Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Top Hooker isn't the competition you think it is

Lowcountry resident hauls in top prize

Posted by Kailey Miller on Wed, Jul 24, 2013 at 3:42 PM

North Charleston native Patrick Crawford has reeled in the coveted title of Top Hooker, which is not a prostitution contest but an Animal Planet show about the world's top ten anglers. Ten contestants ( eight men and two women) took part in the eight episode series to vie for the number one spot.

Crawford, who was just getting back from fishing and driving in his new black 2014 Chevy Silverado, also took home $30,000 and a massive trophy. He first tried saltwater fishing 15 years ago and has made a career out of it as the captain for Allure Fishing Charters in Charleston. During the filming for Top Hooker, which lasted about six weeks, contestants had no outside communication to their friends or families whatsoever. “My family was very supportive,” Crawford says. “They had my back and they believed in me to go do what I wanted to do.”

They finished filming the day before Thanksgiving, allowing Crawford to get home around 9 p.m. that night. The contestants had to sign a confidentiality agreement to keep quiet about the results until the show finished airing. “I love talking, it’s hard for me to keep my mouth shut, but when you’re under a hefty confidentiality agreement you’re pretty careful,” he says. “Over the course of time, I’ve been asked every single trick question that could possibly be asked.” The angler did manage to keep quiet until the airing of the finale when he and his family, along with about 150 friends and clients, watched the last episode in Mt. Pleasant. “I don’t remember much after as soon as they said, ‘OK, and the weights are...’” Crawford says. “I had the trophy brought in by my wife and they came in and everyone just started freaking out . . . I took pictures with everybody for like 45 minutes, it was a blast.”

The show was filmed in Los Angeles and its surrounding areas with challenges that were unique and used skills most fishermen probably don't employ too often. “The first thing we ever had to do was go jump into a giant goldfish tank,” Crawford says. “We had to catch goldfish with our mouth.” One challenge had contestants catch fish while blind-folded. Another used remote controlled boats to catch fish , and sharks were the sea creature of choice for one of the nail-biting episodes. “We fished off of water tricycles, which was pretty tough,” he says. “But the hardest challenge obviously for me was the finale, the final episode where we fished for I think it was 10 hours on day one and six hours after that. It was nonstop. We were fishing in 250-300 feet of water . . . it was quite a workout.”

Luckily the competition managed to be a friendly one too. “When we got there they looked at us and said you know, ‘Look around you because the people that are standing around you right this minute are going to become the closest friends you’ve ever had in your life. You’re going to share a life experience that no one else could ever share,’ and they’re all my friends now,” Crawford says. “I talk to them all on a regular basis, I’d do anything for them. I’m waiting for some of them to come to Charleston to fish with me now.”

Crawford’s next step is to work on his own show. He has all of the gear purchased and is actively looking for a sponsorship so that he can have his own outdoor fishing show by the year 2014. Crawford has experience with TV shows, and has shot 14 different shows in the past for Fishing Network, Extreme Angler TV, and Lowcountry Wildlife among others.


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