How the Adventure Began
Good timing brought all the components of Sportsman's Adventures together. Timing is the key to everything in life. Bad timing can wave a fickle finger, while good timing can swing a mean bat. It was a combination of both that led a fishing guide into the realm of television and on to become one of the most recognized anglers in saltwater fishing today.
The day after poor timing put two different television shows that featured Biscayne Bay and Upper Keys flats guide Capt. Rick Murphy on ESPN in the same morning fishing block, Murphy decided to stop at Happy Days Bait and Tackle in Florida City on his way to fish a client in Everglades National Park. As he arrived at the shop, standing next to their boat in the parking lot were two anglers, who, like Murphy, owned a Maverick flats skiff.
As he walked by, one of the anglers, Mike Zimmer, commented on how much he liked his shows the day before. "Thanks, but those weren't my shows, I was only the guest guide," said Murphy, as he made a mental note not to run for the shop, thus letting his stalkers know the depth of his fear.
In Florida City, in 1993, there were two kinds of people who approached anglers outside tackle shops, those that wanted your wallet, and those that were digging for information. Murphy figured it was the latter, as a plan to direct the fishermen to the "Low Tide Run-aground" ran through his mind.
Have you ever thought about having your own show?" followed Barkey Haddad, the other angler and well-known Key Largo fishing bum, lobbing a pitch every fisherman covets across the plate.
"Sure, said Murphy, "Everyone dreams of having their own fishing show, but I know nothing about television and only a little bit about fishing." At the time, Murphy was thinking, "The tall, skinny one looks like he plays baseball."
Taking out his card, Zimmer handed it to Murphy, as he introduced his fishing partner Barkey Haddad. At the time, Zimmer was the head photographer / paparazzi / celebrity stalker and manager at NBC's Miami affiliate.
Two weeks later, at the Miami International Boat Show, the three met again, this time to talk about expanding their efforts to create a show unique to South Florida. They would name the show, Sportsman's Adventures, and would play to the average angler in Florida that wanted to learn more about their sport.
Coincidentally, it was the same year Miami's expansion baseball team, The Florida Marlins, would win the World Series with Zimmer as Video Operations Manager for WTVJ Miami.
"We hit a home run with our first season, and have been the most popular fishing show on Sun Sports, Florida's premier television channel ever since," said Zimmer. "It just goes to show that you can't live your dreams if you don't step up to the plate and take a few swings. You never know when you're going to hit one out of the park."