Jimmy Houston turns 70 on Monday with no intention of slowing down.
Oklahoma’s most famous fisherman makes more than 100 personal appearances each year and gets asked to do 500. He films 39 television shows each year for Jimmy Houston Outdoors or Jimmy Houston Adventures and still fishes professionally on the FLW Tour.
Last year at age 69, he became the oldest angler to ever qualify for the FLW Championship.
I caught up with Houston on Friday via telephone from an airport in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where he had just returned from a week of saltwater fishing in the Bimini Islands in the Bahamas. Houston had been fishing with a corporate sponsor and some of the company’s employees and customers.
“I call it work,” Houston said. “Some people say when you are in Bimini fishing for six days it’s not work.”
I jokingly asked Houston when he was going to quit and get a real job.
“I got a real job, a R-E-E-L job,” he said. “That’s my real job. When you fish for a living, that is what you are supposed to do. I don’t plan on retiring ever.”
Houston has been entertaining fans with his brand of wit, humor and fishing for nearly four decades. On Tuesday night, he will be speaking in Oklahoma City at the annual “Beast Feast” at Crossings Community Church.
On Saturday night, he was at a similar event in Raleigh, N.C. Houston is the guest speaker at outdoor-related church events at least 20 times each year.
Houston is a guy who wears his Christian faith on his sleeve. He proved so several years ago by refusing to wear a beer patch on his sleeve or put a beer decal on his boat.
Several years ago, when Houston was fishing on the B.A.S.S. Tour and Anheuser-Busch became a corporate sponsor, anglers had to display the beer maker’s logo on their shirts and boats to earn qualifying points for the Bassmaster Classic and the Angler of the Year crown.
Houston wouldn’t wear the patch, irritating some of his fellow pro anglers who felt he was going to hurt professional bass fishing by ruining the sponsorship deal.
“The thing that surprised me more than anything else was that I was chastised by the other fishermen for doing that,” Houston said. “They thought everybody needed to be on board. They thought I was blowing a chance to make tournament fishing better. We didn’t need Busch beer to make this game bigger.”