s cultivated a large following on YouTube, with more than 5.63 thousand followers to his credit, and has referenced his time at K-State frequently in his videos. One of those references includes his K-State fishing jersey, which hangs in the background in his past “5-Minute Fish Talk” video series, during which he would sit down at a table and discuss a variety of topics surrounding the fishing community.
He’s done videos featuring such big names as YouTube fishing superstars The Googan Squad, two-time national-champion K-State bass angler Kyle Alsop and Kansas-based professional bass angler Brent Chapman — well, his garage anyway. He also posted an interview with legendary angler and outdoors writer Ned Kehde — a Lawrence resident — that accumulated more than 100,000 views and is a must-watch for those wanting to learn how to use his namesake fishing lure, the Ned rig.
“I was quite impressed with his ability to be a fisherman and to think about fishing and his prospective ability to fish a variety of ways,” Kehde said about Dhuyvetter, who he met during Dhuyvetter’s junior year at K-State. “He was quite a charming character, too, at the same time, and it just made me realize how fishermen are becoming so much better at an earlier age.
“Hey, I’m an old man — I’m 79, almost 80 years old — and so most of the people I fish with now are old guys or my grandkids. I hadn’t ever been associated with — until I met Ethan — anybody who was part of the college fishing scene. So I was quite impressed with his ability. He kind of introduced me to some of the guys at the K-State club, and (now) I’m friends with a few of them.”
Though he’s had the chance to meet a ton of influential anglers through his channel, Dhuyvetter said he had a hard time pinning down a favorite guest on his channel.
“I can’t necessarily say a ‘favorite’ because the videos I did with Ned Kehde and Brent Chapman were ages ago before I made a lot of content,” Dhuyvetter said. “For that reason, I have to say that working with Kyle Alsop was amazing because he’s a college friend and I love to keep up with friends.”
For those younger anglers out there who would like to fish in college some day, Dhuyvetter had some sage advice: Just go for it!
“The biggest barrier is generally the boat,” Dhuyvetter said. “I fished as a ‘nonboater’ with a partner the first two years, then had a boat the second two. The point is, you don’t necessarily need a boat, but you do need the ability to come out of your shell a bit to network with others who do.”
As far as those with grander designs, such as fishing professionally, he said he couldn’t really give much advice as he is “nowhere near that level and never will be.”
“But I will speak to creating content, which is another form of making income from the sport,” said Dhuyvetter, who majored in marketing at K-State. “If you genuinely like putting yourself out there and enjoy playing with videos, audio (podcasts), photography, or anything else, my advice is always to go for it. We all have a unique voice and the world we live in allows for that voice to be heard. Do it because you’re passionate about it, and you will not regret it.”
Though he’s got a life and a career in Michigan, where he works in sales for a large food company, the Riley County High School product said his heart remains in Kansas for a variety of reasons, none more so than his family.
“I’ll be back in Kansas annually forever,” Dhuyvetter said. “My parents are in Manhattan and I love visiting them. I always bring a light fishing rod with a goal of sneaking out for some pond bass or bluegill. I’d love to get back and set up a day to hit some of my favorite lakes such as Tuttle, Milford, Melvern or Wilson.”
DOUBLE THE FUN
Topeka baseball icon Ken Berry and his friend, Allen Joy, had a once-in-a-lifetime moment out on the water recently.
The pair were out in a two-man boat fishing in a 15-acre pond north of Topeka. Berry said they were getting ready to quit for the day because the sun was just about to set, when Joy said he wanted to make a few more casts.
“He threw it out — it’s an old rock quarry — in about 20 foot of water,” Berry said. “I said, ‘Well, good luck out there, I’m gonna stay along the shore.’ ”
Both anglers were fishing with Whopper Ploppers, with Joy throwing a larger version and Berry throwing a "regular-sized" one.
“I heard this enormous crash and I looked and the fish came up, and it looked like it was close to four feet long, and I thought, ‘Man, that’s gotta be a grass carp, there’s no bass that long,’ ” Berry said. “So the fish went back down again, and the water’s pretty clear, but it stayed down. He fought it maybe four, five minutes and then pretty soon it came over close to the boat and it started to come up.”
What they saw next shocked them.
Berry said there were two large bass, one on each treble hook, fighting over the bait. He said they were exactly same size, and the reason he thought it was a 4-foot fish at first was because when they jumped, the fish were pointing in opposite directions, making the two already big fish look like one massive fish.
They got a picture of the two lunkers in the water next to the boat, but when Berry went to grab them to get a measurement, one of the fish rolled over and came off the hook.
“Well, they were exactly the same size, so I said ‘We’ve still got one,’ so we got the other one and weighed it and it was 5 (pounds), 3 (ounces),” Berry said. “He was close to 11 pounds of fish! You talk about ironic, number one, he shouldn’t have been fishing in 20 foot of water on top at that time of day, I didn’t think. And then to catch two huge fish — a lot of people fish their whole lives and don’t get a five-pound bass!”