What does it mean to be a legend? I had to ask myself this very question last week when I left my office for a small town in northern Wisconsin. I was venturing that way with one of our photojournalists, Cy Dodson, and we were off to spend a week with a man named Joe Bucher. Our mission was simple - tell his story. See, we produce this show on the Outdoor Channel called "Legends of Rod&Reel." We seek out fisherman across the country that have impacted the world of fishing in some way or another. Anglers that are very well known and respected in their parts of the country, or fishing genre, and others that you and I might not have heard of before. Regardless, they are all unique in their own way. We spend time with them, fish with them, and really get to know who this person is and what makes them tick. Then we share this with the rest of the country. It's pretty cool.
For myself, it was more than an honor to be given the opportunity to help produce the show about Joe Bucher. Joe has been muskie fishing, writing about muskies, and teaching about muskies well before I was born. In the 70's he was writing articles in magazines when nobody else wanted to talk about muskies. As Cy and I spent time with this man, it was really a pleasure to learn why he made the choices that he did in his life. Like many of us, he has a passion for the outdoors. A passion that spawned the creation of lures. Muskie lures to be exact. With the encouragement of Roland Martin and Al Lindner, he decided to start his own fishing show. Soon after was magazine dedicated solely to the sport of muskie angling. Muskie Hunter is still one of the only magazines focusing entirely on that Esox. Joe has written thousands of articles as well, and as we reviewed some of them, I found it interesting to read words from the 70's and 80's that pertain directly to my life on the water today. One of the unique phrases that stuck while Joe and I talked muskie fishing was, "if you think you have something new, just go back 20 or 30 years and you'll see someone else who has also done that."
Joe was a true legend in all aspects. He was very humbled by the fact that we were filming a show because of all of his accomplishments. We talked about the past, present and future of fishing, and bounced our ideas off of each other. Also, I'm not going to give out too many details here, but I think you might be seeing some pretty cool new muskie baits in the very near future. We met his unbelievably encouraging and wonderful wife Beth, his dog Raider, and several other key people in his life. We heard him rock out on the guitar, which he does in each of his shows, and finally, when the rain cleared, we went fishing. After all, this still is a fishing show! We filmed two seperate pieces to the show. One of Joe fishing with his good friend coach Kip, and the other on a solo mission. The first trip was with Coach Kip, and boy were these two fishing pals a hoot. It was destiny from the start the Coach would catch the first muskie, and par for the course, he did. That was the only fish they saw that morning, but it was perfect. Later that day, we returned to the water on a solo trip with Joe. Like all fishing trips that guys take, the lake is a place to unwind and relive past memories. We did just that. As the sun set on our last day with Joe, the water erupted and our prayers for Joe to land a muskie were answered. After all, what else would you expect from a legnd like Joe? From the legendary waters of northern Wisconsin, Keep on chasing the dream!
Travis Frank www.trophyencounters.com