The forecast called for light winds and temps in the low 70's, the type of day that God made for fisherman. We had planned a trip to the Mississippi River to film a segment for Prairie Sportsman TV, and while clouds and rain can ruin those plans in a hurry, today, Mother Nature cooperated.
I love it when a plan comes together.
Cameraman Dan Balluff and I pulled into a wooded park along the east side of the river and stepped onto the deck of Eric Altena's jet drive-powered boat, pointed the bow upriver and held on tight. A jet powered boat allows you to get into shallow water areas that more traditional boats with outboards cannot. In fact, according to Altena, his boat will, astonishingly, go through water that's only 3" deep when running wide open, and less than a foot while drifting.
We ventured across gravel sandbars, under overhanging branches and skimmed along shorelines in search of healthy smallmouth bass. The legendary river, did not disappoint.
There are times when you film for television and you experience, "the curse of the camera." Often, you'll have to film multiple days to get the footage you need. Not on this day. We spent around four hours on the water and left happy, knowing we've got over 30 fish on camera, bass dancing across the surface, some of the most scenic stretches of the big river and some great information from the person in charge of managing the waters in this part of the state. Altena, is the Area Fisheries Supervisor in Little Falls for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
I'm excited to see how the show looks when it's done. You'll have your chance to see it coming in early 2018. Make sure to set your DVR today so you don't miss it. You might even catch reruns of our 2017 season if you haven't seen those yet. Search for "Prairie Sportsman" on your guide, set it and forget it!
We'll have some tips for you on the show, but here's a big tip if you want to catch more smallmouth: crayfish! I know it's no secret that smallmouth like crayfish, but it simply works best. We never even changed lures the entire time on the water. We used crayfish colored swim jigs tipped with blue crayfish plastics. We fished fast and covered water-and slammed fish! We also didn't always focus on rocks...you'll have to watch the show to see what we mean!
If you followed us on Snapchat, you would have gotten a "sneak peek" at the film shoot. Add us now to see "behind the scenes" on future filming trips!