UNION—Zachary Fowler was the winner of “History’s” Alone Season 3 exactly three years ago, which we covered in series of stories.
Since then, Fowler has taken his half-million-dollar winnings and parlayed it into a sustainable YouTube video and production enterprise called Fowler’s Makery and Mischief through a video series such as the “30-Day Survival Challenge,” “Trick Shot Tuesday,” and “87 Days.”
One of his recent bouts of mischief caught on camera was to strap a GoPro to a lobster he’d just caught in a trap 30 minutes earlier. [See the video]
Fowler said he was inspired to put the GoPro on a lobster because other YouTube creators have put GoPros on turtles and fish to observe their behavior. Being from Maine, the lobster was his natural choice. As he’d recently gotten his five-trap recreational lobster license, he wanted to see what was happening underwater. So he headed down to Rockport Harbor and put his boat in the water.
“I made a special harness for him,” he said. “There was a special GoPro bracket that I melted down and molded, so it could fit on the lobster’s back comfortably with a little cushion and zip ties. I put a buoyancy device on top of that so the equipment wouldn’t weigh him down. We had a milk jug on the surface, so we were able to put him down there on the ocean floor and follow him.
About 30 feet from where he dropped the lobster, Fowler then lowered down a baited trap.
“The surprising thing was he was able to move around and crawl through the seaweed with no problem. He made it all the way over to it, then you see on camera his antennae touching the trap, where he kind of jumps back, and is like: ‘Nope, not going in there.’”
Most of Fowler’s outdoor videos are instructional, although the footage he took that day was more for fun than for scientific reasons.
“Lobster traps are more like feeding stations and if you watch them on underwater cameras, lobsters are constantly going in and out of them, contrary to what people think is a ‘trap,’” he said.
When he retrieved the lobster, he removed the GoPro from it.
“Then I let him go for his efforts,” said Fowler. “We’ll eat other ones.”
The video has already racked up more than 6.8 million views on YouTube.
After using the money from Alone to build up a YouTube channel he’d already been creating, the young entrepreneur from Union has since built a website and a following of millions of viewers.
“After a year, that money allowed me to make a full-time living with one employee, and now the business sustains itself and we’re up to about four employees,” he said.
Fowler said income comes from his website, which sells products he’s made from his adventures on Alone, YouTube ad income, as well as producing others’ online content.
He’s become an outdoor survival personality through YouTube, garnering hundreds of thousands to millions of views per video.
He said he’s had multiple offers from television production companies to re-appear on TV; but Fowler has turned most of them down.
“I’m doing so well with this business and controlling my own edits to shots that I don’t really see the point,” he said. “Although if there was a chance to go back to [History Channel’s] Alone for an all-star show, I’d be into that.”
For now, the star of the video is one lucky (and trap-savvy) lobster.
To follow Fowler’s videos visit his vlog: Makery & Mischief
Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org