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Dreams and ‘Salmon Nightmares’: Wayne Hankins spreads out his fishing and filming

Wayne Hankins builds on his dreams of combining fishing and filming, doing both with a sense of purpose and humor.

Wayne Hankins and his YouTube channel and “Salmon Nightmares” go far beyond just salmon fishing around Chicago. Provided photo
Wayne Hankins and his YouTube channel and “Salmon Nightmares” go far beyond just salmon fishing around Chicago.
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About a year ago, I caught a fishing video from Jackson Park that mixed fishing, history and fun well enough that I tracked down Wayne Hankins.

Hankins is an auteur with strands of cinéma vérité.

The pandemic sidetracked me. Something Hankins understands. One of his most viewed videos, “Lakefront Nightmares: Mayor Lori Lightfoot caught me fishing,” is a parody in the line of Lightfoot memes.

Hankins has playfulness and humor in his videos, but, make no mistake, serious matters are the backbone.

His YouTube channel is “Tutfishing67,” described as, “Great Fishing and fun times! Come experience some dope fishing from Chicago and other major cities!” He is in the second season of “Salmon Nightmares.”

“I decided to start a YouTube channel because a lot of the guys I fish with are older then me; so I wanted to capture the love and moments we share while I can,” explained Hankins, who started the channel in 2017. “Plus Chicago is known for a lot of negativity and I wanted to show some great things Chicago does offer.”

Hankins grew up in the Woodlawn area, “down the street from Jackson Park. I have lived by Lake Michigan almost my whole life.”

He works for the railroad, but, as he put it, “My passion is fishing and filming so I have been gearing my energy in that direction. A true passion I love and would love to do for a career move.”

That’s the goal.

“My ultimate game with my YouTube channel is to maybe get a legit fishing show with sponsorship,” Hankins said. “Also a program to get more kids and youth involved with fishing. [Fishing] teaches patience and builds character.

“I am working on a documentary based upon African American fishing on the South Side of Chicago area. I want to shine some light on it and maybe help get the area upgraded: some LED lights, life preservers and open the land up more for the fisherman. It’s a lost art and it’s going down badly even though lots of guys still fish the area and bring revenue to the area and city. I wanted to get a bigger audience before actually dropping my documentary overall.”

He loves Jeremy Wade’s “River Monsters.”

“I would love to meet that guy and do an episode together,” Hankins said. “My Dad was a great fisherman as well. He got me started and made me fall in love with the science, techniques and love in fishing.

“I would love to film, fish, and document for a living, similar to Jeremy Wade’s lifestyle. Fishing has saved my life! Documenting Chicago’s salmon run and other fishing runs we have has been pretty cool and uplifting.”

Wayne Hankins with a nice Jackson Park fish and a “Salmon Nightmares” hoodie. Provided photo
Wayne Hankins with a nice Jackson Park fish and a “Salmon Nightmares” hoodie.
Provided

A lot of videos are done in Jackson Park, but “Salmon Nightmares” includes more than salmon fishing around Chicago.

“I started recording on a GoPro camera and I use my phone a lot because sometimes the action is spontaneous and the phone is quick to start recording with,” he said. “I edit on my phone and computer. I spend a lot of time on the water. So I use my phone and a few apps, so I can edit, fish, and film all at the same time. VivaVideo is one app I use.”

I enjoy the artiness of his merch, too. He collaborated with his uncle and a coworker on his logos. A young woman (niche_customcreations on Instagram) he went to school with does his tee-shirts, hoodies and hats. Another friend, Will Tony, helps with photo editing.

Names intrigue me.

“I chose ‘Salmon Nightmares’ because I would do and still do a lot of night fishing,” Hankins said. “So while most guys were sleeping for work and such, I would be out fishing my ass off at night. So my friends would wake up and see my timeline full and big fish night after night and it gave them nightmares about fishing.”

T.U.T. stands for True Underestimate Talent.

“A lot of people doubted our talents being African American fishermen, which you don’t see much on a major scale and from the South Side of Chicago as well,” Hankins said. “So I created a slogan to fight the hate and doubt in the fishing world placed against us.”

Wayne Hankins fishing, one of his pursuits in life. Provided photo
Wayne Hankins fishing, one of his pursuits in life.
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