Catching Up With Fishing Champion and TV Host Peter Miller

"You never know what you're gonna get, and that’s what keeps you coming back every time," expert fisherman Peter Miller says in response to why he loves his job. Miller is best known for his award-winning TV show Bass2Billfish, which appears weekly on NBC Sports and the World Fishing Network and will debut its eighth season tonight. The reality show follows the three-time world sailfish champion as he travels throughout Florida in search of adventure and very large fish. 

Since he was a kid growing up in Tappan, New York, and going on fishing trips with his dad, Miller had dreamed of having his own fishing show. That said, the now-47-year-old knew he would have to make a name for himself in the industry first. He decided to attend the University of Miami to study communications so he could fuel his fishing "addiction," as he refers to it, during his spare time.  It wasn't unusual for his classmates to watch him catch 100-pound tarpon in the campus lake. 

Miller also started a team called Get Lit Fishing, and over the course of 20 years, the members have been called a "Dynasty Team” and the “Top Team in South Florida History” and have won millions of dollars in tournaments. When the team was just beginning, Miller supported himself by modeling, but soon enough, the sponsorships began pouring in, and eventually he snagged the deal he'd been waiting for. 

"The show is about making a lifelong dream come true. I started the concept in 2008, and the fact that my lifelong childhood dream has come true, I can't believe it," he says. 
Despite the challenges of putting a show together and the fact that fish aren't always around to be caught, Miller is proud of what his show has accomplished, particularly its broad appeal. He says he regularly gets comments from fans saying it's the only fishing show the entire family can watch, wives included. He also enjoys teaming up with Make-A-Wish to help fulfill the fishing dreams of sick children. 

The professional angler begins his day at 8 a.m. and often works past midnight seven days a week to ensure his show is a continued success. "The majority of people think all I do is fish and magically everything happens, and that’s the furthest thing from the truth. I used to fish all the time because I didn’t have a fishing show, but now I’m doing social media, marketing, events, contracts, responding to fans, etc."

What's more, he's constantly learning and perfecting his skills to stay on top of his game and keep up with new technologies and young talent. "You have to be willing to learn; you can't be old-school," Miller says.

The TV host and Coral Gables resident also has a blog where he frequently writes about billfish conservation. He advocates for proper catch-and-release methods so the fish can return to the water unharmed. His advice is to release your catch on the side of the boat and avoid pulling it in for a photo because you don't want to damage the fish's internal organs. Further, he tells people to take only what they need and avoid trying to bring back enough fish for the whole neighborhood. It's also important to choose wisely when eating fish. In Florida, that means sticking to mahi-mahi, snapper, blackfin tuna, and kingfish whenever possible because they're abundant here. 

Miller has two children — a 17-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter — who are his priorities. But if ever he has some free time, he can be found playing the African drum the djembe, which he's been practicing for more than 15 years. 

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Valeria Nekhim was born in the Ukraine and raised in Montreal. She has lived in Manhattan and Miami. Her favorite part of food writing is learning the stories of chefs and restaurateurs.