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‘You Reinvented Fishing Shows'

by Randy Coleman

Brian Egeston is a television writer and producer, novelist, essay writer and commentator for National Public Radio. Among his television credits, he is head writer for one of the most popular and longest running shows, Tyler Perry’s House of Payne.

Egeston has authored several thought-provoking novels that, with depth and humor, explore personal and family relationships, was well as cultural differences that often shape our lives. His books include: An Auburn Autumn, Granddaddy’s Dirt, Catfish Quesadillas, The Big Money Match and Whippins, Switches and Peach Cobbler. You can view samples of Egeston’s work on his web site: http://www.brianwrites.com.

Egeston also is an avid fisherman. Being both an angler and a television producer, he finds himself drawn to fishing shows. About three months ago, while channel surfing, he happened upon Major League Fishing’s first episode from the Challenge Cup on Lake Amistad.

Graciously, Egeston sent an e-mail to Major League Fishing. The subject line reads, “You reinvented fishing shows.” The body of the e-mail said …

I know TV and I love watching fishing on TV. But there's only one angling show I watch religiously ... Major League Fishing. Keep up the amazing work.

-Brian Egeston

Major League Fishing recently contacted Egeston, asking if would be willing to participate in a brief Question-and-Answer forum. He agreed and has submitted the following answers to 12 Major League Fishing questions.

Question: You’re an accomplished author, essayist, television writer, producer, etc. Where does the interest in fishing come from?

Answer: In my previous life, I was a mechanical engineer, so I’m sort of into science and writing is very mental. So fishing is the perfect collision of biology and psychology. Also, I took it up late in life and became an enthusiast after my father-in-law died. He was an avid fisherman, yet we never got the chance to fish together. Now I’m really into it, so I can share it with my son and nephews.

Question: Are you an avid fisherman? If so, what type of fishing do you like? Are you any good? Favorite lake, bait, boat, fishing rod, reel?

Answer: I’m an avid fisherman, mostly bass. I’m not good at all, though you can’t tell from my two boats and garage full of tackle. My favorite hole is Lake Lanier. I’ll throw a deep diving gizzard shad crank bait all day because I’m too impulsive for finesse fishing. My favorite boat is whatever one I’m fishing out of. Favorite rod and reel is whatever bait caster Bass Pro has on sale.

Question: What types of television shows do you watch and like/dislike?

Answer: I write sitcoms, but I love drama. And sports is the ultimate drama. I’m not a huge fan of all reality shows. Some of them are entertaining, if they produce an environment of organic drama and tension sort of like Shark Tank.

Question: What do you think makes compelling television?

Answer: Drama, tension and stakes, and characters. If the subject has something to lose, like money, reputation, pride and the audience knows he/she has something to lose, people will watch it. It’s the same reason we wanna see a train wreck. The anticipation that we know the train is coming, knowing that someone’s life is in danger and the celebration when they’re rescued.

Question: What do you see when you watch traditional fishing shows?

Answer: Like most amateur sports fans, I watch the shows for techniques and tricks. Same reason I watch golf. I want to “play like the pros.” I like fishing shows that teach me something new every episode and have some type of hook … no pun intended.

Question: What do you see when you watch Major League Fishing?

Answer: MLF is incredible. I don’t know if people realize it yet, but it’s the closest thing to the weekend angler’s plight. We go to new lakes, have little to no history of the water and try to catch fish. I couldn’t believe those guys were just showing up without a practice day, without a local guide, without waypoints. Just fifteen minutes and everyone had the same boat. Insane. I learned more about what a guy goes through to be successful on the water than I did on most shows. I see guys finding patterns using baits they’re confident with. And that’s what I do now.

Question: How did you discover Major League Fishing?

Answer: I was channel surfing and wondered why referees were on a boat. I had no idea what I was watching until I heard the format and saw guys get eliminated. Tension, jeopardy, conflict, stakes. It was a TV drama on the lake.

Question: Do you have a favorite angler or favorite anglers? What makes him/her a favorite?

Answer: I like Ish Monroe because he seems like a walking sit-com. I like KVD because he showed up at new lake and caught 40 pounds of fish like it was nothing. I also like Mike Iaconelli because he’s not at all what people expect to see at the boat ramp. They’re all characters. And that makes good TV.