ALPENA -There will be several events taking place this week that will put Alpena and Northeast Michigan in the focus of the rest of the nation later this year. Camera crews will be rolling for an upcoming reality show, as well as a commercial that will be showcasing local lakes and attractions.
At a special press conference at the Sanctuary Inn Monday it was announced a bass fishing reality program featuring the fishermen of the Jack Link's Major League Fishing is being filmed in the area. Jack Link's Beef Jerky also will be filming a "Messin' with Sasquatch" television ad while on the lake fishing. The commercials featuring Bigfoot are among the most popular and comical on TV.
The spotlight however will be on the fishermen and their escapades fishing. The three day tournament, which will feature fishing on three local lakes and their battle against one another, head to head to win the championship. The event will be documented from start to finish, but the results will not be released to keep the conclusion secret.
News Photo by Steve Schulwitz
Shaw Grigsby fine tunes his Lowrance system after spending the day fishing in Alpena County. Grigsby and 23 other professional fishermen in Major League Fishing league are competing against one another, while being filmed for a series that will air after the first of the year. Major League Fishing is the number one rated fishing show on television.
The show is centered around 24 fishermen who partnered with the Outdoor Channel to help take fishing on television to the next level. For the event they square off against one another on bodies of water they are unaware of until the trailer is backed up to the boat launch.
Boyd Duckett is a past Bass Masters Classic Champion and will be fishing in Alpena. He said the show not only pits the fishermen against each other, but there are rules that if violated result in penalties. He said a fish when being unhooked can never touch the handler, or the floor of the boat, or a penalty will be assessed. He said the show allows novice fishermen an inside look at how even the pros struggle to catch fish when they encounter new locations and elements, as well as see how they overcome the hurdles to catch fish.
"We assembled 24 of the most influential fishermen and we are basically trying to create a new sport," Duckett said. "Our television product has never appealed to the masses. We want to make a television product that is more sports like and not based solely on outdoors ... We want to do what the World series of Poker did and what some of the other emerging sports are doing."
Alpena Convention and Visitors Bureau President Mary Beth Stutzman said there has been a lot of work done behind the scenes to get things coordinated for the television show's filming. She said everything had to be done in secret because the location of the lakes the pros were going to be fishing on could not be revealed to them. Stutzman said bringing the show and its crew to Alpena has been in the works for a while, but information could not be released because leaking the fishing locations to the fishermen could spoil the entire concept of the show.
"I had heard that they were poking around in Michigan and other cities and I called them and told them they need to visit and consider Alpena if they were looking for good bass fishing," Stutzman said. "We are known for some of the best bass fishing in the state. I convinced them to come and check out Alpena and once they did their due diligence, and came out and fished, they saw the opportunities and it was a no-brainer to come to Alpena, I think."
Communications Director Randy Coleman said Alpena will be highlighted when the show is released and as a result, the area cold see a rush of fishermen visiting the area. He said promoting the communities Major League Fishing partner with is one of the goals of the league.
"Everyone will know about Alpena and where the fishermen are fishing," Coleman said. "All of the other places we have filmed have told us they have seen a tremendous economic boost while we're here and especially after we leave. We take pride in having a positive impact on the communities we visit."
The series is expected to run in January 2014.
Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews. Read his blog, Upon Further Review ... at www.thealpenanews.com