Working without a net

I'm about to shoot the first episode of Going Ike, my new TV show. I can’t remember being this excited about a project.

Christmas is just a couple of weeks away. It’s one of my favorite times of the year. Other than the obvious reasons, I like it because it’s a time I can be with my family, have a good time and just kick back and relax.

I’ve written about this before but I think it’s worth repeating. Our business is a tough one. There’s almost constant travel, and catching fish to get paid is a lot different than catching them for fun. Along with those pressures comes the work off the water. In some cases, that’s the hardest part. All that cuts into the time you can spend with loved ones and people you care about. I can’t wait for next week.

Before that, however, I have to shoot the first episode of Going Ike, my new TV show. I can’t remember being this excited about a project. In my next column, we’ll get into the details but for now let me say it’ll be different from any other show you’ve ever seen.

We’re going to let anglers from around the country send us audition videos. (Please, don’t send them now. We’ll tell you how, when and where later.) The angler will pick their lake or river, and he or she will not be limited to picking bass venues. They can pick any place or species they want.

They’ll also get to pick the challenge. Nothing much is off-limits unless it gets really out of hand. Things like two bass over 10 pounds, two big sailfish, a dozen crappie over 14 inches or a 50-pound flathead will all be fair game. I’ll have to measure up to their standards.

On top of that, I won’t know where I’m going, or what I’ll be fishing for, until I’m on the way. I won’t be allowed to talk to them until I arrive at their destination. We’ll film between six and eight hours and that’s it. No three or four day shoots to make sure we get something good. I’ll either make the grade, or I won’t. It’ll be like watching a trapeze artist work without a net. There’s always a chance for disaster. You only go around once though.

About the only thing I’m going to do work wise after we shoot the pilot is put the finishing touches on The Bass University. That’s one of the off the water things that’s hard work. But it’s the kind of work I love. Teaching anglers to fish and helping them catch more fish is really something. It’s almost as much fun as learning and catching them yourself.

Our schedule is set. We have an early January seminar in Shreveport, a late January one in Rosemont, Ill., one in Worcester, Mass., the second week of February and another one the next week in Oaks, Pa. After that, there’ll be a couple more in March in Suffern, N.Y., and Orange Beach, Ala.

There are discounts available. Check everything out at if you can.