There are many fishing shows on the tube these days, many
are quite similar going to the same spots, fishing for the
same fish week in, week out. Well, in a few months everyone
will get to see an all-new show called "Fishing the Flats".
Back in August, I started a correspondence with Henry Waszczuk,
the host of Fins & Skins, a Toronto-based TV show that has been
producing for almost 20 years and has one of the longest running
fishing shows on television today. Fins & Skins Classic Adventures
and Extreme Adventures lives up to its reputation as one of the
most entertaining shows that has a unique mix between the sports
celebrity guest, some great fishing and a round of golf. Known
worldwide for tackling every species of game fish, each week Henry
leads you on unforgettable journeys to the best fishing and golf
destinations in the world!
I know that Al Campbell is reeling in his seat. He wrote me once
when I told him about an idea to combine fishing and golf. He
said, "You're bad. Very bad!" Then there was Castwell with his
Gulp column. Wow! Someone else
thought of this too. I'm vindicated! I started a program called
"Flies & Birdies." Imagine taking strokes off your golf game by
learning to fly fish. So here you are Henry's original program
is called Fins & Skins. How cool can you get.
Who would figure this would develop into a great new friendship.
So you can imagine it didn't take too much coaxing when Henry asked,
"I'm doing this new flats show on FOX Sports Network. Are you
interested?" Without really thinking about it, I said yes.
Hey, 80 IGFA world records in Mosquito Lagoon should rate some
'Fishing the Flats' focuses on only strong fighting shallow water
fish in the warm waters of Mexico and Caribbean. Locations will
include Florida (New Smyrna Beach's Mosquito Lagoon), Turks &
Cacaos, Cayman Island and Bahamas. Host Henry Waszczuk explores
shallow water fishing for some of the most dynamic saltwater fish
that can be caught on rod and reel. Just sit back and watch
high-jumping tarpon that weigh over 100 pounds, bonefish that
scream every bit of line off reel, head-shaking snook, bull
headed redfish that just won't give up, huge shark that will
test any anglers skill and then there are the smaller yet
powerful jacks, snapper, triggerfish and more.
This all sounded so cool. My excitement was undeniable. I
called a couple of guides who specialize in saltwater fly fishing
and asked them to join me as a team. Yes, they were excited.
But, you know there is always a cloud lurking out there.
Getting prepared for a TV special is no picnic. This type
of special takes a lot of time, preparation, coordination of
people, boats, sponsors, lodging, facilities, and so on. It
took three months to get prepared for this project. And, it
was loaded with obstacles including postponements due to weather,
uncooperative fish, and some shortfalls on getting equipment.
One of the days was devoted to spotted sea trout. We caught
everything except trout including Spanish, Blues, Ladyfish (big
ones), Jacks, Flounder, Jacks, did I say Jacks. Well, we caught
Jacks and Jacks and Jacks. And when we couldn't catch any more
Jacks, we caught more Jacks. Your arm can fall off from successive
hook ups of 25-pound jacks on 8-weight fly rods. I'll tell you
about it next time.
Early into the project, Henry sent me his 'wish list.' He needed
six reds, six trout, six snook, a barracuda, another large predator,
some jacks (oh, did we catch jacks), a partridge in a pear tree
and any other game fish that would make up the 13 shows. Let
me tell you something about Henry that most people don't know.
He will not cull fish for a show. Some specials show the host
catching fish after fish after fish. Usually this is the same
fish photographed from different angles, bait and lures put in
different sides of the lips. It is because when you are doing
a show and the camera is running everything has to work including
catching fish, regardless of conditions. We sat under a tarp
while it rained for three hours.
Henry's shows are live and the fish are caught when you see the
clip. They are not stuffed in a live well for filming later.
You want some pressure? Let me tell you how difficult it is
to catch 6 HUGE redfish for a show. Then find and hook up
the same number and size for the other game fish. First you
have to find them. They don't ever seem to want to stay in
one place. And, if weather conditions change, then so does
the playing field. But we managed. The most cooperating day
was when we filmed the Saltwater Fly
Fishing Academyat Sugar Mill Country Club in New Smyrna Beach.
We had 20 students all whaling away with lines. Casting into the
ponds. It was beautiful. Imagine 20 Redington Rods and Reels,
of course out of sync, but casting nonetheless.
As usually our star students were catching bass and specks.
No hitches there. No pressure either. Just a relaxed afternoon
on the casting range. Nobody noticed the FOX Sports Cameraman
Chad Breedlove. That was on Saturday and the day before we were
startled by the news that our boat manufacturer had sold the boat
to be used for the filming. But, on a moment's notice and one call,
I placed to Hal Chitham, Hells Bay Boat Works in Titusville saved
our butts by providing us with two boats.
Sunday afternoon we attempted to film the redfish sequences and
were able to capture some in the northern part of the lagoon,
but not enough to make a show (remember the wish list). On
Monday, Capt. Denny Mialki was the featured guide and rounded
out completed hookups and releases of more than 9 redfish.
That's when the front pulled in. Like someone shutting off
the lights the bite was gone. Figure if four guides including
the host are fishing REALLY hard for 5 hours and can't hook up,
then no one can hook up. Now it was Denny who saved our hinnies.
Monday afternoon was put on hold due to weather. We would
resume on Tuesday. On Tuesday the front moved in and the
fishing was off for the next week and a half. So we had
to reschedule everything.
Variety is the key to the success and popularity of Henry's
ongoing TV productions. Man, did we have variety. Wait till
you here about our next sequence filming. I guarantee you are
in for some great fishing adventures. Henry has traveled the
world and in this series, he highlights the top fishing and
golf destinations. He has also been known to catch some
pretty big fish too!
Stay tuned. There is more to come in Part Two.
Please don't teach your trash to swim. ~ Doug
Capt. Doug Sinclair has relocated from New Smyrna Beach, Florida to
Grantsboro, NC. He specializes in fly-fishing and light tackle charters.
Doug charters the Coastal Carolina area of New Bern or Oriental.
Catch him on the web at
www.flyfishacademy.net or call him at (252) 745-3500.
Doug is also a Sponsor here on FAOL.