Digest — May 2004
By Capt. Patrick Sciacca
Beyond the Edge
|The crew of Go Fisch takes angling adventures on the small screen to new heights and depths.|
Chris Fischer and his crew make Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn look like couch potatoes.
Fischer, his wife Melissa, and the two-man crew of the 72-foot Elliott yachtfisherman Go Fisch have spent the last few years finding out-of-the-way angling paradises from Alaska to Central America. I’m sorry, did I forget to mention it’s also their job? See, Fischer and crew do all of this for their ESPN2 TV show Offshore Adventures—although after talking with Fischer, I think this foursome would do it just for fun. I recently caught up with Fischer to see how this angler and entrepreneur went from bagging bass on the lakes of Kentucky to battling blue marlin off Panama’s Pacific Coast and how Offshore Adventures has developed a following of more than seven million viewers per quarter.
“I grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, and was a crazed fisherman all my life,” Fischer tells me during a phone interview from his new home in Park City, Utah, while on hiatus from the show. (I knew he was serious when he told me he’d been trout fishing during a heavy snowfall the day before our interview.) “I started by fly-fishing for largemouth and smallmouth bass with two buddies almost every day after school,” he adds enthusiastically. However, it wasn’t long before Fischer’s parents took the young angler to Marco Island, Florida, where he discovered saltwater angling. “Marco Island opened my eyes to the ocean. We had a 16-footer, and we’d go down there and catch snook, snapper, and ladyfish.”
The saltwater bug bit hard, but the responsibilities of adulthood eventually cut into Fischer’s fun-fishing youth. He began working for his family’s beverage-equipment company, and he soon moved to California to manage its Pacific Rim business interests. Fischer’s frenetic commuting schedule between Asia and the United States took a toll on his free time. But when fishing calls once, it usually calls back, and this avid angler wouldn’t be denied his passion.
Fischer’s family sold the business in 1997, and soon he had the means and time to pursue angling full time. One problem: He was in California and knew nothing of the Pacific fishery. Another problem: He didn’t have a boat. By this time the fisherman had also met his wife and co-angler, Melissa, so he wasn’t about to leave the state. What was a fisherman to do? Well, he picked up a 31 Bertram and befriended a California charter captain, who allowed Fischer to work as a deckhand while teaching the enthusiastic student about yellowfin, dorado (mahi-mahi), and other local game fish. Like the proverbial fish to water, Fischer ate up all he could learn and soon moved from the Bertram to a 48-foot Viking with the intent of exploring and fishing what he terms the “in-between places.”
Once again, Fischer turned to veterans. This time it was Brett McBride, who he met through a mutual friend and who became Go Fisch’s captain, and David Traylor, an expert freediver and Go Fisch’s first mate and chef. Soon this four-person crew was exploring angling opportunities both above and below the surface. Noticing the crew had chemistry and possessing an entrepreneurial spirit, Fischer figured the foursome’s original angle might be worthy of TV.
This article originally appeared in the April 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.