From Fashion Model To Fishing Show Host

By Rich Armstrong

Peter Miller clearly remembers the moment he became hooked on fishing.

Peter Miller with his catch

"I remember being at a reservoir with my dad. I'm 3 years old with a Zebco rod, a bobber, and a couple of worms, trying for whatever," he recalls. "Seeing that bobber bounce about started it. I realized I like to fish."

From sunnies to bass and trout, to stripers, to fluke and flounder, then tuna, and finally game fish, Miller, 48, is a long way from his small hometown of Tappan, on New York's Hudson River. When it came time for college, he headed south for the University of Miami, where he now lives, partly because of the chance to chase big fish.

Blessed with striking good looks, Miller used this asset to earn a good living in Manhattan, modeling and doing commercials for whatever advertising campaigns came his way — liquor, clothing, sunglasses. In all, he says he's modeled in 1,500 ad campaigns, including 120 commercials worldwide. The career was good, but the prize remained fishing.

"It's those moments of the unknown. What's going to happen next?" the BoatUS member says of the allure of fishing. "All these days on the water, you never know what's going to happen. One day it's Mahi, the next day its Sailfish just because the weather changed."

Back in Miami, Miller and a friend started entering — and winning — fishing tournaments.

"We won boats, $20,000 at another. In all, I made 120 trips to the podium," says this three-time World Sailfish Champion, four-time Silver Sailfish Derby winner (including catching 26 sailfish by himself in two days), three-time Cheeca Lodge Presidential Sailfish Tournament winner … and it goes on and on. He's racked up more than $3 million from tournaments with his accomplished Get Lit fishing team.

For the past eight years, Miller has hosted "Bass2Billfish with Peter Miller," an Emmy-nominated, multiple-award-winning reality lifestyle show appearing weekly on NBC Sports and the World Fishing Network. The show, and its multiple sponsors, affords Miller access to an armada of boats, depending on what he's chasing on any particular episode — a 60-foot Spencer sportfisherman, and three boats from Yellowfin, a 17-foot flats boat, a 24-foot bay boat with tower, and a 36-foot center-console with a tower.

Miller has had celebrities on his show, but says he prefers getting regular folks out there.

"My show lends itself more to the average Joe, maybe someone who's never fished before or who never went 35 miles offshore. I like to show them they can do it," he says. Some of his favorite shows involve military vets and kids from the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

"They want to fish with me? I roll out the red carpet," he says. "One kid's wish was to catch a swordfish, so we go out and sure enough catch a swordfish. Then he caught a mahi-mahi and some others just to add to the day.

For me, personally, I keep it real and for the people who deserve it."

An admitted "micromanager," Miller says he pays attention to the details.

"When the fish aren't biting, that's when you really learn. You dig down, you tell yourself, ‘I need to catch a fish,'" he says. "I'm going to try everything. I'll change it up, even if it's small. I'm going to catch a fish. "I'm always learning. That's the key, to never stop learning. That's what makes you good."

For a taste of Bass2Billfish, check out this recent clip of Miller and crew chasing permit off Captiva, Florida. 

— Published: April 2017

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