While shooting Animal Planet's new fishing show "Off the Hook: Extreme Catches," host Showtime Eric Young asked numerous times, "Can I die doing this?".
"Some of this stuff is super dangerous," says Young, and he's not kidding -- from catching sharks atop a paddleboard to scuba spear fishing under the oil rigs in the Gulf Coast, the adventures documented in this series aren't your average weekend on the water. We spoke to Young, whose day-job is another kind of extreme -- he's a pro wrestler in the TNA Impact Wrestling league -- about answering this show's, well, wild call of the wild.
The idea behind this show almost seems to be: What are the most difficult fish to catch, and then how can we make catching them even crazier?
It's American ingenuity. Someone described it as "River Monsters" meets "Dirtiest Jobs." So it's not so much the craziest fish, it's more like crazy and inventive ways to catch fish, or crazy, inventive ways to catch crazy kinds of fish. In the first episode ... we were catching sharks with pantyhose [stuffed with bait] -- kind of an ingenious way of doing it.
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Before this show, were you the kind of guy who'd go fishing every free moment you got?
I used to when I was a kid; my dad got me into it. But then I got into pro wrestling, and that basically consumed all of my time. Like, every hour of every day was dedicated to making it in wrestling. I'm way better fishing now with 10 episodes under my belt. I'm relatively knowledgeable about safety and just fishing in general now. The reality is, nobody fishes like this. It's crazy stuff.
On the show, how do you balance showing the adrenaline vs. downtime that is inherent in fishing?
I think that's what fishing is. It can be hours of monotony, sprinkled with seconds to minutes of pure adrenaline. That's why a lot of people like it. You get out on the boat, you get your bait in the water, and then you just relax. You can sip on a few beers and kick back, and then bam!. Now you're getting a bite, and now it's full adrenaline, so you're changing gears really quickly. That's a big appeal for a lot of guys -- especially catching big stuff, like shark and sailfish. But it can be a lot of waiting. It's a saying that we heard a lot: "It's called fishing, not catching." No doubt about that.