BY KEVIN MCCONLOGUE
Fishing has always been a popular Wyoming County pastime, the same holds true for four friends who spend lots of their time out on the water.
Around six years ago, Jerry Wickizer, Matt Myers, Ed McGowan and Jeff Pop created the Underdog Anglers. They describe themselves as not-your-average fisherman, but guys who just like to have fun, get a laugh out of people and catch some fish. That laid-back approach is why the friends created the group.
“All across the country, fishing has become more of a competition,” Myers said. “We wanted to start the group to be able to help others and try to bring everyone back to the basics.”
“We’re just a bunch of guys who enjoy fishing,” Wickizer said. “Around the time we started the group, we were catching a lot of catfish and people came up to us and started asking for pointers. We enjoy helping people, so we figured that we could pass our knowledge to someone else.”
Whether it’s trout, bass, catfish or ice fishing, the Underdog Anglers can be found out on the water with fishing rods in hand – in season, of course. The South Branch of the Tunkhannock Creek and the Lackawanna River are two of their favorite locations to go during trout fishing season.
Both Wickizer and Meyers have been fishing since a very young age, and both have different reasons as to why they became hooked.
“I was around eight years old when I first started,” Wickizer said. “One of my first times out, I caught a 20-inch largemouth bass and I was hooked from that moment on.”
“Fishing goes back in my family for generations,” Myers said. “As soon as I was old enough, my parents gave me a rod. It became one of my favorite hobbies and obviously still is to this day.”
The guys have plans to start their own YouTube channel where they will put out videos of their fishing trips, tutorials and try to make people laugh while showing off their passions. The anglers also run many public giveaways on their Facebook and Instagram pages in partnership with local bait shops.
“We’ve gotten great responses from the giveaways that we do,” Myers said. “We’re actually looking to put on some events and fishing tutorials that are in-person in the future.”
Trout season will start with a little bit of a heavy heart for the anglers this year, as former member Codey Cobb passed away in a car accident on June 25, 2020. The guys say they miss him on their trips and plan to use the YouTube channel to honor him.
“The YouTube channel was actually Codey’s idea, he was good with all of the tech stuff, unlike the rest of us,” Wickizer said. “He truly loved fishing and we miss him every time that any of us is out on the water.”
As for how much the guys plan to get out on the water this year, they say that answer is whenever they can.
“At least a couple of times a week, ” Wickizer said. “Especially now that all the creeks are starting to get stocked, that’s when you get a lot of good bites. I’m hoping for a successful year.”