Muskie expert Pete Maina is a professional angler, author and TV host best known for his talents chasing the biggest fish in freshwater. But he’s also behind “Wimpy Wednesday,” a social media movement that encourages people to post photos of their shrimpiest catches in order to honor the fish that are truly the hardest to catch.
“I think my dad probably said it to me the first time: It really takes skill to hook a fish with a tiny little mouth like that,” Maina said.
The most recent batch of Wimpy Wednesday submissions, which go up on Maina’s active Facebook and Twitter accounts, included a true hammer handle of a muskie and a bass that could barely cover up a finger on the hand that’s holding it up.
For Maina, it’s a change of pace from the more serious aspects of his career. He’s a popular seminar speaker, host of The Next Bite on the NBC Sports Network, and producer of books and DVDs that anglers turn to when they want to get into the nitty gritty of catching more toothy fish like muskie and northern pike.
If he’s not careful, all of that could start to feel like work, especially when working with an elusive fish like muskie that can be hard on an angler’s ego. Wimpy Wednesday helps people remember that fishing is supposed to be fun.
“It’s a reminder without even really saying it of why you should enjoy fishing,” Maina said. “It really isn’t all about catching, and it really isn’t all about catching the biggest trophy ever and that’s the only fish you should ever be proud of or show somebody.”
It’s part of Maina’s online presence that’s often more about having fun than putting people on muskies. That includes the “Maina Vent” video series that features him ranting on everything from one-ply toilet paper to hummingbirds, more often than not while wearing his signature fuzzy, bright pink top hat. And Wimpy Wednesday followed up on the success of Toothless Tuesday, another foray into fishing hashtags that offers a tip of the fuzzy top hat to species outside of the Esox genus.
“It hit me that maybe we ought to have a day where we’re honoring fish that don’t have any teeth at all,” he said. “That really took off. I’ve never seen so many pictures of carp and suckers and sturgeon and catfish.”
The wimps that Maina has so far curated on his Facebook page have all been submissions from other anglers, but he says he may have to put one of his own up there soon to make it clear his isn’t afraid to be seen with a modest catch.
“Believe me, this isn’t an ego deal,” he said. “I’m proud of my little fish.”