Walton Board of County Commissioners have given the green light for a new family fishing TV program to be shot in our waters and on our shores.
The project was proposed last year by charter captain Jack Cole of DeFuniak Springs, but the concept ran into trouble with the BCC as it was conceived by and was to feature Cole and his charter boat. Commissioners denied it at that time with a suggestion that Cole revamp it.
Cole obliged and when he brought the concept back with a larger scope, it was approved.
Instead of featuring one captain and his boat, the show now plans to feature up to nine captains, said PJ Loughman, Walton County Tourist Development Council's director of marketing.
Which charters those will be are not determined yet, but invitations will be extended to those in Walton County, she said.
"We are working with captains to have them partner, and we will be adding chefs, restaurants and paddle-board companies also," she said. "If more captains apply than we have space for, we will hold a drawing."
In the newly revamped program, Cole will be working with the TDC and producers on production instead of being on film.
Loughman told commissioners that 44 percent of visitors come here for fishing.
"It's a big family-fishing destination and this will be a fishing adventure," she said. "We have tried to tailor this to a family audience. It will feature not only the fishing aspect but tourism-related businesses."
The TDC will contribute $120,000 for its partnership in the show.
Not everyone was happy with the partnership, however. Resident Donna Johns told commissioners that 44 percent of people come here to fish without a fishing show.
"We have enough tourists here already," she said. "I think this is unnecessary."
The BCC approved the filming for the first year and after that, measurements of success will be taken and the cost/success ratio reconsidered.
The program focusing on South Walton waters will be a 30-minute program consisting of 13 episodes with commercials featuring Visit South Walton.
Filming will take place June through October during the summer and fall fishing season when different fish are running.