Benjamin Bakke from Kristiansand, Norway, has always enjoyed himself in peculiar ways when out fishing. But since he started posting images of his pranks on Instagram as Fisherbenny a year ago, he has become a comfish phenom.
“I’m just having fun,” says Bakke, 25. “It’s just me and the skipper out there. And I get bored, so I think of things to do.”
Bakke works the deck of 26-meter shrimp boat making 12-hour tows, so he has time on his hands. Some of his signature Instagram work includes a monkfish imitation, flying, and sliding back and forth when the vessel, the Udvaar 3, is rolling in 20-foot seas. “I was doing all that long before I started posting,” says Bakke, who started fishing at 17.
With 340,000 followers on Instagram, and gaining about 1,000 a day, Bakke is getting attention. “I also have a Tiktok channel, Fisherbenny, that has 3.6 million followers. But I prefer Instagram because I can talk to people. I try to answer everybody.” Bakke even gets some fans sliding into his DMs looking for more than fishing entertainment.
“I have a girlfriend and baby, so I don’t answer those messages,” he says.
So far, Bakke has not monetized his popularity with official influencer status.
“I’ve had some offers to promote oil gear in my stories,” he says. “But I haven’t done that yet.”
According to Bakke, he has also been invited to Norwegian government fishery meetings.
“I don’t know why,” he says. “Just to show me? One politician who is just for the fishery called me just to talk to me because I am recruiting so many young people to the fishery. They think it’s because of me. I like to hear that.”
So far, Bakke has avoided commercialization and politics.
“You have ‘Deadliest Catch,’ but I think I’m the only one doing this that shows just one person,” says Bakke. “That might be why it’s so popular, I show the things ‘Deadliest Catch’ doesn’t show people, and I’m having fun.”
Having fun with no agenda is probably the secret of Bakke’s success. His posts are about breaking up the monotony that is a big part of fishing, and that’s something all fishermen can relate to.