These web fishing series need to be expanded and available on television.
In the past 10 or 15 years, we've seen a great expansion in the number of fishing related shows on television. An influx of reality programming and outdoor-geared cable channels has given anglers plenty of great programming to watch on a regular basis.
However, some of the best fishing shows still aren't even on TV; they're on the Web. With that thought in mind, we took a look at five fishing web series that we think could hit it big on cable television. From programs that have proven dependable and enjoyable to shows that haven't even started yet but boast a lot of promise, these five series should all be on your radar.
View the slideshow to see the shows, and leave a comment with any we missed.
Though it hasn't actually started yet, we have high hopes that "ThunderCatfishing" will go down in our annals as one of the finest fishing related web series ever to hit the internet. The plan for the show is simple: it will follow a group of angler buddies "through a tournament catfishing season in the Midwest." The first season of the series - which is set to begin in late March and run through October, thereby spanning the entirety of the tournament fishing season - will include eight episodes and has the goal of "sharing tips and good times."
The creators of the show have supposedly done their homework in preparation for their series premiere. They sifted through "hours upon hours" of fishing and outdoor shows, taking notes on what worked and what didn't, and making a list of goals and techniques that they can use to make their own fishing series an essential viewing experience for anglers everywhere. Ultimately, they came to the realization that most shows tip the scales a bit too much in the educational direction. And while tips, tricks, and strategies for fishing can be extremely helpful and are one of the big reasons most of us tune in to outdoor shows at all, they can also result in a fairly dry viewing experience. The "ThunderCatfishing" guys want to make sure the entertainment and excitement is there to keep viewers coming back, so we're excited to see what they come up with.
2. "Kings of Game"
Following two brothers, Travis and Bryan Holeman, as they hunt, fish, shoot, and just generally explore the many passions of the outdoors, "Kings of Game" is a fascinating and well-crafted web series that we would love to see make the jump to cable. The Holeman brothers make for intriguing characters: the show's marketing team has described them as having "the grace of a bull in a china store, the penchant for mischief of Tom Sawyer, and the explorer's curiosity of Lewis and Clark." If that description doesn't make you want to watch, then nothing will.
Presented by Outdoor Outlaws, "Kings of Game" has more professional production qualities than many of the web series out there - a fact that would make it a natural candidate for an upgrade to the big leagues. The charm of the program is its versatility, as we follow the "Kings" from one state to the next (Wyoming, Nebraska, Montana, etc.) and watch them fish for trout and shoot for big game prey. But perhaps the best part of the series is the brothers themselves, who serve as perfect avatars for our own fishing and hunting obsessions, and who turn "Kings of Game" into a must-watch study on what it means to be a die-hard outdoorsman.
3. "Magnetic North"
Unlike the other entries on this list, "Magnetic North" was a one-off kind of program rather than a series that creators expected to expand beyond a single season. However, the entire five-part series can be viewed on AlaskaFlyOut.com, and it's absolutely worth going back and watching if you've been considering an off-the-grid escape to the Alaskan frontier. The program focuses on fishing, speaking with anglers and fishing guides as its main sources, but its appeal goes beyond simple scenes of fishermen landing catches.
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"Magnetic North" provides a window into the mystery and magnificence of Alaska. It's filled with glorious shots of open landscapes and gorgeous vistas, wildlife populations, and many of Alaska's wonderful fishing waters. In its five installments, "Magnetic North" features everything from Bristol Bay and the Kenai River to a heli-fish adventure in the mountains. All along, the show is brought to the next level by eye-opening interviews, great production values, and stunning video footage. It's essentially the Planet Earth of fishing themed web series.
4. "Hooked Up with Tom Colicchio"
In one of the coolest fishing web series concepts we've heard of, each episode of "Hooked Up" puts celebrity chef Tom Colicchio on a fishing boat with a different person. Sometimes, Colicchio's guest is a well-known athlete; sometimes, it's another noted culinary specialist; other times, it's a famous celebrity. From rock star Perry Farrell (of the band Jane's Addiction) to actor Anthony Mackie (known for roles in The Hurt Locker and The Adjustment Bureau), "Hooked Up" has so far featured a number of interesting guests.
Through it all, Colicchio - perhaps best known for his judging gig on the show Top Chef - keeps up dynamic conversation interspersed with exciting fishing scenes. It's the perfect mix of talk show and fishing show, and the frequent change in locales - from Montauk to Louisiana to Florida - keeps the fishing fresh enough that we're counting the days until the series comes back. (It currently seems to be on a winter hiatus.) Of all the fishing series on the web, "Hooked Up" would probably stand the best chance of becoming a hit on television.
5. "Wicked Tuna: Reel Talk"
Okay, we might be cheating a bit here, since Wicked Tuna actually IS a TV show - and a great one at that, airing Sundays on the National Geographic channel - but we couldn't resist putting this intriguing new web series on the list. Of all of the web series on this list, "Reel Talk" is probably the one that is currently generating the most buzz, partially because of its connection to Wicked Tuna, partially because of its National Geographic sponsorship, and partially because it's a damn good program.
The series brings Wicked Tuna captains Dave Carraro, Paul Hebert, and TJ Ott together for a talk show concept that will air online every week after the television broadcast of Wicked Tuna. The show will give viewers a chance to ask questions of the captains, and is being hosted by the charming and charismatic Mike Salk. It's precisely the kind of program we'd like to watch on ESPN, but seeing a half hour of great fishing talk on a web series every week isn't the worst deal.