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John Presley

During the first week of December if you were on or around Sam Rayburn you might have thought you were in Hollywood. Sam Rayburn and the Rayburn Country area became the production sites for two 30 second SpiderWire fishing commercials created by 1/33 Production out of Santa Monica, California. Their temporary production office was Rayburn Country Resort. The titles of the commercials are the "Spidercast-Strike Team" and Spiderwire-Million $ Challenge." Several profession fishermen and women were the talent in this commercial. They were Alton Jones, Ray Beck, Sam Heaton, Tina Hill, Carl Svebeck, Robert Mills, Kelly Jordan and myself.

The life of a professional fisherman not only means fishing, it also includes being involved in things like this. I was really excited when I first got the call that I was going to be involved in a commercial, as I'm sure the others were too.

This was one of the neatest things I have ever done since I have been in the fishing industry. It was just like making a Hollywood movie.

It took a crew of around 40 people to make it all happen. It was kind of like a military operation, the way we would move around and do things. On the first day the production crew met with us and told us how things were going to work. They gave us a script of the commercial and told us where and what time they wanted us the next morning.

The first morning we had to be at wardrobe and makeup at 6:00 a.m. We had a really neat wardrobe. It was black army pants, army boots and a black long sleeve Spider Wire shirt ad vest with a black hat and dark sunglasses. The wardrobe set the scene for the commercial. We were like a navy seal team ready for battle with the fish. The first frames of the commercial were filmed on a desolate country road in Rayburn Country. We took three black utility vehicles speeding down hill pulling 518vs high tech Ranger bass boats. I was in the last vehicle and we had to stay really close together, almost touching the outboard motor in front of us. To do this shot, it took several takes and we got just what they were looking for. Then we were on the move to Twin Dikes Park for another shoot. Each time we moved locations it was like a military maneuver, moving all their production equipment and cameras. We were in constant communication with the producer and director using radios at all times. Later that day they rigged the camera on our vehicle filming shots forward from the last truck, and also rigged cameras on the hood of the first truck, looking back to the last vehicle as we sped through Twin Dikes Park on our way to the boat ramps.

Late that afternoon, after we shot several more frames in Twin Dikes Park, we packed up and were on the move again to the 147 Bridge to do a thrilling boat stunt.

To film this part of the commercial, the production crew had to get the police to shut down the 147 Bridge so they could film from the side of the bridge. During this stunt they wanted us to take the three 518vs Ranger boats under the bridge side by side, the center boats staying just a little bit in front of the other two. We stayed together as close as we could as we went under the bridge full throttle between the concrete bridge pilings which were only about 50 to 60 ft. apart. It took a lot of planning and skilled boat driving to film this part. The boat drivers were Alton Jones, Carl Svebeck and myself. This is a stunt which should only be done for something like this.

After about ten times going under the bridge we got the shot the way they wanted and we were so close we could have shook hands. The director said it was great, just like a stunt from a James Bond movie. We were all glad to see that part of the commercial over and done with.

The last day of filming took place back at Twin Dikes Park. The production crew built sets with large lights and props to show the fishing products off and the logos on the vehicles and the boats.

Later that day we did some more tight formation running with the boats across the lake. During some of this filming they mounted a camera on the front of one of the Ranger boats down close to the water. At the end of the day they filmed some fishing scenes. Everyone who participated was great to work with and it was a memorable experience.

Thanks to J W A Fishing & Motors and SpiderWire and 1/33 Film Productions for choosing Lake Sam Rayburn for their shoot location. The commercial is supposed to air around the 2nd week of January. Hope you catch it.

Also, don't forget the Houston Boat Show is this month so come by and see me at the Lowrance Electronics booth or the Lakecaster booth.

By they way, when I am not fishing tournaments, I am a full-time fishing guide on Lake Sam Rayburn. If you would like to book a trip, please call me at 409-698-9713 or Ann's Tackle Shop at 409-384-7685.

Good luck and good fishing.

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