How to Be a Kayak Fishing TV Star | Kayak Angler Magazine | Rapid Media
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Lights, camera, kayak fishing. A moment in the limelight takes a life of preparation. Lights, camera, kayak fishing. A moment in the limelight takes a life of preparation. Photo by Will Richardson

In the Fall issue of Kayak Angler we give a play-by-play on how to become a kayak fishing television star. Here's the full interviews with the biggest stars in the sport and how they go there. 

Chad Hoover

Kayak Bassin' TV

KA: Tell us how you got a fishing show.

CH: I wrote a book, Kayak Bass Fishing, as a partnership with the publisher, Heliconia Press. Shortly after the book was published the company began to focus more heavily on video production. They had produced instructional and promotional DVDs over the years, so it wasn't a completely new arena for them. Initially, we created a web series for Kayak Bassin TV. The production company pitched the idea and the video samples to the network and the rest has just unfolded from there.

KA: What qualities make a good TV show host? 

CH: Obviously being comfortable teaching, entertaining and engaging an audience while being in front of a camera are necessities, but you also have to have a genuine commitment to continually improving, a willingness to accept criticism and dedication to keep a positive attitude. 

KA: What are the biggest challenges to maintaining a TV show? 

CH: The schedule can be pretty brutal at certain times, being away from home is great at times and a real struggle at other times. Maintaining the balance is the key, but it is definitely the biggest challenge. 

KA: What advice would you offer a hopeful TV host? 

CH: Don't expect it to happen overnight. Don't expect it to happen in the relatively near future. If being a television host is your goal, start creating content and developing your brand, your voice and your comfort level through whatever outlets are available. YouTube, Social Media and doing live seminars is a great place to start and they will pay huge dividends down the road because they will continue to be part of your brand.  

KA: What’s the best part of having a television show? 

CH: The places that I get to go, the people that I get to meet and access to the top products in the industry before they are available are all great things about my job. By far, the best part of my job is the response that I get from fans and the interactions that I get to have with them. 

 

Jim Sammons

Kayak Fishing Show

KA: Tell us how you got a fishing show.

JS: I was fairly well known in kayak fishing for some of my catches over the years, and I had started making videos of my trips with clients in Baja. I got more of the bug to share these videos and pitched the idea to Ken Whiting of Heliconia press to try and do a show. He came back saying he would like to do a video series with me. After doing our first video and beginning our second, WFN approached us and asked us to turn it into a TV show for their network. Of course we were the first kayak fishing show, so we brought to the table a very unique product. 

KA: What qualities make a good TV show host?

JS: I think you need a few things, several of which I had to learn on the fly. First off just being  comfortable speaking in front of a camera. You need the ability to keep your energy up even when you have had a long tough day of fishing. You need to be believable. Fisherman will know right away if you are full of it, if you know the subject, species or product it just makes it so much easier and more believable. 

KA: What are the biggest challenges to maintaining a TV show?

JS: We are airing our 100th episode this week so I think we have done a pretty good job of this. Fresh content, destinations and guests surely helps keep the show interesting., 

KA: What advice would you offer a hopeful TV host?

JS: Don't expect to make a fortune at this or have overnight success. Straight up I am able to do this because I have a wonderful very supportive wife. No one is making a killing doing this, you do it for the love of it and the lifestyle. If I was to offer anything to someone trying to do this, I would say, make the sacrifice, do the hard work and then go looking for sponsors. You need a solid product before you put your hand out asking for support. Sponsors get hit up daily by tons of guys trying to do the same thing as you. What makes you stand out from them. Under promise and over deliver is a good line to stand by when it comes to dealing with sponsors. Unless you are a willing to fund everything yourself you will need sponsors and you have to keep them happy. Find a balance in your product of good solid content and a bit of commercialism to pay the bills. 

KA: What’s the best part of having a television show?

JS: I would say the best thing  for me is the ability to travel to so many cool places and all the friends I have made all over the world. I have friends that are visiting me this year from Sweden, and friends that I am going to visit with my wife in Puerto Rico this year. I am truly blessed with so many friends that I would have never known if not for this show. 

 

Drew Gregory

Hooked on Wild Waters

KA: Tell us how you got a fishing show. 

DG: Well, "got" is an interesting term here because you don't really just "get" your own show like you get a bike for Christmas. It's like anyone out there who wants that next big or promotion; it takes hard work, dedication and you basically just have to go get it and make it happen! Creating it of course takes a production company and costs a lot of money, so unless you're independently wealthy you're going to need sponsors who believe in you (A LOT). For me, how I made that happen, was by building my name/brand first by starting a few kayak fishing websites and the River Bassin' Tournament Trail. Those things eventually got me connected with Jackson Kayak to design my signature series kayak, the Coosa. The Coosa, in case you're new to kayak fishing, was a game changer to the kayak fishing industry; it was the first sit-on-top kayak to have an external frame seat that moves high or low and had many other cool options like rod stagers, paddle stagers, drag chain chutes, lockable hatches, smart tackle storage etc. Today, of course, you can't find a fishing kayak without an external frame seat and hi/lo option/s, plus variations of many of the other features that all started from that original Coosa! It set my career, and reputation, in the industry on a credible path. At this point I was able to take this solid kayak fishing resume to sponsors in order to pitch the concept of Hooked on Wild Waters. However, you can't just tell them, "It's going to look cool, trust me." They will want/need to actually see something that can show them what the show will look like; they need to see the quality, style, locations, and how their products would be integrated into the show. In order to do that, before I had any money from sponsors, I spent over $10,000 of my own money on what is called a "sizzle reel," which is basically just a short example of what an episode would look like. Some people may spend more, some may spend less, but the better the sizzle reel the more likely you'll get the sponsors to say "yes." Once you have the commitments then you just have to find a production company that is willing to produce, film and edit the show for the committed amount, or less, and then go do it! 

KA: What qualities make a good TV show host? 

DG: The biggest quality of being a TV fishing show host isn't what many people would think. It isn't that he/she must be the best fisherman out there. Obviously you do have to be a proficient and knowledgeable fisherman, but it is definitely more about having the right personality to speak into an inanimate object with incredible enthusiasm as if it's a living person! You also have to be a good story teller, and have incredible patience because fishing in front of a camera crew is not even close to the same as fishing by yourself with a couple GoPros! You can't just go where you want to go and do what you want to do whenever you want to do it. It's a lot like taking a kid fishing...you yourself will not get much fishing in! The amount of casts I make on a day of filming is probably about 1/4 of the amount of casts I you would make on a normal day of fishing. It's a miracle we ever catch any fish! Haha. However, this is how it has to be if you want to tell the "story" the right way. If all my show had were shots of me fishing then it wouldn't be a good story with a beginning and complete ending. I would also say that a good host has to be able to roll with the punches because when weather affects a shoot, you can't just change the shoot days. Too many people's schedules are involved and you just have to make the most of whatever happens on those couple days that you've scheduled months in advance. This means being able to stay positive and just turn lemons into lemonade the best you can! 

KA: What are the biggest challenges to maintaining a TV show? 

DG: I often feel like maintaining a TV show is harder than starting one! When you accumulate sponsors at the beginning it's very exciting, but what you've really done is gained a bunch of new bosses! Ha! That's part of the deal though, and if not for them there would be no show. You must continue to market and promote their products the best you can and to their satisfaction, or else they can pull their support and you may not be able to have another season! It is especially challenging in my show because I don't want it to ever feel like a commercial for products. If they come up naturally in the show then that's great, but if it feels forced then it ruins the entertainment value and then viewers and sponsors lose. I'm blessed to have great products that I genuinely use on the water, and sponsors that also want my show to entertain first and foremost because this will, in the long run, be the best path for long term success for everyone. 

KA: What advice would you offer a hopeful TV host? 

DG: Practice, practice practice. I started off with just my GoPros and taught myself how to edit. The more you make fishing videos, the better you get at all aspects - hosting, fishing, editing etc. Find any opportunity to do seminars, or speak in public about kayak fishing! Make a video promoting a product that you would love to have as a sponsor and send it to them or tag them on social media. From there, if they like it, they can see the quality of your work and it could open a door to discuss the opportunity to do more videos and/or sponsor your show.  

KA: What’s the best part of having a television show? 

DG: Honestly, the best part is being able to positively influence anglers and help them have amazing wild experiences of their own. My goal in life has always been to help make other's lives better, on and off the water, and now I definitely have an amazing platform to do so. I'm grateful that our subscribers keep growing so I can continue to do this for all of you out there that love watching me succeed, or fail, each episode at trying to catch fish on yet another wild waters adventure! 

 

Morgan Promnitz

Hobie Outdoor Adventures

KA: What qualities make a good TV show host?

MP: First of all I don’t consider myself a great TV show host, I’m more of a mediocre personality that got lucky and fell in to hosting Hobie Outdoor Adventures. I’ve learned a lot since we began filming the show in 2010. It’s hard work pulling all of the pieces of the puzzle together. From organizing times, locations and personnel, to ordering and rigging product on site, and filming the show after sometimes very little sleep, battling weather and time, it sounds a lot more romantic than it usually is. With that said, who would turn down getting paid to go fishing, and better yet, getting filmed while you do it. It’s very rewarding getting to share my kayak fishing experiences with others and something I dreamt of doing for a living as a youngster. So, here are the qualities I think that person needs:

  • A positive attitude
  • Upbeat personality and ability to turn it on in front of the camera
  • Well-spoken with an uplifting tone
  • Extensive fishing and product knowledge
  • An eye for making sure all sponsors logos and materials are well covered
  • Strength to haul product around
  • Physically able and fit to paddle/pedal miles
  • Ability to perform with little sleep
  • Adapt to changing situations and make the best of them
  • Think on your feet and react fast when windows of opportunity arise
  • Consideration for the camera man and openness to listen to what they need
  • Be able to relate to the viewers of the show
  • A sense of humor

KA: What are the biggest challenges to maintaining a TV show? 

MP: Time is my hardest factor. I have a full time office job, so squeezing film shoots in to a busy schedule can be challenging. Lack of time to prepare for film shoots and think about a story line, finding new and exciting locations, new content, making the best of tough conditions, working with sales and marketing teams to integrate relevant products, balancing life and making time for friends and family

KA: What advice would you offer a hopeful TV host? 

MP: Go for it and give it you’re all to make it happen, but know that it is a lot more work than you’re expecting it to be. Always keep a positive attitude and adapt to bad situations and turn them in to fun and interesting content that people will enjoy watching.

KA: What’s the best part of having a television show? 

MP: The most rewarding part is when someone walks up to you and tells you how watching the show is the reason they got in to kayak fishing. Having the ability to inspire people to try a sport that gets them outdoors and enriches their life through fun and fresh air makes me feel good.  

 

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