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The End of The ITM Fishing Show?

The end of The ITM Fishing Show?

The ITM Fishing Show has been a kiwi favourite for over a decade and has picked up numerous awards and accolades, but for the first time in thirteen years, host Matt Watson and his adventurous team will not be making a new series.

So why would the current holders of the Viewers Choice Best Sports Show and Best Overall Show not be coming back for another series? Have they run out of ideas? Have fans lost interest? Has Matt lost interest??....or has he finally been eaten by a shark!?

There’s no need for speculation, the fact is Matt and his team have been working hard on a new project - ITM Hook Me up! It’s a new show, on a new channel and a new time slot. The top billing at 7.30pm Mondays on Prime right after The Crowd Goes Wild, suggests that ITM Hook Me Up! is a bit more than a niche Saturday arvo fishing show, and it is!

Fans can still expect the best fishing action and adventures, but it’s not Matt’s adventures, it is the shows guests that get to choose the fishing trip of their dreams and then it’s up to Matt and his team to help them achieve their wildest fishing fantasy. The whole experience is seen through the eyes of the shows guest who becomes the central character, and there are some great characters. Many are household names, like Joseph Parker, Ryan Fox and ‘the Beaver’ Stephen Donald, and some are everyday kiwis, like the woman who is scared of sharks but decides she wants to spearfish a big game fish, or the builder with a heart condition that wants to battle a swordfish, the toughest fish in the ocean.

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Famous or not, what all the guests have in common is a passion for fishing and a dream they want fulfilled. In each episode we get to know the central character as they travel around New Zealand or overseas on an adventure that always throws up challenges and surprises. It’s a great concept that has once again revolutionised the genre and is set to be a winner, but it almost didn’t happen.

The TV show that began life in a Northland garage had grown into a monster, and after thirteen years making The ITM Fishing Show, plus a number of international shows that screen around world, Matt contemplated throwing it all in. “I started The ITM Fishing Show because I loved fishing, but ironically I found myself fishing less and less and the business side of it all consumed my passion” says Matt. “It got to the point where the only fishing I got to do was with a film crew and I was encumbered with the pressure of delivering some epic catch everyday.”

Matt was facing burnout and his young family was not so young anymore, he’d been away or immersed in work and missed out on too many family milestones. He wanted more family time and he wanted his pure love of fishing back. “I didn’t want to give up on this thing we’d created from nothing, and I didn’t want to let down my sponsors, staff and all the people that watch the show, but I couldn’t just do the same thing again.”

Matt asked his wife Kaylene what he should do, and she in turn asked him a question “What do you love most about your job?” Matt’s reply was at first obvious, he most liked the days he got to go fishing, but digging a bit deeper the real answer emerged. Matt explains, “Over the last few years the times I’ve enjoyed the most are when someone catches the fish of their dreams, it’s a real buzz to be part of one of the greatest days of someone’s life, to see them overcome a challenge and to witness the raw emotions, anxiety, determination, frustration, then pure excitement and overwhelming joy.”

Noticing a glint in Matts eye when he spoke about the people that he’d helped catch fish, Kaylene then gave some simple advice, “Why don’t you make a show about that then?” Thus the concept of ITM Hook Me Up! was born and a reinvigorated Matt Watson is now on a crusade to revolutionise fishing TV again, 14 years after he turned up on telly with his outrageous fishing stunts and irrepressible passion and energy.

The end product has all the elements of great TV, beautiful locations, and footage that has you wondering ‘how did they film that!?’ But it’s the thread of the story and the journey we go on that is most gripping, the characters are real, unpretentious and unmistakably kiwi.

You can catch ITM Hook Me Up! at 7.30pm Mondays on Prime, or you could even get on the show by visiting the ITM Hook Me Up! Facebook page to state your case.


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