Hey Dave, Get A Job!

Mercer: “I don’t feel like I’ve ever had a real job.”

By Steve Wright

Published Summer 2014

Photo of Dave Mercer with a nice bass catch
Mercer is the Bill Dance of bass fishing in Canada and he’s becoming increasingly recognized in the U.S. (James Overstreet photo)

When 40-year-old Dave Mercer says he's never had a "real job," it's hard to argue with him. Well, it's always difficult to argue with the high-energy, high-volume Mercer. In this case, there's not much to argue about. The facts of his life stand as proof.

Mercer hosts Outdoor Channel's "Facts of Fishing" show and serves as the emcee of Bassmaster Elite Series events, including the Bassmaster Classic.

And for Mercer, that's not work; it's the fulfillment of his childhood dreams.

"I've always had two loves – fishing and entertaining," Mercer said. "I don't feel like I've ever had a real job."

Dave Mercer fights to bring in a bass
Mercer says his two loves are fishing and entertaining, so “I don’t feel like I’ve ever had a real job.” (James Overstreet photo)

By all appearances, Mercer could be defined as one of the hardest-working men in the fishing world. He's the Bill Dance of bass fishing in Canada; it seems that everyone who fishes recognizes him there. Increasingly, Mercer has become a standout in the U.S. as well. He recently topped the 100,000 mark in followers of his Facebook page.

The examples of hard work include his physical appearance as well. Mercer once carried 330 pounds on his 6-foot frame; he now weighs 230.

Even as a kid, Mercer never had a "real job." When he was 13 years old, he won a local bass fishing tournament that came with a check for $400. Plus he started working as a fishing guide in the area near his hometown of Port Perry, Ontario, located about 45 miles northeast of Toronto.

"I made more money than everybody else at school that had a summer job," Mercer said. "I thought I was loaded."

When asked in an elementary school class what he wanted to be when he grew up, Mercer quickly answered that fishing was his goal. But the self-described class clown, couldn't define it more specifically than that. Being a big-time bass fishing tournament competitor was never part of his dream. So how do you make a living "fishing"?

"I didn't know what I was going to do exactly," said Mercer, who by the time he was 20 years old knew that tournament fishing was definitely out. "I loved tournament fishing, but I didn't like that lifestyle. I didn't want to live out of the back of my truck. And I didn't think I could beat Kevin VanDam, for example. You really have to have a special drive to do everything involved with tournament competition. That's why I have so much respect for those guys."


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Mercer, Anglers Battle Autism

John Crews And Dave Mercer
Bassmaster Elite Series angler John Crews discusses his benefit work for autism with tournament emcee Dave Mercer. (Darren Jacobson photo)

Dave Mercer asked bidders to go crazy, sort of. When John Crews weighed his fish wearing a jersey to be auctioned, Mercer told the crowd at the A.R.E. Truck Caps Bassmaster Elite at Table Rock Lake that he would match it for autism research.

Crews’ jersey features interlocking puzzle pieces, a symbol for autism, during April’s Autism Awareness Month then auctions them. Proceeds go to Autism Speaks and other charities helping those affected by the brain disorder.

Mercer’s daughter, Cadance, has autism, and the Facts of Fishing host vowed his help.

“Whatever you get for it, I’m doing to double it,” he told Crews and the crowd. “I’m challenging everybody to go crazy on the bidding … don’t go too crazy, now.”

They did, to the tune of $1,525, more than twice as much as last year.

Crews took up the cause after meeting B.A.S.S. Nation angler Eli Delaney and his autistic son, Luke, who fight the ailment through Delaney’s nonprofit, mylittlebuddysboat.com.
“When I was going through school, I don’t remember anybody having autism,” Crews said. “My stepson is 14, and there are 2 or 3 people in his grade that are autistic. Scientists are struggling for an explanation of what is going on. I think that helping raise awareness and as much money as we can for research is the best thing we can do about it.”
-- Mike Suchan