The filming took place recently on Maryland's Chesapeake Bay while fishing for striped bass, and followed the president's signing of an executive order to build up stocks of striped bass and red drum in federal waters.
The episode shows a side of the president rarely seen—unscripted and casual—and discussions focused on subjects dear to both Bush and the Fischers: conservation, sustainable fisheries, family and fishing.
"He's one of the most impressive men I've ever met," Chris Fischer said. "He's clearly a very compassionate, big-time family guy."
The Fischers joined the president for two hours of fishing off St. Michael's, Md., and filmed the event in High Definition for Offshore Adventures. Although security was tight on the Bay and required several weeks planning logistics, rare candid access was allowed at the president's request. Sustainable fishing was a central subject, and President Bush thanked the Fischers on several occasions for promoting conservation to their audience.
"I want to thank you all for what you do," the president said. "The fact that you are willing to promote good conservation practices is really important. We've got to make sure we've got enough to catch as well as enough to eat, and we can do both in a smart way."
A catalyst behind the meeting was Offshore Adventures' recently unveiled plan to embark on the greatest global oceanic expedition in history—a seven-year trip around the earth aboard a 126-foot mothership.
The goals of the trip are to assess the state of the world's oceans, educate people around the world on proper fisheries management, discover the most remote fisheries on earth and record it for television history. The crew will travel on a decommissioned Bering Sea crabber vessel, refitted as the ultimate long-range fishing platform. Aboard are numerous state-of-the-art fishing vessels, highlighted by a 45-foot sportfisher and a 28-foot Triton center console with twin 250-hp Mercury engines. Throughout the journey, marine scientist will be involved to study and assess ocean ecosystems and fisheries.
"We talked a lot about our seven-year journey, which the president was very interested in," Fischer said. "He is a true sportsman, he cares about conservation and takes great interest in properly managing the worlds resources. I think it's one of his greatest joys. He told me, 'The president can make an impact, and that's the great thing about the job.'"
Melissa Fischer was the only one to catch a fish on the Chesapeake, which gave rise to joking and a little ribbing from all sides. Fischer said the president went out of his way to make everyone comfortable, and the episode will show a side of President Bush rarely seen.
"He seemed so connected to us. He really did," Fischer said. "He remembered everybody's name. We talked about families and just hung out for a while. Fishing creates amazing, instant bonds. I wanted, at least for one morning, to take him away from it all. I think that happened."
Offshore Adventures presented by Red Lobster airs Sundays, 9 a.m. ET from January through late June on ESPN2. Episode 3, featuring President Bush and a behind-the-scenes look at the new mothership operation and plans for the global expedition airs January 13. Check local listings for more episode airing information.