by Bob Jensen

The 2014 thirteen-week run of Fishing the Midwest television concluded recently in most Midwest markets. There are still some markets where Fishing the Midwest will continue to run through the rest of the year, but in most of our markets, 2014 is over and we're starting to make new shows for 2015.

This was the twentieth year of Fishing the Midwest. Back a long, long time ago we started with a television series of fishing shows called Fishing Iowa. Fishing Iowa aired for four or five years. We only shot shows in Iowa, and we only aired our shows in Iowa. Fishing Iowa was very popular with viewers and got outstanding ratings.

Through the years some interesting and embarrassing things have happened in my TV career. Two of those follow.

It was the late 80's and I was hoping to make the fishing thing a full-time deal. Tony Dean called and asked if I would like to do a show with him on the Cedar River in north Iowa. I said "yes." We were in my boat casting from the bow for smallmouth bass. They were biting pretty good. The electric motor was in the water and the shaft of the motor hit a submerged log, causing the boat to tip a bit. Tony went headfirst into the river, wireless mic and all. As I pulled Tony out of the river, I could see my young fishing career ending. Fortunately, Tony had a sense of humor about the entire thing and my fishing career continued.

twenty years fishing

Fishing educator/guide/tournament champ Mike Frisch will be sharing his fishing expertise on Fishing the Midwest extensively in 2015​

A couple of years later I was attempting to get Fishing the Midwest off the ground. I was trying to convince the folks at Northland Fishing Tackle that it would be a good idea for them to be part of Fishing the Midwest. Duane Peterson and I got together to do a show on largemouth bass. We were using Reed-Runner spinnerbaits. At the time, Reed-Runners were displayed unpackaged on racks in the retail stores. There were little rubber sleeves covering the hook to prevent people from hooking themselves in the stores. When you tied a Reed-Runner on to go fishing, the rubber sleeve just pulled off.

Duane was catching the bass really good that day. I was getting bit, but couldn't hook the fish. After missing several bass, Duane took a look at my spinnerbait. I had forgotten to take the rubber sleeve off. Duane removed it and my catch to bite ratio increased a lot.

A little later, a northern pike took my spinnerbait home with him. I tied on another Reed-Runner and got back to fishing. I got bit several more times, but did not hook them. Duane and I had the same thought at the same time: Sure enough, the kid from Iowa had forgotten to take off the rubber sleeve again. The sleeve was removed and hooking got better. Again, fortunately Duane had a sense of humor about this and Northland and Fishing the Midwest developed a long and rewarding relationship.

As Fishing the Midwest enters its third decade there will be some changes. However, some things won't change. You'll still see some small fish caught on Fishing the Midwest, and when any fish comes over the side of our boat, it will be wiggling and full of life. We catch small fish sometimes, but we always catch them ourselves in real time.

You also won't see a bunch of high-fiving and handshakes and forced laughter when we catch a two pound bass or a four pound walleye. We're excited about catching fish, and we're so appreciative of the opportunity to do so, but in reality, we've caught two pound bass and four pound walleyes before.

At Fishing the Midwest, our promise to you is that we will depict fishing as it really truly happens. We'll have fun doing so, and we hope you'll have fun watching us do so.

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