Inside this often zany and always wild world of sharks, recreational fishing, research, conservation, advocacy, entertainment and education, my brother Brooks and I are fortunate to not only meet, but work directly with, some of the best of the best in their given fields of endeavor. More often than not, those working relationships evolve into friendships, which usually grow from the collective realization that as serious a business as this is, we just can’t take it OR ourselves too seriously. We’ll leave that tedious and time-wasting task for those people lucky enough to have that kind of extra time on their hands.
Enter, Zach Miller (founder of Team Rebel); someone we knew about for years, eventually started collaborating with, and now count among our closest friends and Partners in Grime. He’s one of those increasingly rare individuals with the wherewithal required to not only produce consistently impressive results, but to laugh (often at himself) while he’s at it. He’s an accomplished big game angler, a respected land-based shark fishing authority, and well rounded outdoorsman and fellow expedition leader who’s respect for the pioneers who inspired us in the first place is never lost.
Florida's east coast '09, The Blacktip Challenge. L-R: Sean Paxton, Pat Clyde, Jeff Dillon, Zach Miller, Brooks Paxton II
Like us, he’s sometimes misunderstood because not everybody gets us and what we do ... or maybe why we do it. Fact of the matter is, they don’t take the time to ask, and we’re moving too fast and having too much fun to stop and explain it to everyone who doesn’t get it. It’s those who do get it that count, and that’s where we’ll continue to spend our time and energy. No so coincidentally, that simple strategy has produced the best, and most tangible results; not only for us and Zach, but also for the combined goals of sport, science and conservation.
Between Shows: SharkStravaganza, 2009. L-R: Brooks Paxton II, Tom Larkin, Zach Miller, Sean Paxton
Zach shares a lot of the same philosophies about how to effectively and collaboratively combine those goals, and how to have a good time doing it. Strangely, that ‘having a good time doing it’ part? It seems to be the exception and not the rule, these days. Skirmishes with some of the more passionate, but largely misguided extremist conservation groups are on the rise in the past few years, and in more recent months, shocking as it may be to some, there’s an even stinkier and ill-advised discord amongst the ranks of our fellow recreational sport fisherman.
Here’s why. The other ‘F’ word that’s supposed to go with fishing -- FUN -- is too-often forgotten, these days. Zach doesn’t have that problem. He’s still got the wide-eyed excitement and enthusiasm for what he does that we ALL had as kids. Unfortunately, it’s one of the first things to go, as we “mature” ... if we let it. Take the cue everybody. Having fun works wonders, and it doesn’t cost a dime.
Clowing around at Shark Fest 2009. Sean Paxton (clown on left) and Zach Miller
Spreading good cheer and talking catch & release shark fishing with the public at Shark Fest '09.
So yeah, Zach’s a good friend and someone we’d like to introduce you to, since you’ll be seeing a lot more of him around here, but don’t just take our word for it. Now, you too, can get a steady dose of his adventures and views on the newly launched website and blog, TeamRebelFishing.com –aka- “The Greatest Show on Surf.” Team Rebel (founded by Zach) is already well known in certain circles, but they’re about to broaden their influence.
Warning! If you’re looking for the same old blah, blah, blah, don’t even bother dialing up the url. However, if you’re interested in seeing some of the most extreme angling quests ever conquered, along with a unique and credible perspective on recreational sport fishing and effective conservation efforts, injected with some authentic attitude and a welcome sense of humor, bookmark TeamRebelFishing.com and visit often.
Trust us, you’ll find out that everything metal is better. To Zack and Team Rebel, congratulations on the site launch. We look forward to throwing down with you and Chris at the Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge Grand Championship in a couple weeks at Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium.
You can’t threaten us with a good time!
On location February 2009. Zach (left) just after a cold and wet February bait drop discussing the merits of acceptable 80's metal music with Brooks Paxton II.
The SharkStravaganza Booth, Shark Fest 2009. Zach Miller, Sean Paxton.