It seems like every year as another season of WGFS starts up, I feel compelled to wax poetically about how great and fun it is to produce this show. If someone didn't know any better, you might think we go into mourning the day the Zeason finale airs until we start shooting the next season. Not true, but we do throw a heck of a wake.
I can't tell you how excited I am about the first show for 2010; let's put it this way, if the Zeason Finale was the funeral this show rises from its ashes like a giant phoenix of fury. Zona dubbed it the Dragon Slayer Edition and the title couldn't be more appropriate. The Columbia River's oversize sturgeon are an incredible fish to see caught and it has nothing to do with the amazing battle and effort to get it to the boat. Of course, I wasn't the one clashing with these titans. No for me it was the visual, the moment when you physically saw the giant sturgeon and the amazing realization that this fish and many more just like it actually exist and are not mythical monsters.
The guest for this show was just as amazing. Tommy Sanders has been a fixture on ESPN Outdoors for 20 years. Anyone who watches the Bassmasters has seen him working with his co-host, Mark Zona, covering the Bassmaster Tournament Trail. At times it seems that Tommy's job is to play the straight man to Zona's antics. That may be the case in the studio but on the water all bets are off. I'm actually convinced that many of Zona's bad habits I mean quirky traits; have been picked up from Tommy.
Speaking of Zona's bad habits, this show has only amplified Z's obsession with catching giant creatures that swim. I'm a little intimidated with the idea of what's next after this?
The final and most important ingredient to this sturgeon stew was our guide John Garrett. John has perfected the art of catching these oversized swimming serpents. He knows exactly when, where and how to do it. Frankly, he is a producers dream I almost wish this was the World's Greatest Sturgeon Show; every shoot would be a slam dunk.
Think about this for a minute. These freshwater fish can reach up to 1000 pounds. These fish exist in the United States and are remarkably accessible and catchable. Sure there are many great experiences out there to be had but can you honestly say you have slayed a dragon? OK neither can we, but after tangling with oversized sturgeon we have a pretty good idea.