This was a very fun production for me and show cased the salmon sharks in a better light then some other counterpart productions on say Shark Week. When I was first contacted on starting a conversation about Jeremy Wade coming to Alaska, I was super excited because I love the show. Its more than a fishing show with interesting destinations and filled with insightful mysteries on fish I’ve never heard of.
I must say that it was not an easy task to help develop a storyline with the producer. The initial concept depicted the sharks in a negative light and as a killer. Which was simply not true. But this was a fishing show and not a sightseeing trip for them. So, over several months of back and forth emails I was able to convince them that simply interacting and swimming with them would prove to be equally as entertaining. The sharks had never been filmed with an actor in the water, placing themselves directly into their underwater helm. I also placed an idea that the true dangerous fish in Alaska was not a shark but a large flatfish predator that was the basis of the sport fishing industry, Hippoglossus stenolepis or Pacific Halibut. These fish do hurt people and have broken arms/legs and would find stories relatively easily of how strong and damaging they could be. This gave the sharks a break from the relentless killers they are often depicted as and follow a more factual production.
The entire shoot was really fun with a great and friendly film crew. The star, Jeremy Wade, was just as you see on tv. Kind and thoughtful and a true talent to watch behind the scenes. There was a moment during the week that I was able to take him and a couple others fishing after dinner, just for fun with no camera’s. A 90# halibut was caught and brought on board. Pictures were taken and hand fives handed out. But Jeremy would gently take the hook out, check it over and slide it back in the frigid waters. He would also reminisce of past productions to fascinating countries.
Towards the end, when the crew had filmed a multitude of sharks, relaxation set in. They had come for sharks and they had achieved to capture more than enough video to make the show. Now it was time for fun! On the last day, the crew decided to test out the theory of just how cold Alaskan waters on. I must say that it was unusually warm that summer and the surface temperature was not normal, around 65 degree’s. Well once they jumped in with only their underwear, they were pleasantly surprised at just how warm it was. Coming from England, they didn’t see much of a difference. But the truth is that it can be extremely dangerous if not wearing the correct gear and having to spend more than 3 minutes floating around.