Salt-water stars

Brandon Anstey
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Cast members of the upcoming Cold Water Cowboys talk about their experiences filming the show

It was an unforgettable experience for three of the fishing captains to be featured in the premiere of Discovery’s Cold Water Cowboys on Feb. 25.

Paul Tiller of Valleyfield and Justin Bridger of Carmanville will be among the six fishing captains featured in the reality show, as well as Twillingate’s Richard Gillett.

The ten-part series will take audiences aboard the fishing vessels of Mr. Tiller, Mr. Bridger, Mr. Gillett, and three additional captains from the province, as they make their way through the icy waters off the shores of Newfoundland and Labrador.

He’s been on the water his whole life, but this was the first time a camera crew was on board, said Mr. Tiller.

“It was quite the experience for sure. It took a couple trips for us to get used to the cameras, but after we got going for a bit the cameras were just like a regular piece of equipment on the boat; that’s how we done our day,” said the veteran fisherman.

It was even humorous at times.

“Some of the stuff they done we laughed at and some of the stuff we done they laughed at, I’m sure.”

For Mr. Bridger, it was a new experience and something he won’t ever forget.

“It was different; I don’t think I’ll be a big movie star or anything,” laughed Mr. Bridger. It was nice and it’s an experience I’ll never get again, so I tried to take every moment I could and make the best of it.”

Both Mr. Tiller and Mr. Bridger agreed it wasn’t an everyday experience for a fisherman from Newfoundland and Labrador.

“It was real different for us I must say,” said Mr. Bridger. “After a few interviews and everything else, it got easier for us. We weren’t so camera shy after we got used to it.”

The making of the show provided some laughs out on the sea and helped to break up the pressures of fishing trips.

“It was something different for everyone,” said Mr. Bridger. “There were more people to talk to and more things to do. Everyone enjoyed it and made the best of it.”

Mr. Gillett was born a fisherman. The experience was new and exciting for him and the crew of the Midnight Shadow.

“It was definitely something to get used to,” laughed Mr. Gillett. “When it all started to flow, it was like they were part of the crew and it was like there were no cameras around.”

The experience was surreal.

“It’s finally hitting home that all the work is done,” he said.

The show boosts the fishery market in the province, but that’s not the only place it will provide benefits, said Mr. Gillett.

“I think this is not only for the fishery, but this puts Newfoundland (and Labrador) fishing on the map. It shows the world what the province is all about: We’re not just a little island in the middle of the North Atlantic; we’re productive, hard-working, rugged, and a different breed.”

Cold Water Cowboys will also lend itself to the tourism industry in the province, said the Twillingate fisherman.

“It’s not only the fishing aspect of it, but it’s putting Newfoundland on the map as being a beautiful and rugged place to come visit. This is going to hundreds of thousands of people.”

Mr. Tiller agreed with Mr. Gillett, and said the 10-part reality series will change the face of the province and its fishing industry.

“I think people will look at the fishery in a whole other light when that show comes to air,” said Mr. Tiller. “The people in the cities don’t know what it takes to go out in that North Atlantic and find fish, catch it through ice and wind, and then get the catch back to shore safely. There are lots of mechanical breakdowns and things to deal with.”

Mr. Tiller had a sneak peek at the first episode, and said it does justice to the fishing life.

“The show does good to portray what goes on out there. I think they explained it pretty good.”

Mr. Bridger said the show has a bit of everything, and crews experience all the drama that comes along with being out on the rough waters.

“I think everyone is going to enjoy it. There’s a bit of fun, and there’s breakdowns.”

The show has already gained the three fishing captains some hometown fame.

“As the word is getting out, everyone is getting really excited, especially my kids,” said Mr. Bridger. “It’s a bit hard to believe it at the moment but I’m coming around.”

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Twillingate, Carmanville North Atlantic

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Recent comments

  • Jackie N
    February 09, 2014 - 13:12

    Put us on the maps, boys. maybe the Federal Gov't will pay attention. Really looking forward to the show. Thanks!

  • Blaine Gidge
    February 05, 2014 - 19:47

    Going to be a very interesting series. A must watch for all, far and near..

  • Regina Vey
    February 04, 2014 - 16:04

    Awesome reading...I can't wait for this show to air...I've never missed an episode of "Deadliest Catch" because I love the water, fish of any kind and it's always good to see where and how our food is brought to us....Brandon, I am proud to say that you've captured something that I can hardly wait to watch..thanks again...