One beat-up project boat, six unique fisheries, ten brave anglers, unlimited headaches and very bad ideas.
One beat-up project boat, six unique fisheries, ten brave anglers, unlimited headaches and very bad ideas.
To kick off Das Boat Northeast, Ryan Callaghan joins Joe Cermele in his home state of New Jersey to chase down striped bass—one of the most economically important fish in the region. But before they get after them, they’ve got to put the finishing touches on our 1973 Mako, which took months to turn from a pile of rotten fiberglass into a seaworthy vessel.
In this episode, Captain Frank Crescitelli and MeatEater’s own Chef Jean-Paul Bourgeois get down and dirty in New Jersey’s iconic Barnegat Bay. While their focus is exploring what happened to the once flourishing weakfish population, they also spend time digging for clams, seining grass shrimp, and soaking greasy chicken parts for delicious blue crabs.
While cobia are prolific in the South, their annual fleeting visit to Chesapeake Bay is a much anticipated event. In this episode, YouTube stars Jay Siemans and Bri Andrassy outfit Das Boat for sightcasting to these brutal fighters while getting a crash course in the conservation efforts keeping the northern cobia run in check.
Washington DC is known for fishy business, but not like this. Chef Kevin Gillespie joins accomplished kayak angler Kristine Fischer to hunt down invasive blue catfish and the hated snakehead in the Potomac River and its surrounding swamps. They’ll find out how detrimental these fish really are to the environment, as well as how they taste.
Bowfin are a native species that rarely get the love they deserve. In this episode, bass phenom Oliver Ngy teams up with fly legend Blane Chocklett on Lake Champlain to get deep in the weeds on the importance of bowfin in the ecosystem. They’ll also test their mettle against what can be a challenging fish that punishes tackle and fights to the death.
In the Das Boat Northeast finale, Joe Cermele takes the helm again, this time on Lake Erie with hot shot walleye captain Ross Robertson. After outfitting their craft for the precision trolling that scores giant summer walleyes, these old friends get a lesson in what makes this famous walleye fishery tick, and what ticks the rod tip when you trade walleye lures for hot dogs.
MeatEater's Joe Cermele takes the helm for Season 3 of Das Boat and explores the Northeast in a restored 1973 center-console Mako.
In the first episode of Season 2, Steve introduces you to the new Das Boat—Dos Boat. After a bumpy start, Steve gets to South Haven, MI, where he recruits the help of local charter captain Grant Gulley. Steve, Grant, and a local fabricator put in 10 hours of work getting the boat ready to fish for lake trout in 100 feet of water. With good reason, Grant is somewhat skeptical about the 14 foot, 50-year-old boat’s ability to handle the big water of Lake Michigan. Luckily, the conditions are perfect allowing them to deep water troll for the native char better known as lake trout. Along the way, they discuss Jon Gary—Steve’s fishing mentor and the original captain of Dos Boat—the young anglers Jon influenced, the decline (and comeback) of the lake trout, and a whole lot more. They might even catch some fish.
After picking up, tricking out, and catching some lake trout in his childhood fishing mentor's old boat (the new Das Boat), Steve takes it from Lake Michigan up four hours north to Boyne City, where Steve's good friend Janis Putelis will assume the helm. The trip is a bit of a homecoming for Janis, having left Michigan when he was 18. Janis drives through the city looking for a guy by the name of Brian Kozminski (Koz), who'll help give Das Boat a few more much needed upgrades. Together, they'll prepare to fish at the Au Sable River near a famous hexagenia hatch, where brown and brook trout like to go to eat mayflies--at night. After some scattered rains create a faster and higher river flow, Janis and Brian hope they can at least catch one fish before they call it in.
Dos Boat crosses the Straits of Mackinaw and heads west to the Wisconsin, U.P. border. There, MeatEater's Senior Fishing Editor, Joe Cermele, teams up with local guide Tim Landwehr. First, they have to resolve some of the busted-ass, janky modifications made by the last crew. Once that’s done, they can focus on the real task at hand: burning Tim’s home river on a fishing show. See, Tim’s been keeping this place sort of quiet for the past couple of decades, trying to avoid too much pressure on his favorite river. So, why did he invite MeatEater to make an episode featuring the place and its giant, wild smallmouth? Because a proposed sulfide mine threatens the future of this fishery, and he wants you to know about it. Other topics discussed: finding big fish in skinny water, how delicious northern pike are, losing a bass but catching the “follower,” and a hell of a lot more.
Dos Boat heads west to meet up with Oliver Ngy and Kevin Harlander in North Central Wisconsin. Oliver and Kevin are here for two things: big musky and delicious panfish. These targets represent opposite poles of the fishing spectrum: Musky (also known as muskellunge) are one of the largest, most difficult freshwater fish in North America. They are a coveted prize for dedicated fisherfolk. Panfish, on the other hand, are seen as entry-level—too small, abundant, and easy to fool to merit the attention of “serious anglers.” Oliver and Kevin show that fishing is fun, plain and simple, no matter how serious or laid back you want to make it. Before hitting the water, they give Das Boat a serious lake fishing upgrade with state-of-the-art electronics and a powerful trolling motor. They also convert a cooler into a livewell to keep bait and fish alive. Along the way they discuss whether or not it really takes 10,000 casts to catch a musky, losing the fish of a lifetime right at the boat, the figure 8, how bluegills make you feel like a winner, and a hell of a lot more.
In this episode, MeatEater's Ryan Callaghan and Miles Nolte travel to Minnesota to learn more about, and even try to catch, big mouth buffalo. The guys build a raised casting platform on Das Boat, using supplies scavenged from the trash heap behind a local hardware store. After that, they meet Alec Lackmann, the world’s foremost expert on a fish that few people care about. Alec studies big mouth buffalo in the Detroit Lakes area and has discovered some fascinating facts about these fish: First, they live a long time. No one actually knows just how long, but the oldest specimen he’s dated was 112. Second, in the Detroit Lakes, and probably other places as well, these fish have not consistently reproduced in over 80 years. Cal and Miles tag along with Alec to help release some buffalo that he was studying in a capture pen; he fills them in on why these are such cool fish; Miles tries—unsuccessfully—to catch one of these octogenarian fish in the lake; and then they sit down with some local bow fishers to share a conversation and some beer. From there, Cal and Miles head over to the Mississippi River to try their luck on a population of river buffalo that don’t get hunted with bows and are successfully reproducing. They cap off the episode with a delicious meal of fried sucker balls. #fueledbynature
For the finale of Das Boat Season 2, MeatEater Wild Foods Contributor Danielle Prewett and longtime fishing guide Frank Smethurst, head to Red Lake, Minnesota. Red Lake is one of the most celebrated walleye fisheries in the country. But we’re not after walleye. We’re after the one fish out here that no one seems to like: freshwater drum. The locals call them sheepshead, and curse them as a nuisance by-catch, useless fish that steal bait and waste time. The thing is, freshwater drum are related to red fish and black drum, two gulf coast saltwater species that just about everyone agrees are delicious. Are these fish really that bad, or is this a case of people just believing what they're told and not experimenting for themselves? Few are better prepared to investigate that question than Danielle Prewett, a Texan with lots of experience cooking redfish. Das Boat gets one final upgrade when Minnesota guide and artist Josh Desmit stops by and christens her with a bad ass new paint job. After getting bounced around on Red Lake and learning some of the finer points of worm fishing, Danielle and Frank put freshwater drum to the taste test and prove, once and for all, that these fish are damn good. #fueledbynature
Season 2 of MeatEater’s original fishing series, Das Boat, hits the water next week. Tune in on September 13th at 11am MT for another old boat, some good fish, and a few bad ideas. Watch new episodes, featuring faces you know and some you don’t, right here every Sunday. #fueledbynature
In the first episode, Steve purchases Das Boat out of a backyard in central Texas then takes it to a local fabricator and spends a day trying to make sure it’ll float. He and Texas fishing icon, JT Van Zandt chase redfish down on the coast, taking Das Boat into skinny saltwater it’s definitely never seen before. They end the day in JT’s kitchen cooking up a spread of blackened redfish tacos and sipping a little tequila. Along the way they discuss tribalism, the benefits of artificial lures vs. dead bait, the serviceability of redfish flesh, and the closest thing to a chicken thigh you can find on a fish.
After a successful trip on the Texas coast, JT and Steve send Das Boat up to Austin to do a little urban angling. In this episode, Austin based fishing guide Alvin Dedeaux and James Beard Award winning chef Jesse Griffiths test out Das Boat’s river capabilities on the Lower Colorado. They target Guadalupe bass on topwater lures and try to find a way to land a prehistoric gar. Along the way they discuss playing in club bands, fishing near cities, eating bass, and the secret berry that helped monks stay . . . monkly.
Das Boat rolls all the way over to the west coast of Florida to hook up with our very own conservation director, Ryan Callaghan and the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge artist in residence Ed Anderson. Cal and Ed try to convert this old boat into a poling skiff and go looking for snook, tarpon, speckled trout, and redfish. Along the way they discuss the National Wildlife Refuge system, poop decks, the history of the duck stamp, Ding Darling, the queen mother of red tides, and learning to love rejection . . . from fish.
Lake Okeechobee—Florida’s inland sea of freshwater, grass, and largemouth bass. This week, Das Boat dives deep into Florida’s watery heart with a Candian and a Californian. The host of our own Anchored podcast, April Vokey, meets up with big bass expert Oliver Ngy and they try to figure out one of the most notoriously complex and rewarding bass fisheries in the country. Along the way, they discuss the iconography of Okeechobee, America’s obsession with bass, glitter boats, and the founders of Captains for Clean Water explain what’s being done about Florida’s water quality problems.
Returning to a favorite fishing spot from your past can be a questionable choice. What if it’s not as good as you remember? What if everybody and their sister started fishing your spots? What if you’re not as good as you remember? In this episode of Das Boat, Frank Smethurst and his old friend Mustache Rob circle back to some of their old favorite stomping grounds on the Savannah River in Augusta, Georgia. They catch some of the many native sport fish in this archetypical southern river, and set their sights on the east coast’s most sought after migratory game fish—stripers. Along the way, Das Boat gets a major upgrade, and they discuss the Georgia-South Carolina rivalry, southern roots, Bartram’s Bass, and the intertwined history of Augusta and the Savannah River. They'll set their sights on the highly sought after gamefish--stripers. They 'll discuss southern roots, rivalries, Bartram's Bass, and more.
Long river trips can take us deep into some wild places aboard a vessel that will carry far more than the basic necessities. In the season finale of Das Boat, Mustache Rob and Frank are back on the Savannah River in Georgia, headed more than 50 miles downstream into water that neither of them have ever seen before. It’s an exploratory mission, of sorts, though the Savannah is far from wilderness, and Rob and Frank’s journey is more National Lampoon than Heart of Darkness. At the terminus of their trip waits Wade Plantation and some heaping platefuls of southern hospitality. All Rob and Frank have to do is bring some catfish for the table and safely pilot Das Boat downstream.