Fishing & Boating News

Weather Channel's "Reel Rivals" to Focus on Keys Sportfishing Captains

by: Andy Newman/Carol Shaughnessy,

Keys sportfishing captains George McElveen, Nick Stanczyk, his uncle Scott Stanczyk and Augie Wampler.
Photo by courtesy Reel Rivals
(Apr. 25, 2013 - ISLAMORADA, Florida Keys)

Florida Keys sportfishing is destined for primetime broadcast attention when a new television reality series debuts on The Weather Channel.

The first episode of "Reel Rivals," is to air Tuesday, May 7, at 9 p.m. ET/PT and is to feature the daily competiveness of Keys sportfishing captains George McElveen, Nick Stanczyk, his uncle Scott Stanczyk and Augie Wampler.

The four skippers base their boats at Bud N' Mary's Fishing Marina, an almost 70-year-old Islamorada marina steeped in Keys sportfishing history.

"'Reel Rivals' is about the competition between four sportfishing captains in the sportfishing capital of the world," said Brad Hebert, the co-executive producer for Optomen Productions that created the show for The Weather Channel. "It centers on relationships, on and off their boats.

"They're entertaining, comical and (episodes are) full of twists and turns," he said about the 30-minute shows.

Hebert and his video production crew focused a slew of cameras on the four skippers for almost a month. They subsequently spent four months in post-production to create six shows that are to air with the anticipation the series will be extended on an annual basis.

Hebert says viewers should be forewarned that "Reel Rivals" is not a typical nuts-and-bolts fishing show, although plenty of sportfishing action is included. He added that the natural attractions and climate of the Keys add to the show's appeal.

"The location (Florida Keys) is beyond what is advertised in terms of beauty as well as the diversity of species," Hebert said.

Following the premiere, subsequent episodes are slated to air Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT through the end of June, according to a Weather Channel spokesperson. Programming dates and times are subject to change.