FRANKFORT – Tequila and reporting don’t generally mix well.
But when fisherman Buddy Guindon, the star of National Geographic’s “Big Fish, Texas,” learned Misty Tosh from Fatcake Productions wanted to interview him immediately, Guindon said he agreed and invited her to his Super Bowl party.
Guindon said after he and Tosh talked over a couple of drinks, she interviewed the guests. The next day, Guindon and Tosh met for breakfast. He said Tosh presented an accurate chronological depiction of the past 20 years of his life and agreed to film a TV show.
“She remembered everything in detail. I was quite taken aback,” Guindon said. “So I decided to hitch my wagon to her work on this for about five years. It finally came to fruition.”
The season finale of “Big Fish, Texas” airs March 23.
Frankfort native Lisa Colangelo would love to see the eight-episode show renewed for another season. Colangelo is more than a fan of the storyline about a family seafood market, sustainable fishing and a man – Guindon – who provides 25 percent of the Gulf of Mexico’s deep-water fish.
Colangelo is one of its creators.
She, along with Tosh, Chezne McArthur and Kuba Zelazek (formerly of Crest Hill), make up the Fatcake Productions team. They partnered with Asylum Entertainment in 2014, found a home for their show with National Geographic later that year and began filming in early 2015.
“It was a joy for us,” Colangelo said. “We love the [Guindon] family, we love what they stand for, and we’re really proud of them and their mission. National Geographic saw the value in it and that show happened.”
Colangelo said Tosh suggested the idea for the show and attended Guindon’s Super Bowl party to gather information. Tosh supports sustainable fishing, so when she read an article on Guindon, she wanted to share his incredible story, Colangelo said.
“He started with just one boat,” Colangelo said, “and rode his bike back and forth to the marina because he put all his money in that one boat.”
Guindon, who helped form the advocacy groups Gulf Wild and Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders Alliance, spearheaded the concept in 2007 of tagging fish to help combat fish fraud. Guindon said he had a working model by 2009. The tags show who caught the fish and where it was caught, along with the name of the boat, said Guindon, 60, of Galveston, Texas – the site of “Big Fish, Texas.”
“And while we believe everything fishermen say, especially how big their fish are,” Guindon said with a smile in his voice, “we decided to verify that what we were saying was actually true.”
Guindon said he grew up fishing in Minnesota, but got hooked on commercial fishing as a teen after a fishing trip in Texas with his father. Guindon said they caught about 50 pounds of red snapper and sold some of it to local restaurants.
“When I got out of the Marines, I wanted to give it a shot,” Guindon said of commercial fishing.
Over time Guindon, who called himself “frugal,” built a business that employed all four of his sons, several nieces and nephews and even his father, Greg Guindon, who also is featured on the show. Guindon’s father died in December at age 86.
Colangelo said “Big Fish, Texas” has a solid fan base.
“People are loving the fact that they’re not only learning about fishing, they’re also seeing a real family dynamic, people working and helping to save the fisheries every day,” Colangelo said.
Katie’s Seafood Market is less than 20 years old and is named after Guindon’s wife, even though she does not work in the family business, Guindon said.
“She’s the love of my life,” Guindon said. “What better name than the person you care about more than anyone else?”
What is Guindon’s opinion of the show? He’s happy with it. Guindon wanted people in the U.S. to see understand the process that takes fish from the water to their plates, and “Big Fish, Texas” does that, he said.
“We catch seafood for them,” Guindon said. “I mean, I catch it, but it’s not mine. It belongs to the people in this country who want to eat fresh seafood.”
In addition to its educational component, “Big Fish, Texas” has satisfying dramatic elements.
“They battle Mother Nature, they battle the elements. They battle making sure the orders get filled,” Colangelo said. “There’s always a boat needing service. …There’s stress, there’s pressure.”
Catch up on previous episodes of “Big Fish, Texas” on the National Geographic channel at natgeotv.com/uk/big-fish-texas/about
For more information on Fatcake Productions, visit www.fatcakeproductions.com