From the producers of Bill Saiff’s Rod & Reel, Streamside with Don Meissner and Cabin Country comes Fishing Behind the Lines with Don Meissner, a new series with the premise to “take a Soldier fishing” and in the process, learn about life in the military.
Soldier’s share their experiences in the Army while fishing is introduced as a natural way to relieve stress and give a glimpse into one of the most popular outdoor activities. Fishing Behind the Lines invokes the soldier’s story, their lives serving in the United States Military and its effect on their families, and their overall life experiences.
Each episode highlights a day of fishing in one of the great lakes, regional streams or rivers. The show Hosted by Don Meissner with active duty or retired Soldiers as special guests. This program will do much to link the military and civilian communities and foster national pride.
Fishing Behind the Lines with Don Meissner is sponsored by American Military University, Oswego County, New York and the St. Lawrence North Country Foundation.
Episode #101 Sergeant Hernandez
Don takes Staff Sergeant, Joey Hernandez, on beautiful Lake Bonaparte in Northern New York State. SSG. Hernandez is an Army Ranger and a novice fisherman. Don and guide, Chris Flint, introduce Army Ranger Joey Hernandez to catch and release in Northern New York. SSG Hernandez shares amazing stories of military life and deployment during times of conflict.
Episode #102 Sergeant Hackler
On the Mohawk Reservation in Northern New York, Don takes an army combat medic who was recently deployed to Afghanistan, on the Akwaesasne River to experience bass fishing. Sgt. Benjamin Hackler shares his experiences in Afghanistan and his growth and maturity in the US Army.
Episode #103 Captain Ferguson
Don with guest, Captain Max Ferguson and friends take a six-mile journey on the Grasse River in search of the elusive and legendary Muskie. Captain Ferguson is an Army Ranger and has been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Visit with Captain Ferguson and his family as we learn about his amazing military career.
Episode #104 Specialist Tiner
Don takes Specialist Rodney Tiner down the Salmon River in Pulaski, New York. Specialist Tiner is a combat medic in the US Army with a recent tour in Afghanistan. Specialist Tiner learns how to catch Steelheads and describes the pressures of military life on the families of soldiers.
Episode #105 Sergeant Geig
Don tackles the St. Lawrence River near Waddington, New York with guests Sergeant First Class David Geig and his son, Nick, who turned 13 years old on that day. SFC. Geig is in the Military Police at Fort Drum, New York and is an accomplished artist. Don helps the father-son team catch bass on this special birthday episode.
Episode #106 Two Brothers
A journey to Lake Ontario in Oswego, New York with two brothers in the National Guard shows the challenges of fishing in open water as waves rock their boat side-to-side as well as the passengers aboard. Brothers, Danny and Patrick Edwards share their experiences serving in combat together. They face the challenges of battling the swells of Lake Ontario.
Episode #107 Pilot Conlin
Curt Conlin, a retired army helicopter pilot and veteran, joins Don on the cold and snowy banks of the Salmon River in Northern New York. They venture through the elements with seasoned fisherman and Vietnam veteran, Jim Kelso, who teaches Don and Curt the art of catching steelheads.
Episode #108 Cadet Brown
Tyeler Brown, a college cadet at the prestigious Norwich University is joined by his father, Scott Brown, and guide “Air Force” Bob, as they teach Don the particulars of ice fishing. Tyeler shares why a young man decides to become an officer in the Marine Corps and how it affects his family.
Episode #109 Captain Williams
Captain Jason Williams of the United States Army goes fishing with Don in Jefferson County, New York. Guide Ricky Moore takes Don and Captain Williams on a wild and fun excursion down small creek fishing for some very large salmon. Enjoy the spectacle of chasing down and grabbing large salmon while using only their hands as nets. Captain Williams shares the special challenges of commanding soldiers during conflict.
Episode #110 Specialist Pulsifer
On the Mohawk Reservation with guide Will Clute, Don takes Army Specialist Bill Pulsifer of the National Guard fishing for some of the largest fish he has ever caught. Like other areas in Northern New York, the Reservation has an abundance of fish. Watch Specialist Pulisfer’s excitement as he catches large bass and shares the story of serving his country.
Episode #111 Mike Rist, Retired Army
Don takes retired SFC. Mike Rist to the Mohawk Reservation in Northern New York. Soon the fish begin to jump, and the two begin to have a lot of fun. Guide Will Clute gives SFC. Mike Rist an experience he will never forget. Listen to a heart-felt story of losing a close friend in combat.
Episode #112 Gerald and Elaine Esposito, Wounded Warriors
Don and Captain Ernie take two wounded veterans, who happen to be husband and wife, fishing on Lake Ontario in Oswego, New York. Gerald and Elaine Esposito share their stories of the struggles for wounded warriors as they adjust to their new lives. Learn how fishing can be a therapeutic tool for soldiers who come back wounded from conflict.
Episode #113 The Best of
Re-visit some of our favorite moments as Don recounts the highlights from this season’s episodes. Each week highlighted a day of fishing with active duty or retired military personnel. With rehabilitative recreation through fishing, we learned of the soldier’s experiences and what motivates them to serve in the U.S. military.
Don Meissner was the host of Rod & Reel Streamside for 18 seasons. Most recently, Don was named the spokesperson for FISH CAP, a multi-media campaign to assist in promoting St. Lawrence County as the fishing capital of the region, and possibly the world. According to Don, "This program means more than fishing and celebrating our region. Fishing Behind the Lines gets down to highlighting the most basic forms of humanity and how we connect to people through recreation. This program will reduce prejudices and build bridges with our military community."
American Military University
Oswego County, New York
St. Lawrence-North Country Community Foundation
The Alcoa Foundation, the Corning Incorporated Foundation, North Country Savings Bank, SeaComm Federal Credit Union, the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce, the St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency, the St. Lawrence River Valley Redevelopment Agency, the City of Ogdensburg, New York, and the Towns of Brasher, Massena, and Waddington, New York.
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