Like many guys who grew up in rural American settings, professional wrestler “Showtime” Eric Young spent a fair amount of his formative years fishing with his father and friends from docks and riverbanks.
These days, however, Young is more likely to be pushing his luck fishing for sharks from a wobbly paddleboard or chasing sailfish from a small, wave-tossed handmade raft off the coast of Miami in “Off the Hook: Extreme Catches,” a hugely entertaining new series premiering Monday, July 30, on Discovery Channel before moving to Animal Planet a couple of weeks later.
“This show is completely the other end of the [fishing] spectrum, which is awesome,” Young tells Zap2it. “A big thing for me with this show is just meeting these people. They’re fascinating to me. A lot of them are pioneers, in a way. What they’ve come up with are the grass roots of a style of fishing that a lot of people don’t know about. I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie, too, so anything to test myself and my physical and mental limitations is what the show is really about.”
Each half-hour episode finds Young traveling to a different part of the country to meet with these “pioneers,” who give the him a crash course in a particular style of fishing. In the series opener, that includes paddleboard fishing for sharks, which normally finds the fisherman tethered to a sandbar in shallow water.
“But we wanted to catch some bigger ones, so we went out into deeper water,” Young explains. “So now we’re paddling around with all these sharks swimming all around and underneath us. You hook up with one of these things, and he’s pulling the board all over the place and throwing you off balance. It was super, super scary, but I liked it.”
Young emphasizes that rookies shouldn’t try this stuff recklessly.
“A lot of preparation goes into making sure that I am comfortable with it,” he says. “It’s a half-hour show, so you don’t see a lot of that.”