‘Fishing University’ Hosts Were Lured to Mosquito Lake

WARREN, Ohio – The Trumbull County Tourism Bureau landed a big one with “Fishing University,” but this fish was eager to bite.

The stars and crew of the Outdoor Channel television show arrived in Warren Thursday to begin a weekend of shooting an episode on Mosquito Lake. The episode of the Outdoor Channel show will air next year.

Ray Brazier and his fellow Tennessean Charlie Ingram have been hosting “Fishing University” for more than three decades. They dropped by Clubhouse Brewing Thursday night before taking to the waters the next morning.

How did they decide on Mosquito Lake for an episode? It turns out the 6,500-acre body of water had been on their radar for some time.

“We’re always driving across the country, watching for every lake, and if we see one we like we’ll look it up on the internet,” Brazier said. “We’ve been in this business for 35 years and we know all the people around it. We’ve heard a lot about Mosquito Lake and know it’ll make a great show.”

Charlie Ingram, co-host of “Fishing University”

Ingram, who said he does a lot of social media networking  “for an old gray haired guy,” has seen Facebook posts of impressive fish caught on Mosquito Lake. He chased down the details and his show got in touch with Beth Kotwis Carmichael, executive director of the county tourism agency. She was happy to reel in the show, which typically includes information about the area it visits. 

While the film crew is in town this weekend for two days of shooting, Carmichael will guide them through some of the county’s tourist highlights, such as Amish country, the National Packard Museum, downtown Warren and the McKinley Memorial. They will also hit a few of the area’s most popular restaurants, although she wouldn’t say which ones because the crew doesn’t want to draw onlookers.

Two local fishing aficionados who have spent a lot of time on Mosquito Lake over the years have been hired to pilot the camera boat that will shoot the episode.

“We’ll be in a separate boat [than the hosts],” Vaughn said. “They have to be able to get [camera] angles from all around them.”

White said Mosquito is well-known for its bass population. “There is a bass fishing tourney just about every weekend there,” he said.

Vaughn noted that the lake’s large bass population is self-generating. That is exactly the kind of thing the stars of “Fishing University” like to hear.

 “All we fish for is bass,” Brazier said.

Ingram pointed out that the fish should be biting this time of year. “When the water starts cooling down, they bite better,” he said. “They’re coming up to feed for winter.”

The show shares how-to tips and information about equipment and fish behavior. “People think fishing is a lot of luck but it’s about 95 percent skill,” Ingram said.

Imparting knowledge about the sport and trying to grow interest in it is something the hosts do in every town they visit.

“Typically, we’ll go to a high school and talk to kids about careers in the outdoors,” Brazier said. “Not just fishing. It could be as a game warden or forestry or even a sales representative or for a tackle company. There is a lot of opportunity for these kids, and a lot of colleges are offering subjects in it.”

Due to the pandemic, the hosts will be unable to address students in Trumbull County. “Fishing University” also has a social media contest for high school students, with the winner receiving a four-year scholarship to Bethel University in Tennessee.

“It’s the No. 1 fishing university in the world with nine world championships,” Brazier said. “It’s a regular college but they have a fishing team, just like you’d have a football team.”

Brazier said there are hundreds of colleges in the United States that have competitive fishing teams and grant scholarships to team members.

Pictured: Ray Brazier, one of the co-hosts of “Fishing University.”

Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.