Catching up with George Poveromo
George Poveromo: We’re doing well. It’s funny, in the beginning you’re still a bit restless. As the days progress, you settle into a pattern and you watch a lot of Netflix late at night and you don’t get up quite as early as you used to. All of a sudden, you find yourself in this new groove and it’s almost actually enjoyable. I’m afraid I might get used to this.
GP: No, I’m sticking close to home. Down here in South Florida, I’m in one of the harder-hit areas for [COVID-19]. You could fish if you live on the water or your boat’s already in the water, as long as you’re social distancing. But, for people who trailer their boats, the public ramps are mostly closed. I could take my boat to the marina and they could lift it in the water but I just feel an obligation to set a standard of “Let’s hunker down, let’s all get through this together. The faster we do this, the quicker we can go out and play.” So I haven’t taken my boat out because I want to be part of the solution.
Are you finding yourself with more free time than you knew possible?
GP: There’s no doubt. All this free time gets dumped in your lap with really no set obligations and it can be easy to let hours waste away. But this is actually an outstanding downtime to reorganize the tackle garage, put new line on the reels, all new terminal rigs, take care of all your tackle, organize it nicely, and the same with the lures. I’ve got the boat 100% dialed in, the tanks are fueled up, the electronics are upgraded, and everything is ready to go. It’s a good opportunity to go through everything so you’re ready to get back on the water.
Do you have any tips for how you like to organize everything?
GP: With my rods, I rack them up based on the type of tackle they are. I have my trolling outfits all racked on one side of the wall from the lightest to the heaviest. Same with the spin tackle for light tackle fishing. All the spinners are lined up accordingly, smallest spinners with the lightest line up to the heavy-duty spinners with the heaviest line. That carries over to lures and hooks too. And then the tackle bags I have categorized based on the type of fishing that we want to do. It makes it so simple and fast to find what you need.
Do you have a “white whale” in terms of a species you’ve yet to catch or a location you’d like to fish?
GP: I’ve had the good fortune to travel to a lot of the greatest fishing destinations and I’ve taken a lot of bucket-list fish. But if I narrowed it down to one catch, it'd be the spearfish. Down here in South Florida, you might hear of one or two caught a year. Over my career, I’ve been able to catch seven of the world’s greatest billfish: the Atlantic blue marlin, the Indo-Pacific blue marlin, the white marlin, [the black marlin], sailfish, striped marlin, and swordfish. The only one I’ve yet to catch is the spearfish, so I figure that would be pretty cool. Ironically, 30 years ago I took a friend to catch his first sailfish. We get a hit and I hand the rod to my buddy. Well, lo and behold, he pulls up a spearfish. Had I known what it was, I probably would’ve shoved him out of the way and grabbed the rod. (laughs)
GP: Uh huh, I hear that a lot! It is a dream job because I love it. It’s in my blood, but if you took somebody who didn’t have that passion and said, “Okay, here’s your job. You’re going to be doing television, you’ll be doing fishing seminars, you’ll be writing for a fishing magazine,” they might burn out in two months. You definitely have your tough days, but because this is my passion, you go to bed and wake up doing something that you love.
Tell us about the challenge of not just fishing at a high level, but doing it on camera.
GP: When I decided to shoot a pilot episode, I thought the fishing shows at the time were pretty horrible. Two guys in a boat: “Look at the fish I just caught, Sam.” “That’s great, man, I like that one. This is a nice one here, too.” It wasn’t something anglers could learn from. So my entire goal with the series was for people to watch, learn, and hopefully pick up something. It’d be entertaining, but it’d let anglers see what we’re doing, talk about the rigs, the subtleties involved, so they can say “I’m going to try that next time,” and you actually help. And that’s the nature of the show. Like anything, there are challenges. People don’t see the trips where you spend four days unable to get offshore because of bad weather. But I still have the same enthusiasm as when I started and that keeps me coming back.
GP: I promote helping anglers become better at their sport. And in that sense, I also promote happiness. I always say that and some people laugh. But you go fish with other anglers from all walks of life and they’re all united by the bond of fishing. Fishing makes people happy. It gives them an opportunity to go out there and forget the craziness of the world, because that’ll still be waiting for them when they come in.
Any other advice during this surreal moment in time?
GP: Better days are coming and we’ll get through this. Just focus on the sport you love. Think about what you can do to make yourself a better angler. Go over that tackle. You have the time to do it. Now, go over that boat and make sure it’s 100%. We have the greatest sport in the world and we’ll be back at it soon. Just keep positive. When you clear that inlet in the morning, you know that you’re going to have one heck of a day and maybe catch that trophy fish. It’s the same as the lockdown right now: We know we’re going to get out of this. And when we do, the fishing’s going to be better than ever.