Fishing TV shows were a huge part of a young anglers life growing up. We would skip early Saturday morning cartoons for early Saturday morning fishing shows with some of the best names in the business. We all remember Flip Pallot, Roland Martin, Jose Wejebe, Bill Dance and Jimmy Houston. They were (are) our idols. Some of us began fishing in the first place because of them, some of us improved our game because of them, and some of us that weren’t able to get out and fish lived vicariously through them. Regardless of the reasons behind us tuning in, one thing was for certain; they had us hook, line and sinker.
A lot has changed since those days of the fishing TV show pioneers. The Saturday morning ritual of waking up early to catch those shows isn’t there anymore. Instead, we set our DVRs to record them so we can watch them at our convenience or we look them up on our mobile devices and fast forward through parts we don’t want to watch, or the commercials, or the sponsor shout-outs, etc. In my opinion, these factors added to the allure. You couldn’t stand the anticipation as they cut to commercial break just as Jimmy hooked up with a monster, or you would race to the restroom or use the commercials to devour your bowl of cereal. What I’m getting at is that our lives are too fast paced for those old school moments. Fishing shows provided a sense of calming, much like the act of actual fishing does. Not anymore.
Don’t get me wrong, fishing shows are still out there. We have current idols like CA Richardson, Blair Wiggins, and others. But it’s overall different. Different by means far deeper than just a few new faces. We now have channels dedicated to outdoor activities such as fishing and hunting, we have web based shows as on Carbon TV, and so on. These do a great service to the entire industry and are certainly on my entertainment speed dial. But what this has done is changed those Saturday mornings on ESPN. It’s almost too diluted.
Then you bring in prime time fishing. These fishing shows contain much more action (which is very entertaining, but highly unrealistic), more drama, and an anticipation build that rarely matches the climax. Think “River Monsters”, or “Wicked Tuna”. Of course these are strictly my opinions, but I think we can all agree that these fishing shows don’t hold to the same standards as the fishing shows of yore or those who still hold true, but are out of focus to the broader audience. Maybe its just me.
But there’s hope. There is a fishing TV show out there that brings back the story telling, the realness of fishing and doesn’t sugarcoat the sport. I’m talking about A Fishing Story that airs on WFN, on Saturday mornings. Host Ronnie Green brings back the realness of fishing. He speaks, and fishes with everyday people (and not so everyday people) about their life’s journey and what brought them to fishing.
Again, in my opinion, I believe that this focus really challenges the viewer (whether an angler or not) to consider the sport of fishing as a healthy alternative to escape the stress and strife of everyday life. As I always say, being out there on the water does it for me, catching fish is just a bonus.