A new reality show, called “Hook, Line and Sisters,” is set to premiere on the TLC network tonight at 8 p.m. Alaska time. It follows the Anderson family as they fish in Alaska. A large portion of the seven-episode series was filmed during the Sitka Sound sac roe herring fishery.
“First of all, it’s about a family working together to make a living commercial salmon fishing,” said 26-year-old Sierra Anderson, one of the sisters mentioned in the title. “We also do Sitka herring in the spring. Secondly, it’s sort of about fishing from a female perspective. It’s about my sister and I, and our journey through the fishing industry.”
Anderson’s 21-year-old sister Memry is the other half of the “sisters” in “Hook, Line and Sisters.”
Sierra Anderson says the series came about after lots of work documenting her experiences fishing. But she said once the pitch was made, it moved fast.
“Probably within a month it went from pitch to green light meeting and then sold,” she said. “That was probably prompted more by the fact that fishing season was going to be starting and there’s deadlines and it’s kind of now or never.”
There are a bunch of reality shows about Alaska, of course – everything from crab fishing, to gold mining, to Sarah Palin’s adventures with her family. But Anderson, who has previewed all seven episodes set to air this season, says her show will be different.
“Reality shows are reality shows, and they’re always going to focus in on the drama, but there’s no soft script when it comes to this show in general,” Anderson said. “This is as raw and real as it gets.”
The Anderson family includes Sierra’s mother, Susan, and her father, Dean, who captains the family fishing boat, the Memry Anne. A news release from Discovery Communications, which owns the TLC network, calls Dean a “grizzled sea dog known for his aggressive fishing as much as his salmon hauls,” and says Susan “spends as much time refereeing familial feuds as managing the family’s finances.”
Having camera crews aboard, especially during Sitka’s rough-and-tumble commercial herring fishery, presented special obstacles, says Sierra Anderson.
“I think the person it affected the most was my dad, which wasn’t always pretty. When you’re on a fishing boat, you prize any kind of personal space. There is no personal space. But you definitely have to respect the little bit of space each person has. On commercial fishing boats, everybody knows that,” she said. “But when you bring on four, five, six extra bodies, all of a sudden, you don’t have any personal space and you have cameras in your face all the time.”
Anderson says for her, the cameras were difficult for the first week or so, but that eventually, she got used to it. “Hook, Line and Sisters” premieres Thursday night at 8 p.m. Alaska time on cable’s TLC network.