MINOT — If it happens outdoors, chances are Theopolis and Ashley Toliver are part of it. The husband and wife just can’t seem to get enough of fishing and hunting. Darned if they aren’t very good at it too.
Together they have a Facebook page, Beauty and the Vet, where they share their adventures and toss in a few tips any outdoorsman can appreciate.
“She loves the outdoors as much as I do. Unfortunately, she out fishes me at times,” laughed Toliver with a broad smile.
“We have a great time picking on one another and seeing who can catch more fish.” Ashley Toliver
“I’m a tad competitive and so is he. We have a great time picking on one another and seeing who can catch more fish,” said Ashley Toliver.
Recently Theo Toliver was on Lake Audubon, drilling holes in the ice search of smallmouth bass. Admittedly, he said, it marked quite a transition for a native of Las Vegas.
“Coming from the desert to the cold environment was a complete culture shock for me,” recalled Theo Toliver. “My first few times out, in 2000, I just didn’t enjoy it.”
However, after moving away due to his military career and then returning to Minot in 2010, his opinion of ice fishing warmed up considerably.
“I hooked up with some friends who showed me the ropes, and they were very successful. I absolutely became obsessed with ice fishing and fell in love with it,” remarked Theo Toliver. “I get to the point where I cannot wait for it to freeze. Crazy. Right?”
Success led to Theo Toliver Fishing on Facebook where he began to develop a devoted following. After marriage, his Facebook page was changed to Beauty and the Vet.
“If I’m fishing, she’s fishing with me. If I’m hunting, she’s hunting with me. I’m very lucky, very fortunate for that.” Theo Toliver
“I switched it over because my wife is always with me,” explained Toliver. “If I’m fishing, she’s fishing with me. If I’m hunting, she’s hunting with me. I’m very lucky, very fortunate for that.”
Toliver has a variety of videos on fishing on You Tube, several of them on ice fishing for smallmouth bass, a fish that is seldom targeted by ice anglers in North Dakota.
“I probably have a fish on the line here,” said Theo Toliver while on the ice, watching his electronics, and chatting about ice fishing. “Here we go. He’s got an attitude. They do put up a fight.”
Moments later he reached into the icy water and pulled out a smallmouth bass that topped four pounds.
“If you are never successful, you are probably never going to do it again,” said Theo Toliver.
Just as he was slipping the big smallmouth back into the water his cellphone began to ping. It was Ashley, wondering if the fish were cooperating. A lifelong Minoter, she grew up hunting and fishing with her father.
“I loved going out with him, walking to push deer or birds, and watching our springer spaniels at work. I loved getting out to enjoy the outdoors,” said Ashley Toliver.
Her time outdoors growing up included camping out in the summer and fishing out of a homemade ice shelter in the winter.
“Definitely not the warmest but he made it work and fish were caught,” recalled Ashley Toliver.
Ashley Toliver credits those early experiences in the field, and on the lake, with developing her appreciation for the outdoors and the values it teaches. In early December 2021, the Tolivers made an appearance at the Fargo Ice Show, the largest gathering of its kind in North Dakota. The outdoors-minded couple greeted attendees on behalf of ESKIMO, a popular line of ice fishing gear they heartily endorse.
“I think our passion for the outdoors, and the fishing that we share, makes us a stronger couple. It’s a support system for one another, that’s for sure,” stated Ashley Toliver.