The swamps of Louisiana are a feeding ground for reality TV producers, with successful shows such as “Swamp People” and “Swamp Wars.” And rightly so, as week after week TV viewers are left staring, mouths agape, at the characters profiled and the fact that these people are actually making a living doing what they do. The Friday Animal Planet series “Swamp’d!” is the latest addition to that lineup.
It follows P’Maw, owner of P’Maw’s (that’s “swamp” spelled backwar) Bait Shack in Pierre Part, La., where he and his colorful family meet the locals’ every need. P’Maw has been fishing all of his life, so opening a bait shop was just a natural transition for him.
“I knew it was the right thing to do, because if you know what you’re doing, you can succeed at it,” he tells Zap2it in his thick bayou accent. “We’re open 24 hours, seven days a week.”
He’s serious about business, too, running the shop by a few simple rules. “One,” he says, “be open, be open, be open. If you’re supposed to be open, be open. Two, be courteous to all your customers. I don’t care who they are. If I find out one of [my employees] is being rude to a customer for any reason, then that’s when we’re going to talk. I don’t believe in that. Three, if you’re going to have a bait, don’t run out of it.”
After all, he’s got customers who travel more than 60 miles just to get his bait. And boy, does he have the bait, as he rattles through his extensive inventory. “I’ve got … crickets, worms, chicken hog, beef hog, slickhead, crawfish, buffalo fish.”
You also don’t catch many people doing anything and everything to help a customer, from assisting one of his prettiest customers with a Cajun caviar dish for her swamp soiree to finding a “bride” for a customer’s pet goat, and then more normal business such as proving that the ugliest fishes in the swamp are also the tastiest.