Lifestyles of the fish and famous
On a recent chilly morning, complete with a biting north wind, Pine Island resident Aaron Adams wasn't having a good fishing day in Pine Island Sound - in two hours, he caught two spotted sea trout.
Six months before, the Mote Marine Laboratory senior scientist and director of operations for Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, had better luck in more comfortable conditions: He was catching bonefish and tarpon in Belize, the Keys and Lee County for a seven-part television fishing series that will premiere Friday on the Outdoor Channel.
"Buccaneers & Bones" is a different kind of fishing show.
One difference is a roster of very serious fly fishermen: TV journalist Tom Brokaw, actors Michael Keaton and Zach Gilford, author Thomas McGuane, fly-fishing guide Lori-Ann Murphy, Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia outdoor clothing, and Patagonia marketing director Bill Klyn.
While the program's focus is fly fishing for bonefish and tarpon, "Buccaneers & Bones" is more than a bunch of people catching a bunch of fish.
"I don't watch fishing shows, but I'd watch this one," Adams said. "It's not just about fishing. It's about what's needed to keep the fish around and make sure we'll have these fisheries in 30, 40, 50 years.
"So it's a fishing show with great fishing footage and a conservation message - it's amazing how few fishing shows talk about fishing in a responsible manner."
Among the footage shot in Lee County is a segment of Adams catching a tarpon just off the beach of Gasparilla Island.
Earlier this year, many of the same fishermen, including Adams, appeared in the ESPN series “Pirates of the Flats,” shot in the Bahamas; “Pirates” and “Buccaneers” were the brainchildren of Klyn and Chris Dorsey, board members of Key West-based Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, which finances and conducts research on bonefish, tarpon and permit.
As the trust’s director of operations, Adams was asked to participate in both series.
With such an assortment of rich and famous fishermen, ego trips could easily have become an issue.
“There were no egos whatsoever, no tantrums,” Adams said. “They were all easy to work with, and they were very dedicated to the reasons for the show. They all also wanted to do some really good fishing.
“I don’t think we would have had the same result if we had Lady Gaga on board.”
Asked about the two actors, Adams said:
“Keaton is pretty funny. He’s always going, that’s for sure. I’d say he’s pretty high-energy.
“Zach is great to fish with. He’s interested in learning and getting better at fly fishing. He took the usual on-boat heckling pretty well.”
As much fun as it might sound, shooting “Buccaneers & Bones” could be grueling, with fishermen and camera crews on the water sometimes from 4 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“It was pretty intense,” Adams said. “We stayed out there as long as we needed to. In that tropical heat, it’s not easy. These guys are all pros, so they stuck it out. I was pretty tired at the end. The days all mix into one.”
As to his own shot at TV fame, Adams said he prefers anonymity.
“One time, the FedEx guy was delivering a package, and he said, ‘Hey, you’re on that ESPN show’ — that’s not good,” Adams said. “I don’t understand the whole celebrity thing. It kind of creeps me out.”TO WATCH
The first episode of “Buccaneers & Bones” will be on at 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. Friday, 1 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday and at 8:30 a.m. Sunday on the Outdoor Channel.
Each week for the following six weeks, a new episode will be featured at the same times.
Buccaneers & Bones trailerhttp://tarbone.org/media-room.html
QUOTE FROM BUCCANEERS & BONES:
• Michael Keaton:
“To me, the future is worrisome. I just don’t think people are really taking it seriously enough. And I think that people are just now starting to realize that you don’t equate environmentalism with elitism, or us against them. It’s blatantly obvious that everything needs protection.’’
“There’s so many reasons these fish are important to protect. Tarpon have been around for 50 million years. Since the dinosaurs. They’re basically swimming dinosaurs. I can’t see anyone who that wouldn’t resonate with.’’
“When it comes to the ecosystem, and you take a creature like tarpon, you don’t want to be the generation that turns out the lights after 50 million years. We don’t know a lot about tarpon, we’re still finding out more every day. The fact is, it fits in the maritime ecosystem, and the whole ecology, and we need to know about how it fits in and why it’s there. My own judgment is that it’s a very noble creature.’’