In June 24 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Sports Editor
Morgan's Striper Guide Service of Russell Springs will be featured in an upcoming episode of "1 Big Fish" on Comcast Cable throughout the Michigan television market and will reach approximately 3 million viewers.
Cpt. Jerry Morgan, who has been guiding charters on Lake Cumberland for nearly 20 years, and his son, Jeremy, were joined by Jerry's longtime friend, Donnie Reed of Winchester, as the crew took out four folks from the Wolverine State one afternoon last week.
One was Victoria Sweet, the wife of "1 Big Fish" co-host Don Sweet, who filmed the striper action for the television show that will likely air in early October. The Sweets own Visual Films Outdoor Productions in Monroe, Mich. and produce several fishing television shows.
"We wanted to do this to promote Lake Cumberland," Morgan said of the venture, adding that he wanted to show folks up north there is still plenty of water in the lake despite the drawdown.
Reed, who is also a musician and writes and sings tunes for Sweet's show, said the trade-off benefited both parties.
"They get to come down here to a lake they are not familiar with and get a good guide service to take them out and it helps them produce a show," he said. "They're a pretty classy outfit and do a good job."
As the group ventured out in Morgan's boat, Morgan told of how the striper success had been going in the late spring.
With the action fast-paced of a morning, late afternoons sometimes seemed to be a drag for Lake Cumberland's signature fish. Despite that being the case, the group out with Morgan did find some luck. Dan Chimelak, Lucian Gizel and Bobbi Marvin, all from up north, reeled in their own striper.
Five fish were netted as a total and Sweet was able to get some quality footage for the television show.
As dusk approached across the lake and the fishing was completed, Morgan took the group back to their State Dock houseboat in a Beaver Creek cove. The afternoon trip had been a success.
Lake Cumberland saw three newbies catch their first striper, footage was shot for the show and most of all, Morgan was pleased with the day's outcome. It would be just mere hours before he would be back out on the lake, catching live bait for the next day's charter.
Once back to the houseboat, Don Sweet, the show's co-host spoke about the trip to Lake Cumberland and what it meant to his production company.
"This is, by far, my favorite show we've shot so far," he said. "These guys made it happen."
"We typically like to go to vacation locations for families," Sweet said. "It is hard to beat Lake Cumberland."
He said that in spite of the drawdown due to work on Wolf Creek Dam, the fishing was still good. Morgan, who docks his boat at Jamestown Marina, agreed with that sentiment and actually went as far as to say he thought that fishing was even better since the lake was dropped to 680 feet above sea level in 2007.
Sweet said the accommodations with State Dock and dock owner Bill Jasper allowed his group to experience a houseboat on the lake to go along with its trophy fishing.
"We wanted to show them what that was all about, too," Sweet said of the houseboat.
With the Lake Cumberland fishing and houseboating segments upcoming on the "1 Big Fish" program, Sweet said he hoped to introduce his viewers to an experience any of them could travel to and enjoy.
"We're trying to show the family friendly vacation, and fishing is, of course, the hook," he said. "But there is something for everyone to do here."
He said Jasper even offered his viewers a deal to come down to Lake Cumberland.
"Of course we're from the Great Lakes so we've been pretty hard hit," Sweet said.
Sweet also said Morgan and Reed were instrumental in making the episode a success.
Reed, who played the guitar, wrote and sang the "1 Big Fish" jingle and he and Morgan, who played the banjo, were taped performing the tune together.
"Here is a guy who really loves it," Sweet said of Reed. "And you can tell he has some very fond memories of this lake."
Sweet then acknowledged Morgan as someone who has a multitude of years of experience on the water and was willing to give up his valuable time for the project.
"A guy like that makes it look easy," he said. "With a guy like that, he just wheels out there, catches some fish, and we're done."
Sweet said they both had very humble attitudes.
"They are more than happy to share their techniques with people and show how things are done," he said.
Sweet said since the year 2000, Visual Films has traveled the globe to produce the best in fishing films. With over 100 DVD titles on a wide variety of fish, his production company has produced shows for the Water Entertainment Network, My Outdoor TV and The Sportsman Channel.
Also during their time here, Sweet captured some footage of fishing with Cpt. Jim Durham and StriperFun Guide Service that will be added to the show to go along with the footage from Morgan's boat.
Morgan's Guide Service can be contacted at 270-866-7177 or 270-866-8703 while Sweet's company can be visited on the Internet at www.visualfilms.com