There's a side to Lee Malleau that many people don't know. When she's not reeling in business for Squamish as the District's Economic Development Officer, Malleau is an accomplished bass angler.
She is so good at catching fish, in fact, that when a bunch of fishing enthusiasts decided to do a reality TV show that put bass fishers head-to-head, Malleau got an invitation to participate.
The show follows on the hugely successful reality TV show called Survivor and a number of reality successes like Fear Factor, For Love or Money, Next Action Star, The Amazing Race and Last Comic Standing. The fishing show, called The Last Cull, will debut on the CHUM television network on Saturday, Sept. 18 at 10 p.m. The reality series will continue until Dec. 4. CHUM owns Vancouver's CityTV and the New VI on Vancouver Island.
The week-long competition and filming in North Bay, Ont. came down to three anglers and Malleau said the big winner won't be known until the final episode.
"Nobody knows who won. I can't talk about it," Malleau said.
The event was held at Lake Nipissing and it brought 50 fishers from across the continent. Their mission was to catch the biggest bass and a $50,000 grand prize.
Malleau and the other competitors were in Ontario from July 5 to 10. Along with the cash grand prize, the winner will also host a fishing show.
"Ethan Zohn was one of the hosts so I got to hang out with him for a week," Malleau said. "Jenna from Survivor was also there."
Zohn was the winner of Survivor: Africa and Jenna Morasca was the sole survivor in the Amazon version of the hit show.
"Jenna made it through Survivor: Amazon and then got bit by a spider in North Bay and was taken to hospital," Malleau said.
The other host with Zohn was legendary pro bass angler Roland Martin.
"This promises to be the most unique entertainment package to hit the airwaves since Survivor," said Angelo Viola, executive producer of The Last Cull.
Malleau did give up a few show details: "I can tell you that I made it through the first day where more than half were eliminated."
She fished with a partner on day one, a pro bass angler from Georgia. There was some controversy over the elimination of the first 38 people, but Malleau couldn't get into the specifics.
By the fourth day, Malleau said the production was a full day behind schedule. The weather wasn't helping as a variety of conditions were experienced in the first few days.
"The weather was just ugly," Malleau said. "There were 70 to 80 kilometre winds on day one and big swales."
By July 9 the field of anglers was down to six. Malleau wouldn't say if she was one of them.
The final day of competition tested skills like casting, retrieving and boating under sunny but windy conditions in front of a live audience. "The six remaining had to fight the weather in what was really an impossible situation," Malleau said.
The cameras followed Malleau and the rest of the anglers 24 hours a day. She said that the only way to shake the cameras was to escape to a washroom.
"It was disconcerting but I got used to it," Malleau said.
The camera teams didn't have much time to rest because, according to Malleau, the competitors didn't get much rest. The anglers spent some of their down time in a local pub.
"It was 3 a.m. bedtimes most nights," said Malleau. "I think I was suffering from sleep deprivation, alcohol poisoning, a lack of food and adrenaline overload."
Despite all that, she had a great time and would do it again if the opportunity came.
"I got to be goofy, which was nice because I don't get to do that much in my job," she said.
Malleau met some amazing people and formed new friendships with her fellow competitors and she said that everyone has stayed in touch. There's talk of reuniting at some point.
Malleau, the only competitor from B.C., used her television appearance to promote Squamish. Before leaving she put a bunch of logos on some shirts, including one that read "Squamish girls kick bass" and she wore a number of clothing items with a team B.C. logo.