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Duluth native sets the hook on a new fishing TV program

Duluth native Grant Sorensen holds a nice walleye he caught in December on the St. Louis River. Sorensen will launch his new fishing show, "Superior Angling," on Feb. 12 on WDIO-TV Channel 10. Grant Sorensen photo1 / 3
Morgan Gallus of Minneapolis shows off a walleye she caught while taping an episode of Grant Sorensen's "Superior Angling" fishing show. The show will launch Feb. 12 on WDIO-TV Channel 10 in Duluth and run for 13 weeks. Grant Sorensen photo2 / 3
Eric Olson of International Falls and Grant Sorensen of Minneapolis show off nice crappies taken on an inland lake. Their crappie fishing will be featured in an episode of Sorensen's new fishing show, "Superior Angling," to begin in February on WDIO-TV Channel 10. Grant Sorensen photo3 / 3

Grant Sorensen admits he didn't know how much work he was signing up for. All he knew is that the opportunity seemed like the next logical step in his quest to make fishing a part of his career.

At age 26, the Duluth East graduate will launch his own fishing show Feb. 12 on WDIO-TV Channel 10 in Duluth.

"Superior Angling" is a collection of 13 30-minute episodes of fishing from Lake Superior to inland lakes in Northeastern Minnesota, Wisconsin and Canada.

"When WDIO first reached out to me and asked if I'd be interested in doing a show, what person would say 'No' to that?" said Sorensen, who lives in the Twin Cities but fishes mostly up north. "At that time, I didn't realize how much work and money and effort it would be. I'm glad I didn't know that."

He isn't letting go of his day job as an information technology consultant just yet.

The first season's programs, which will air at 6:30 a.m. Sundays from February into May, have been shot and are being edited, Sorensen said. They'll take viewers on some of his best outings over the past year.

"Anything from Lake Superior lake trout to Rainy Lake walleyes, smallmouth bass, salmon, anything and everything," he said. "It's mainly focused on bigger water and bigger fish."

About half the shows will feature Lake Superior fishing, he said.

The show came about after Sorensen had conversations with Darren Danielson, who anchors WDIO's 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts. They had met through common friends.

"WDIO is thrilled," Danielson said. "He brings to the table this fantastic knowledge and ability in fishing and guiding, and he's a Duluth kid. He has an on-camera presence that's hard to find. I believe it will develop a regional if not a national following. There's a whole new freshness to it."

Both Sorensen and WDIO are open to discussing what might follow this 13-week schedule.

"We'll see how it's received and see what's next," Danielson said.

WDIO viewers should know, Danielson emphasized, that Sorensen is not replacing longtime WDIO outdoorsman Butch Furtman's "Sportsman's Journal" show, part of Fox Sports Net. His shows will continue on the station, Danielson said.

Sorensen sees his show as an opportunity to continue his work in fishing. He has worked for other media groups, producing online video and social media content.

"I've had sponsors in the fishing industry for eight years," he said. "I've had experience running a camera. I know how to edit. I wasn't jumping into it cold."

He has developed solid relationships in the fishing world.

"Now I'm reaching out to them on the next level," Sorensen said. "I have a trusted name. That makes it a little easier."

The episodes will include Sorensen, his fiancee Morgan Gallus of Minneapolis and several of his fishing friends from Duluth. He has known some of them since childhood, growing up playing hockey together.

Sorensen grew up fishing with his dad and grandfather on local lakes and kept expanding his horizons from there.

He will buy air time from WDIO and has sold advertising to support his show. One of his sponsors is Marine General Supply in Duluth. Owner Russ Francisco said supporting the show makes sense.

"It's a local show, local fishing, in our local area," Francisco said. "Since Butch (Furtman) slowed down, we haven't had that. And he's a nice kid. He's from this community. I thought it was worth giving him a shot. And he's a good fisherman."

Sorensen said the show will go beyond the basics of fishing.

"It's not just about us going out and catching these big fish," he said. "I don't feel important catching a big fish. It's more about the journey. Yes, we do teach people to catch fish. But the premise is to highlight more the documentary style, filming the whole experience, not just holding up fish."

Not every trip turns into a fishing show, he said.

"You have your highs and your lows," Sorensen said. "Fifty percent of your video shoots don't work out. You get rained out or the fish didn't bite or it was too windy or you have equipment failures. All of that has happened. You're taking time away from work, paying for gas. It's discouraging and tough sometimes. Other days, you go out and get a show done in five hours."

While Sorensen loves fishing and sharing his knowledge of it, he also appreciates other aspects of having his own show.

"I love the business side of it just as much — developing the relationships, working out contracts, finances, all that stuff," he said.