NEW YORK – Meet the Robertson clan.They turned duck calls into a multi-million dollar empire. Millions fell in love with the Robertsons when they began sharing the family business – and their daily life – on television.
After breaking cable ratings records – sometimes averaging more than 11 million viewers – "Duck Dynasty" is coming to an end. Although the A&E reality series is in its final season, that doesn't mean the end of the family's time in the spotlight.
CBN News sat down with eldest son and Duck Commander CEO, Willie Robertson, to talk about the family's future and Willie's new book, The American Fisherman: How Our Nation's Anglers Founded, Fed, Financed and Forever Shaped the U.S.A.
"It has been over five years that we have been filming this show, which in television is a lifetime," Willie mused. "There is always something going on. And so, we will just wait and see what happens. I am not a big goal guy. I don't try and set my five year plan."
"You think about it like this: Five years ago, if someone would have asked me what my goal was, I probably would have been way short of what was going to happen. I don't want to limit myself or limit God or anything," he continued. "It will be nice at some point to slow down a little bit, kind of enjoy some of the things we've done."
Willie Robertson 'Going Siral'
But for Willie, slowing down will have to wait.
The husband, father and CEO has a new show with the family's famous Uncle Si. It's all about Uncle Si's forays onto the Internet, and it's called "Going Siral." Willie is the show's "Si-kick."
Willie's also written a new book about the history and impact of fishing in America.
"To be honest, growing up, we were way more about fishing than hunting because we fish for fun just like we hunted for fun," Willie told CBN News.
"But Dad kind of had this duck call he was trying to sell," he said. "So we were trying to get it off the ground, but to pay the bills my dad fished. He was a commercial fisherman."
Life Lessons Learned While Fishing
In the book, Willie says that fishing is how parents and children discover what they are made of together. We asked him to explain.
"Well, I think with fishing you can learn a lot about yourself and about others," he said. "You learn patience. You learn how to stick with it. You can't see exactly what you're going after and so I think we learn a lot about ourselves, especially now-a-days, the world kind of really slows down."
Is his dad still the best fisherman he knows?
"Ahhh, probably so, probably so," Willie said. "He has probably forgotten more about fishing than the rest of us will even learn. He could fish for really anything."
Willie said one of his favorite "Duck Dynasty" episodes is one where his dad, Phil, took Willie's son and the girl he was dating out for a day of fishing.
"So, he starts talking about all these sexually transmitted diseases. And so that is his dating advice," Willie recalled.
"Now what's funny was, I heard this same speech when I was 15, yeah," he continued. "And I got so tickled and I went to my father and I said, 'Dad, I saw the episode where you were giving the advice,' and I'm laughing and Dad said, 'I wasn't being funny,' and I said, 'I know. That's what's so funny about it.' He kind of had the shock therapy with all of us and it's still going."
"When you're young, all you hear about on television and the Internet is sex... Don't even entertain that thought," he added.
Love of Fishing: An Anchor of US History
Fishing anchors the Robertson family, and in writing the book, Willie learned how it also anchors American history.
George Washington, Franklin Roosevelet, Dwight Eisenhower, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush were all avid fishermen.
CBN News asked Willie – who was a big supporter of Donald Trump for president – if he's going to take the president-elect fishing.
"I need to get him out fishing.You know, he is in a good spot. I'm already eye-balling Camp David because that would be a cool deal. So, I am thinking -- maybe. I haven't asked for many favors yet. So maybe my favor will be to take him out at Camp David. It would be neat, right to be where all these presidents have been, just to be there," Willie said.
"Now his son, Donald Trump, Jr., he and I have hunted together," Willie continued. "In fact, he was at the house last year and we hunted together. So, he is a big outdoorsman and likes to fish. I don't know that Mr. Trump is a big fisherman. But I would love to be able to take him out and do some sort of fishing."
As busy as he is, Willie still gets out and fishes as often as he can.
"Now, I am getting so soft," he admitted. "I have a pond behind my house that I stocked with bass and croppy. So I go down every afternoon. And again, it may be 20 minutes, but I take that time."
"It's just somewhere to reflect and it is at my house," he said. "But fish are smart. I go down there and try to catch them and they're still hard to catch, even though I bought and paid for them and put them in there. But I try to go out there at least every day and do some fishing. If I ever need a quick meal, I know where to get it."
Willie also says he feels closer to God when he's fishing, which could be another reason why God called believers to be 'fishers of men.'