Many of you are likely familiar with the MeatEater brand, but it’s also likely than many are not. For those not familiar with the show and its host Steve Rinella, all you really need to know is that Steve and the MeatEater crew revolutionized the hunting show genre as we know it. In an industry with TV hosts and personalities that were often larger than life and sporting equally cheesy tag lines and over-the-top cinematic antics, MeatEater introduced us to Rinella, who brought to the sport a tone of moderation, conservation, and an obvious penchant for travel and culinary acuity.
For months, word had been sweeping through the fly fishing industry that MeatEater was building a fishing department. Soon after, we saw some of fly fishing’s top, young writers and personalities taking up the MeatEater banner, including April Vokey from the Anchored Podcast, Miles Nolte previously from Gray’s Sporting journal, and Sam Lungren from BHA. Many began to speculate what was happening, and it was thought that the formula for the hunting show would simply be transferred to a new fishing one. But, in the last few weeks, we’ve begun to see what the MeatEater Crew has been up to, and it’s far better than anything we had imagined.
Das Boat has burst onto the scene and delivered an interesting premise and tons of personalities, many who are familiar to those in the fly fishing industry; including JT Van Zandt, Alvin Dedeaux, and a few more faces that we’ve gleaned snippets of from the trailer. But, is Das Boat a fly fishing show, a fishing show, or something more?
We decided to sit down with the new director of the fishing department, Miles Nolte, to discuss the new show Das Boat and to talk about the future of MeatEater.
First off, is Das Boat a fly-fishing show?
No. Das Boat is a fishing show. One of our primary intentions for this show is to normalize fishing various styles. More and more serious anglers are pushing back against categorization. My definition of a good angler is someone with mastery of all fishing gear, techniques, and tactics; and the knowledge of when and how to employ each: spin gear, baitcasting, trolling, fly, cast nets, crab traps, spears, all of it. I think the term “angler” should have the same broad resonance of expertise, adaptability, and experience as “waterman.” That said, given my long history in the fly fishing industry, it’s safe to assume that fly fishing will be part of the series.
Like anything else, fly fishing can be a bit tribal. Is the show directly or indirectly taking on some of the stereotypes and cultural norms of fishing?
If you’ve seen episode one, you know that we tackle tribalism head on, but I wouldn’t say that’s a direct inditement of fly fishing. All sporting subcultures seem to gravitate toward entropy. Hunting splinters into big game, small game, upland, waterfowl. Those categories then splinter by gear choice—bow hunters separating from rifle hunters, traditional bow hunters separating from compound bow hunters, it goes on and on. The trend is no different in fishing, as your readers know, not to mention the communities that orbit around other outdoor pursuits like kayaking, climbing, or mountain biking. We’re calling attention to the problems created by this fracturing, specifically from a conservation standpoint. If we, as outdoorsmen and women get overly focused on rifts between our splintered subcultures, we lose sight of the fact that we agree on the important stuff. When we allow that petty infighting to divide us, we give away much of our power to realize meaningful change on issues of habitat conservation.
I’ve heard it said that most hunters fish, but not all anglers hunt.Is Das Boat sort of the yin to MeatEater’s hunting yang? Is MeatEater looking to bridge the gap between the two worlds?
The majority of the current MeatEater audience has at least some interest in fishing, and I think the folks who already like our shows and podcasts will appreciate the sensibility of Das Boat. More importantly, however, I think a lot of anglers don’t realize what MeatEater is all about. We are an outdoor media brand that focuses on fishing, hunting, conservation, and wild foods, and we treat those subjects with thought and care. We strive to create nuanced, intelligent content without being exclusive or elitist. My hope is that anyone who has any interest in the topics we cover, fishing included, will be entertained, educated, and inspired, whether they watch one of our shows, listen to one of our podcasts, or read the daily articles that we put up on our website.
Before moving to MeatEater, you had directed several fly-fishing short films under the Redington and SAGE brands, like Tip of the Spear. Those films were unlike others we had seen before from big brands. Is Das Boat intended to look outside the box in the same way?
No matter what I’m working on, I sincerely hope that it’s original and worth the time people invest in it. I also cannot claim unilateral credit for those films you reference, or this series. I’ve been very fortunate to work with many very smart and talented people here at MeatEater to make this show. I’ve also collaborated with top notch production companies like Off the Grid Studios, who helped with production on Das Boat, and Tributaries Digital Cinema, who I worked with previously. One of the biggest lessons I learned moving from purely print to visual media was the necessity of an exceptional team. That’s part of what drew me to come work at MeatEater.
MeatEater has been extremely successful with releasing its shows, both hunting and now fishing completely digitally. Where all can the episodes be viewed and when are new episodes?
New Das Boat episodes premier every Thursday at on our website, YouTube and Facebook. We are also building a whole universe of fresh and worthy content for anyone interested in fishing, hunting, conservation, and wild food, updated daily at themeateater.com.
Watch the newest episode below and all Das Boat episodes at www.themeateater.com