ESPNOutdoors.com interviewed producer Randy White after he and his crew shot two episodes of Mark Zona's "World's Greatest Fishing Show" at Ray Scott's house.
"This was like the 17th or 18th show we've shot for 'World's Greatest.' I don't want to say it's routine. We know exactly at this point how we want to cover a typical show. The difference was this wasn't any kind of typical shoot. This was nothing like anything we've ever shot in the past.
"As far as covering this thing, we just make sure we've got a camera in the boat with each team. We knew if we had a small lake like that and two cameras on each boat, we're going to have every single fish, and a third camera roaming around, we could pick up the sidebar stuff.
"I was a little nervous, especially when we decided, late in the game, that we need to make this a two-parter. We had to make sure that before the sun goes down that we get everything shot. Amazingly everything went right according to plan, right according to schedule.
"It had been super-cold, and traditionally, that's never a good thing when you fish. When fish go through those extreme temperature changes, they need a few days to get back on track. We were a little nervous with the cold weather, and Ray knows what that lake is capable of producing, which in my opinion was phenomenal. He was like, 'We should have caught bigger and better,' and I was like, 'You're crazy.'
"Ray saw the show we did last year with Bob Cobb and really liked it, and originally threw out the idea of inviting us to his lake, and that's every fisherman's dream is to go to Ray Scott's lake and spend a day fishing. So I said it was an easy idea to jump upon, not to mention the fact I had just gotten some bullet points about the 40th anniversary of BASS, we can come here and promote the 40th anniversary and have a lot of fun, which obviously is the goal of our show. We want people to watch our show and say, look at how much fun they're having out fishing. It's a lot more fun than most people would actually think about.
"What was really ironic is when this concept first started happening, Zona was on vacation with his good friend Kevin [VanDam]. He was the one who as soon as he caught wind of this concept, said, 'OK, it's a team tournament.' He absolutely wanted to take part in this event. So we said, OK, we've got the Michigan guys, and it was like, OK, who can we get? For me, for some reason, Roland Martin was just screaming at me. When I called Roland, I fully expected him to say he's way too busy. What I discovered later is that, I think if you throw an invitation to any fisherman in the world that knows Ray Scott's lake, they'll drop everything they can if they possibly can. Turns out it's not that hard.
"Shooting fishing — we've got that part down. Getting on the water, covering the action, that's something that we've done enough that it doesn't intimidate us. But for a goofy outfit like the 'World's Greatest Fishing Show,' the idea of setting up a weigh-in, it's like, are we going to build a big set? I don't know if we wanted to get the whole weighing the things live, or on camera, that's just way too much complication, way too long to set up and everything else. We devised the whole blind weigh-in, where we would take these fish, weigh them off site, have the information, make sure Ray knows the results, and get these guys in a less formal scenario.
"That's part of the fun: At the time, they actually don't know. That's the beauty of it. We're building this up as one of the greatest fishing spectacles that Zona's mind has ever seen, is probably the best way to put it."
Note: White wanted to be sure and credit Greg Underdahl and Mark Pelizzoni, his fellow on-site producers and the on-the-water cameramen that day. He also wanted to relay his gratitude for the help he received from Ray Scott and his colleagues Jim Kientz and Jim Liner. White added also that Zona's luggage was so late that Zona fished with borrowed tackle and wore borrowed clothes throughout the shoot. Which, really, when you think about it, is sort of perfect for Zona's show.