The quirky TV show Two Men and Their Fishing Rods is less about fish caught, more about the enjoyment of going fishing. The two lads from Nanaimo, Tyler Kyle and Nathan Thomas, simply wanted to share their fishing camaraderie with others. They do that by self-producing a modest- budget, high-quality TV show aired on local and national networks. They have been flying under the fishing world’s radar for several years but have undoubtedly built a solid cult following, so Island Fisherman met lakeside with the boys to see what makes them tick.
IFM: What was the inspiration behind producing Two Men and Their Fishing Rods for television?
TMaTFR: After we both started working together at a Nanaimo car dealership, we hit it off right away. We were both pretty much on the same wavelength, so to speak. That’s when the idea for putting together a TV show for airing on the local cable television channel took shape. Both of us are very comfortable working with computers and various software systems. Tyler had a small 8′ plywood pram he had built in high school shop class, so, we thought a fishing show would be a good sell and fun to do.
IFM: Your shows are a hoot to watch and come across as a boatload of giggles. Is that a result of serendipity or comic genius?
TMaTFR: Right from the beginning both of us had a shared sense of humour; we got each other. It was a natural connection. Like we knew what the other guy was thinking, but never knew exactly what the next thought would be until it spilled out. It was, and still is,
a reflex action when responding to the moment. Sometimes the simplest thing starts a whole string of banter between us. Then it goes off on some unintended tangent. We don’t do a bunch of scripting. It’s all shoot from the hip, spontaneous stuff.
IFM: Your skills with rod and reel could best be described as “unpolished.” Do you think the fish care if you’re not an expert?
TMaTFR: For the record, the very first fish Nathan ever caught in his whole life was during the filming of the very first episode of our show. We have picked up a few equipment handling techniques along the way, but by no means spend much time worrying about details. This is the kind of fishing anyone can do. If the fish care, then they can have a good laugh at us while we try to catch them.
IFM: Everything you do on the water is viewed on screen. What kind of planning and logistics goes into producing each show? How do you select which waters to fish?
TMaTFR: We produce thirteen shows per season. Often we just look at a map in the backroads book and say, “Hey, that one looks interesting.” We check angling regulations to see what is allowed on that lake and to see if it is stocked with hatchery fish or not. If we plan on going far from home, the road trip will often take us to several lakes close to each other over a few days. Waters close to home we can do on a weekend outing.
IFM: On the technical side, can you speak a bit about the camera gear you use?
TMaTFR: We have a Canon EOS 50D camera mounted on a tripod that is held down with bungee cords to the bow of our little boat. That is the stationary camera which covers the onboard action. [We have] four other cameras— two GoPros on extenders for underwater shots and two compact Nikons which are used for freehand shooting and close- ups if required.
We did lose one camera overboard when it fell out of Tyler’s shirt pocket as he leaned over to rinse his hands. Since using lanyards around the wrist and being careful where to put the camera we have not lost another one overboard.
IFM: After on-the-water filming finishes, what goes into editing the raw footage to make it presentable on TV?
TMaTFR: Hah! We thought about doing that. Really, all the bloopers, if you could call them that, happen throughout the fishing trip and are simply part of the experience. We do not stage any funny business just to get a laugh. What you see is what happened throughout our day of fishing.
IFM: Every show is suitable for family entertainment—no swearing, no rude gestures, no raunchy jokes. Is that a reflection of personal values in real life?
TMaTFR: Yes, it probably is. We both have young families and know the importance of being good role models as parents. As well, family-suitable entertainment, like our fishing show, can be enjoyed by all ages as a bonding agent between generations. At times, one of our kids may make a cameo appearance as a guest on the show. And what could be more family-oriented than that?
IFM: What is in store for the future? Will the TV shows continue?
TMaTFR: Good question. We have been at this for 11 years now. To continue producing thirteen shows a year takes up a lot of time. With growing young families, we feel the need to make more time for them, with less time spent on the road fishing and behind the computer editing and producing. We will probably soon cut back to doing only six or seven shows per season. After that, who knows?
Thanks to Tyler and Nathan for taking time out of their busy fishing schedule to do this interview. At time of writing (in 2020), Two Men and Their Fishing Rods regularly airs on CHEK-6 on Sundays at 1:30 p.m., and on the “WILD” TV channel (check the program schedule). Additionally, all episodes from past seasons can be viewed at: www.twomenandtheirfishingrods.com.
This article appeared in Island Fisherman Magazine. Never miss another issue—subscribe today!