We got our first television set back in the early sixties. My two favourite shows were Have Gun Will Travel, a weekly western adventure series starring Richard Boone as Paladin, the knight without armour in a savage land, and Ted Peck’s Tides and Trails, a show about hunting, fishing and the great outdoors. He used to end his show by saying, “tight lines and straight shooting.” I couldn’t wait for either of those shows to come on.
Of course, there was also the Ed Sullivan Show, which came on Sunday evenings. I particularly remember being glued to the television set on the night of February 9, 1964 – along with an estimated 70 million other people – waiting for the Beatles to make their first appearance. My life changed forever that evening.
Over the years there have been a few pretty good westerns on TV, but none ever stood up to the knight without armour in a savage land. I’m not sure if any of the shows from back then would stand up to today’s standards, especially when it comes to the sets and scripts. They were pretty simple and cardboardy back then. There have also been a lot of fishing and outdoor shows on television over the years. Almost all of the them have been produced in the U.S. and fall into the what I would call the “good ol’ boy” category. Most of them are hosted by guys with names like Lefty Crawdad or Marlin Jones.
It’s an endless parade of guys catching one bass after another – guys who insist on kissing fish on the mouth and laughing like – well, they sort of remind me of the movie Deliverance. There is even a cable channel now solely devoted to fishing shows. If they aren’t hosted by guys with outfits that make them look like racing car drivers, they are hosted by women who are constantly squealing throughout the entire show. Yes, I admit I’ve watched them – once.
Having said all this, there are a couple of fishing shows I don’t mind. They’re on the Cottage Network. They are both hosted by the same person, a fellow from Quebec by the name of Cyril Chauquet. One is called The Fishing Adventurer and the other is Wild Catch. It’s sort of hard to tell but, to me, it appears to be the same show with two different names. Be that as it may, it/they are pretty good shows. He travels all over the world fishing for all sorts of exotic fish. (Some of the best shows were filmed right here in Canada.) What I particularly enjoy is all the background and travel information that he adds to the show.
Instead of going out with big fancy charters, he usually goes out with locals in their pangas. Half the time it seems their outboard motors die or he loses ‘the big one’ just before he gets it to the boat. Either way, he’s a pretty likeable sort of guy and it/they are pretty down-to-earth fishing shows.
I don’t mind watching the occasional fishing show, although I must say I’d rather be out fishing in real life. When it comes right down to it, we’ve got some of the best fishing on the planet right here in the Interior. A lot of those guys who have fishing shows want to come here to fish for rainbow trout in our lakes, and salmon and steelhead in our world-class rivers.
Maybe one of these days, Cyril Chauquet will phone up and say he wants to go out fishing with me in my 12-foot aluminum car topper or, better yet, maybe he’ll say he wants me go come along with him when he is going to fish for rooster fish in Le Pas, Mexico, or tuna off the coast of Nova Scotia or the Azores. I’ll make sure my cell phone charged and somewhere in with my tackle box just in case.