When the COVID-19 pandemic took hold last year, people had to find new ways to stay connected. For some, that meant taking their weekly D&D nights virtual. For others, it meant bouncing around to different backyards to catch up with friends. And for Nate Pischke and Erik Sudheimer, it meant starting SHORELUNCH with Nate P., a YouTube fishing and cooking show that cast its first line in August of 2020.
While they’d kicked around the idea for a while, it was the pandemic that allowed the pair to make it happen. Here was a way to get outside, social distance, and put something creative out into the world. And it’s certainly not lacking in creativity.
The show features the charismatic titular host in front of the camera, with Sudheimer handling production duties. Each episode finds Pischke at one of the Midwest’s finest fishing holes: Minnehaha Creek, Mille Lacs Lake, the Red River (a real “muddy mistress”), and Wisconsin’s Driftless region.
Most of the time, he catches fish (then gives them a little kiss before releasing them back from whence they came). Sometimes, he catches the biggest fish of his life. Every time, he makes a gourmet meal right there onshore (or, seasonally, on the ice).
But SHORELUNCH is unlike any fishing show you’ve ever seen. And while Nate P. has the loose, goofy energy of YouTube favorites like Matty Matheson or Brad Leone, it’s certainly not your typical cooking show. Pischke and Sudheimer aim to break down the barriers to entry for both fishing and cooking. Part of that means living up to the show’s title and always casting from the shore. It also means educating viewers with crucial tips and know-how. Before throwing a line out, Pischke gives a full rundown of his rig that includes what kind of weights, baits, and knots he’s using. For those of us not knotically-versed, he also gives a quick tying tutorial on how to tie a classic snell knot.
“We want our program to be inclusive for all different types of people and break the mold of the macho, asshole fishing guy,” says Pischke. “I want to show that, [with a little bit of knowledge], you can feel comfortable fishing the creek or Nokomis or wherever. As for the cooking, if a dumbshit like me can do it, anybody can.”
Pischke didn’t grow up fishing, at least not regularly. It wasn’t until he went bass fishing in his teens that he really got hooked (fishing pun!) and became the avid angler he is today. He doesn’t have any professional cooking experience aside from teenage stints at Circus Pizza and Taco Bell, but he’s been a skilled home cook longer than he has a fisherman, which shows in the creations he puts together, often in adverse conditions.
Seared scallops, spaghetti carbonara, gazpacho with grilled cheese, shrimp tacos—Pischke even made a 12-foot party sub for an awaiting crowd of “hungy bungy” SHORELUNCH fans. He says the goal is to teach people basic techniques they can use—whether on the shore or at home—while emphasizing seasonal, quality ingredients whenever possible.
As with everything in life, it takes a village. Deciding on dishes is a team effort between Pischke and his wife. She helps him develop the recipe, and then it’s up to him to execute it in the wild. Sometimes he practices beforehand. Usually, he doesn’t.
In one particular episode, he manages a succulent duck confit with a perfectly dressed side salad (the “legendary dish of ice fishing”) in the middle of a very frozen Mille Lacs Lake. And while he doesn’t catch any fish in this episode, that’s part of the fun with SHORELUNCH—and what sets it apart (“we’re not catching any fish so we gotta make up stupid poems”).
Most fishing shows are shot over multiple days and cut together using only the best “slaying” footage. The hosts wear the same clothes each day to make it appear that all the fish were caught in short succession, masking all the time spent not catching any fish. (Sorry to give you this peek behind the curtain, but sometimes you have to see how the sausage is made. Especially when the sausage lies about how many fish it catches in a day.)
Part of Pischke’s ethos for the show is “what you see is what you get,” and sometimes, what you get is no fish. But what some episodes lack in fish, they make up for in antics. SHORELUNCH is packed with one-liners (“I still think the national bird should’ve been the turkey. The turkey’s a much more majestic bird.”) made better by Sudheimer’s editing skills. His brilliant use of quick cuts, screaming guitar licks, and refusal to leave bloopers on the cutting room floor all add to the show’s approachable personality. And the results, for lack of better words, are fucking hilarious. While Sudheimer himself isn’t a fisherman, he enjoys being part of something that hopefully inspires others to pick up a rod and give it a shot. He also, of course, enjoys eating the food that Pischke makes.
There’s one thing Pischke has in common with other fishing show hosts: He does, in fact, wear the same clothes every day. It’s not to con people into thinking he’s some sort of master angler. Instead, proudly donning the same Black Lives Matter shirt in every episode, it’s about further spreading his message of inclusivity and breaking the mold of the typical, usually conservative-leaning fishing show. (He also wears the same camo Crocs every episode, but that’s more about spreading a message of style and comfort.)
SHORELUNCH is starting to resonate with people, and the show is gaining traction (probably, in part, because of the Crocs). In addition to the hungry live crowd awaiting the party sub, Pischke and Sudheimer hosted around 100 people at the Fulton taproom to premiere episode 12 in September. And, according to Pischke, they’re up to 20s of subscribers on their YouTube channel.
Ultimately, his dream for the show is to travel, filming an episode in Alaska and eventually peppering in some international destinations as well. For now though, he plans to continue showcasing the best spots that the Midwest has to offer. And he’s always on the hunt for new fishing holes.
Do you have a favorite spot that SHORELUNCH should check out? Maybe leave that in the comments. And while you’re at it, let Nate know what your neatest thing is.