Those of us who love to fish also enjoy watching the TV fishing shows on Saturday morning.
Down through the years I have noticed the shows have changed quite a bit. Back in the day, you had an older gentleman who dispensed angling information like a kindly uncle. Going way back there was Gadabout Gaddis; then Orlando Wilson, Mark Sosin and Flip Palet. Those guys were easy to follow and provided good commentary. Even fellows like Bill Dance (he of the fake blooper reels) did a pretty good show. Sosin was always a bit too pompous for my taste, but I liked where he fished.
I suppose my favorite was (and still is) Hank Parker. Parker's easy going country style hits me just fine and I enjoy the kids that often fish with him.
My problem with the modern fishing programs is more to do with style than information. Recently I was watching one where two young fellows who claimed to be guides in the Florida Keys were fly-fishing. One stood tall on the poling platform resplendent in lycra-spandex like a bicycle racer might wear. Thin little wrap around sunshades gripped his head sort of like Levar Burton from Star Trek. As he poled the boat the camera zeroed in on his rippling calves and panned up to his tanned and muscled biceps. When he spotted a bonefish, he shouted to the other fellow not by name but as "Bro." I don't remember Roland Martin ever calling anyone "Bro." The guy on the bow began casting until the hookup and then the camera moved in tight on his bulging arms. This was beginning to get just a little too homoerotic for me.
When the trip was finished, the pair sat on a deck over a basket of mangos, strawberries and kiwi fruit to discuss the day's action. Each heaped praise upon the other's talent until it was embarrassing. One stated the fellow munching a strawberry was the best fisherman he had ever seen while the other protested he was second to his partner. They continued to call each other Bro. In between the kiwi fruit, they did manage to mention the kind of fly that was used but by the time the show was over, the only thing that remained was for the two of them to kiss. As the credits rolled, the two rode off into the sunset atop their skiff. Oh my!
I'm sorry, but that is not my idea of a good fishing show. I want to see an expert angler talk about why he chose the place he was fishing, and what tackle and bait he used. I want to see pictures of the fish, not some fellow in spandex britches and a pink shirt. For all of my life when the fishing was over for the day, I just wanted to go home. Once there I might have a couple beers and a can of Vienna sausages, but eating a bowl of mixed fruit with a guy I had just shared a boat with for eight hours? I don't think so.
You know, in the eight years that I have been writing this column, I have had a couple inquiries about doing a fishing program. I quickly turned those down because it seemed that sort of thing might interfere with my actual fishing time. Perhaps I was too hasty. Now as I watch these awful examples of outdoor programming on the tube I have to think maybe I am the guy to do it right. I couldn't do much worse.
Dan Smith has fished the waters of Volusia County for more than 40 years. Email questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. His book, "I Swear the Snook Drowned," is available for $10.95 at (386) 441-7793.