SLIPPERY WHEN WET:
ANIMAL PLANET'S "COLD RIVER CASH" FOLLOWS MAINE'S FIERCEST FISHERMEN IN THEIR MAD RUSH TO CASH IN ON SURPRISINGLY VALUABLE ELVER EELS
Welcome to Eel Country! Maine is one of two states where eel fishing is legal, and it's the state's second largest revenue stream, bringing in approximately $40 million this past year alone! But in this icy New England state, catching this sort of liquid gold is slippery and dangerously fast! It all has to be done within a two-month window, so the fishermen who commit their lives to reeling in the loot (a maximum of 400 can obtain licenses) must endure all sorts of hardship, uncertainty and danger - all compounded by a lack of sleep -to turn eel fishing into COLD RIVER CASH.
On Thursday, January 2, at 10PM ET/PT, Animal Planet's COLD RIVER CASH brings viewers eight episodes of adventure and mishaps as three teams of fishermen take to the rocky riverbanks of coastal Maine to vie for an elusive but lucrative catch - baby glass eels - which are tiny cellophane-looking creatures also known as elver eels.
During the short two-month season, which begins every March, COLD RIVER CASH's three impassioned competitive teams -the Eelinators, GrindersandMaineiacs-- work round the clock to find prime fishing holes, protect profitable territory and haul in as many eels as possible, which can cash in at a hefty $2,000 a pound. High demand in Asia means the fishermen could earn hundreds of thousands of dollars in a few short months, but with only 60 days to make a year's income, each team is determined to find the most lucrative fishing spot.
COLD RIVER CASH features some of the Maine's saltiest characters as they hunt day and night amid high tide and a full moon. Invisible, deep holes, perilous rocks and frigid waters are but a few of these fishermen's natural obstacles. The stakes are high; the rivalry is intense; and the threat of danger is constant as each team struggles to come out ahead.
Meet the teams:
The Eelinators: Hailing from Brunswick, Maine, this team, consisting of brothers Dana and Chris Hole and lifelong best friend, Ken Cornelison, brought in a staggering $600,000 by the end of the previous eel-fishing season. This year, these macho guys are fishing hard to surpass that amount and crush the competition. Last season, the team's success was based on warmer temperature; this season, the fishermen are plagued by an unusually colder climate, so can they really count on beating the odds this go round?
The Grinders: Led by family man Chad Jordan, this team from Hebron, Maine, also includes Chad's brother, Justin Jordan, new member and son C.J. Jordan and friend Lester Toothaker, whose odd, trademark bray of a laugh and elaborate schemes to catch eel always bring levity to the competition. In the fishing world, grinding means sticking to one particular fishing hole for long, consecutive hours, and this team definitely lives up to its name. Other fishermen think grinding is an ineffective method, but it's this team's strategy. As Lester always says, "If you can't find them, grind them."
The Maineiacs: Another family team, father and son Lee and Jason Leavitt, along with Jason's brother-in-law, Mike Bradley, represent Scarborough, Maine. Unlike the Grinders, this team constantly moves around to find the best fishing spot and often ends up in the most unconventional places. Lee, or 'Old Man Leavitt,' is the eccentric and opinionated patriarch of the group and constantly drives the rest of the team insane. He is a stubborn, old-fashioned fisherman who spent most his life on a fishing boat and a determined non-conformist who has unconventional ideas where to find the most eels. Should the younger guys go against their own guts and listen to 'Old Man Leavitt' at the risk of losing their entire savings?
COLD RIVER CASH is produced for Animal Planet by Left/Right. Executive producers for Left/Right are Ken Druckerman, Banks Tarver, Anneka Jones and Geno McDermott. For Animal Planet, Keith Hoffman is executive producer; Jamie Dugger is producer for Animal Planet; and Sarah Russell is production coordinator. Kurt Tondorf, vice president of development for Animal Planet, developed the series.