Well, you may or may not have seen the notice on the front page of todayís Banner-Tribune announcing that Iíll be on television in February.
Those of you kind folks who keep track of this dribble on a regular basis know that back in July I flew to Montana to fish trout on the Blackfeet Reservation with guide Joe Kipp for the first of two episodes of Fly Fishing America. Joe then flew down here in November for a less productive but very fun time fishing in Louisiana for the second episode.
Part one of the program, which the producers have titled "Native Waters," will air Feb. 3 at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m., and again Feb. 6 at 7:30 a.m. local time.
The second part will air Feb. 10 at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m., and again on Feb. 13 at 7:30 a.m. OLN is channel 48 on Cox cable.
All this excitement made 2005 quite a roller coaster ride for me. I had published my first book, Native Waters: A Few Moments in a Small Wooden Boat in March and got the call to do the television shoot not long after that. My gosh, can you imagine? I was going to Montana! The Shangri La of fly fishing, thatís what Montana is. Where A River Runs Through It was set, where the buffalo and the grizzly bears roam.
Then the crew came down here, and though Hurricanes Rita and Katrina put a bit of a damper on the freshwater fishing during that time, and rapid-fire cold fronts did me in for the marsh, we were able to catch a few bass and tell a good story, I hope. If nothing else comes of it, Iíll have at least been to Montana and fished some of the most gorgeous country the Great Spirit ever made, next to Louisiana!
Let me tell you, though, I am a nervous wreck about it. Like many people, I hate the way I look on camera, and we all know the camera adds 10 pounds to you, that in addition to the *mumbley-mumble* Iíve gained since I quit smoking in May. I am afraid viewers who donít know me will have the following conversation upon seeing the show:
"I donít know. Looks like a beached whale."
"But itís fly fishing!"
"Yeah. Real smart beached whale, ainít it?"
Or something like that. I was thinking about having a few very close friends over to watch the show with me in a private gatheringÖokay, to tell the truth, I was thinking of renting the Teche Theatre and inviting all of youÖbut decided that if I do, indeed, come off looking like the remnants of a shipwreck, Iíd rather not be seen sobbing uncontrollably.
The producers of the show found me through the writing I do for a website, www.flyanglersonline.com, where I have written a weekly column (kinda regularly, anyway) for about two years now. They also found Dave Micus, a buddy of mine in Massachusetts who fishes striped bass and also writes for FAOL, and who also got his own film segment.
I was watching what I thought were reruns of last seasonís show last Friday and when I looked up I said, "Hey, thatís Dave," and I realized it was the new season I wasnít expecting until April. My heart leaped into my throat and it was all I could do not to sell the house, load up the truck just like the Clampetts, and head for Bever-lee. Hills, that is. I looked on the Internet and found the schedule and just stared at it for long, long moments, thinking, "Well, thereís a fatal hemorrhage waiting to happen."
Itíll be okay, really. Most of you kind folks reading this, not being fly anglers, wonít even notice how terribly I fished compared to Joe, who was I think born with a fly rod in his hand. Iím more worried about the people that do know a little something about fly fishing, whoíll be sending me emails saying things like, "Hey, was that a fly rod you were fishing with or a baseball bat?" and even "Give it up and get a Zebco, ya bum."
Anyway, Iíll remind you again, right before the show airs, if you want to check it out. Iíll be catching rainbow and cutthroat trout in Montana, and not catching much in Louisiana, though Joe managed a few bass. You may even see a familiar face or two thatíll surprise you, but I havenít even had a sneak preview of the way the show was finalized, so I may be surprised as well.
I never expected all this. I just published my book, an autobiography really, and figured thatíd be the end of it. It may still be. Nothing about this guarantees fame and fortune, of course. I might sell a few books as a result of it, but I doubt Random House is going to be beating my door down for a Native Waters: The Sequel subtitled How I Got Caught Fishing In A Fiberglass Boat Like the Philistines.
Either way it turns out, as Iíve mentioned before, stop asking me if Iíll "know you when I get rich and famous." The simple answer remains, as stated before, if I like you now, fame and fortune wonít change that. If I donít have much use for you at the moment, fame and fortune is not likely to improve my opinion very much.