Whether you’re a fishing fanatic or a rookie looking to get started this summer, you might hook some helpful tips by tuning in to “Saltwater Underground with Nick Honachefsky.”
The Hunterdon County native and longtime sport fishing writer recently had his show picked up by the Discovery Channel, and two episodes are scheduled to air during the fishing block at 5:30 a.m. on July 10 and July 17.
Honachefsky works to showcase accessible fishing for viewers and believes his show is not “pretentious” nor out of reach for people who want to emulate what he does on camera. With a mix of how-to knowledge and “the soul and spirit of the people in the fishing industry,” the show gives viewers the chance to learn the ropes as Honachefsky and friends hang, fish and cook.
“We’re doing fishing that’s accessible to everybody. I don’t just have one boat that I fish on and keep doing the same thing over and over. We’re fishing on party boats, we’re fishing from the surf, we’re fishing from the docks, we’re fishing from private boats,” he said.
“It spans the whole gamut of relatable fishing to everybody,” he added, “because not everybody has access to a boat — so they fish the surf or they fish the dock, and that demographic shouldn’t be alienated in a fishing show.”
All episodes of “Saltwater Underground” are filmed in New Jersey, setting apart the show from the “exotic, warm water locales” regularly featured in popular fishing shows, Honachefsky said.
“The fishing industry needed a show that was more homegrown, showcasing a different type of fishery that doesn’t get a lot of play on television, which is kind of the northeast area here in New Jersey — Mid-Atlantic and Northeast,” he said.
Honachefsky, who grew up in the town of Clinton, typically creates a rough storyboard for each episode, but he likes to “just roll with it” when it comes time to shoot.
Each episode has four segments — three centered around fishing, and a culinary segment at the end, showing viewers how to prepare and enjoy the day’s hard-earned catches.
When it comes time to finding characters for his episodes, Honachefsky looks to friends he’s made in the industry to engage with on camera, so he can have an organic banter but also feature people with industry knowledge from which viewers can learn.
One of the episodes airing on the Discovery Channel in July features rock star Dean Ween, a close friend of Honachefsky and avid hardcore fisherman. Other featured friends include local charter captains, family members and chefs such as well-known celebrity chef Josh Dechellis.
Wearing all hats in his show’s production can be time consuming and stressful, but Honachefsky and his cameraman Ryan Simalchik embody an “adapt as they go” approach to showcasing all elements of their fishing excursions.
“He’s not afraid to jump in 40-degree water with a five-millimeter suit to get (a shot of) the shadow-striped bass underwater,” Honachefsky said.
Going to extremes to get the perfect shot and incorporating viewer feedback into each episode is something important to Honachefsky, as he wants his show to be exciting and relatable for those watching.
He said his viewership is not limited to the stereotypical fishing show demographic of middle-aged men, due to this relatability, and he additionally receives feedback from women and kids who regularly tune in to his show. Honachefsky is excited that his show is engaging different demographics, and enjoys connecting with viewers through his email or social media to share fishing tips or explain how to do something a viewer wants to try from the show.
“I’m just always open in here for questions and to help people become better anglers and better stewards of the ocean,” he said.
Fishing is so much more than a sport to Honachefsky, and after Superstorm Sandy, it was all he had. After losing everything he owned to the monster storm in 2012, the fishing community banded together and sent him rods, reels and lures so he could get back to what he loves doing most during one of the hardest times in his life.
He hopes his show will help people be laid back and realize that “life can suck, but you’ve got to just go forward and plow ahead, and you’ll see the light on the other side if you keep going.”
Honachefsky wants to create an environment in which viewers are encouraged to “just go out and have fun, introduce someone new to fishing, introduce someone new to the lifestyle.”
And he’s not just talking about the fishing lifestyle, he is also looking to create a “Saltwater Underground Lifestyle.”
Honachefsky already has T-shirts, hats and stickers available for purchase on his website and is collaborating with local businesses to further merchandise his brand. He hopes to eventually develop his products into a clothing line in the future to be sold in local tackle and surf shops.
In 2023, “Saltwater Underground with Nick Honachefsky” will air on the Discovery Channel, Sportsman Channel and Waypoint TV.
To watch reruns of the show’s early episodes, check out Honachefsky’s YouTube channel.
For questions about the show, fishing advice and more, Honachefsky can be reached via direct message on his Instagram account.
Originally posted at msn.com.