Inside a TV show

About the author

Stephen Headrick

Stephen Headrick

Stephen Headrick is better known to the bass fishing world as the Smallmouth Guru. He lives in Celina, Tenn., and is the owner of Punisher Lures.

I’m out on the water filming a TV show about the float-and-fly. I thought maybe you guys would like to know something about what goes on behind the scenes. There’s more to it than you might think. It’s not all about catching fish.

One thing that I find interesting is that it’s all visual. It’s not like when you and a friend are out fishing on a Saturday. You have to fish where the cameraman can get good film of what you’re doing so the viewers can see what’s going on. You can’t always fish in the spot that you want to or from the angle you want to.

Maybe you want to fish a point by approaching it from the south. But, if it’s noon you can’t do that because then you’ll put the camera looking at the sun if he or she is to the north of you. Backlight looks cool in a photograph but ruins a fishing show, most of the time anyway.

Sometimes, depending upon the terrain you can move the camera boat around, but not always. My point is that a TV show it isn’t just about catching fish. It’s about catching them in a way that the viewer can see and appreciate.

The other thing is that you have to be careful about what you wear. Different shows want different colored clothing. I know it sounds crazy but color really does make a difference. It’s one of those things you don’t notice unless it’s bad. You have to be careful about sponsors, too. Highlighting direct competitors can be a problem.

But the big thing I really want you to know is that we don’t fake anything. Every fish you see me catch, from when the bobber goes down until she’s in the boat, is real. We show it just the way it happened on the water.

The concept of real includes our tackle. We film with what we use on an everyday basis. Regardless of whether it’s a rod and reel, spool of line or my fly what you see is my stuff that comes out of my boat. If I don’t use it, I’m not going to tell you to use it.

We do, however, edit the film. Obviously, if we go an hour without a bite we don’t show that in a 30 minute program. And, to be fair, we mostly show the better fish. That’s human nature. Nobody wants to watch me catch 12-inch smallmouth bass. It’s more fun to see the 4 and 5 pounders. We also edit for quality.

My philosophy, and that of the people I work with, is that the best fishing shows do more than entertain you. They educate you. We do our best to explain things as they are happening so you can follow not only what we do but also why we do it.

The show I’m filming right now is for The Christian Angler Outdoors Television. I don’t know when it’ll air but, if possible, I’ll let you know far enough in advance so you can watch it.

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