This time last year, millions of viewers were watching Captain Patrick Crawford catch live goldfish with his mouth on Animal Planet’s “Top Hooker.”
Sounds fun, right?
“Not really,” he laughs. “But I made a lot of good friends.”
He went on to win the first season. But believe it or not, Patrick didn’t do it for the fame and fortune ($30,000 cash). Same goes for the current television spots he does on the World Fishing Network, Destination America, Sportsman Channel, or the Outdoor Channel’s MadFin Shark Series, on which he recently got pulled into the water by a 9-foot bull shark. In fact, he doesn’t make any money on his current TV gigs.
He does it with one goal in mind: to bring people to Charleston.
Born and raised in the Holy City, Patrick grew up with fishing. His grandfather was a sniper man, his father a bass angler. He began tournament fishing, which led to guiding, which led to his charter company, Allure, which led to television. Together with fellow “Top Hooker”-alum Larysa Switlyk, he’ll be competing at the invite-only World Predator Classic in June in the Netherlands and the World Carp Cup in October in Italy as Team USA.
Needless to say, Capt. Patrick doesn’t get much of a break. But then again, he doesn’t want one. When he’s not on a boat, he’s with his three-year-old daughter, Medda. He’s on the water 365 days a year; it doesn’t have to be fishing. He’ll take people on dolphin and sunset tours, telling them about Blackbeard and wars fought on the harbor. He loves the water and his city that much.
There’s no separation between work and life. Allure’s Facebook page says it’s “always open.” In the winter, when it’s quieter for him, Patrick will take his flax boat out and watch the red fish schools below the clear surface. He just loves what he does.
On the first episode of MadFin, Patrick yelled, “Be somebody!” It’s an inside joke with his friends that turned into a viral hashtag and motivational movement. After the network got bombarded with emails about the catchphrase, a film crew came to Charleston to capture Patrick on what it is to be passionate about what you do.
“We have an amazing fishing community in Charleston and I just try to do my part. We have amazing food and healthy lifestyle, but one huge piece is experiencing this city from the water. It looks different from out there. Once you do it, you’re hooked.”
No pun intended.
Words by: Jessica Kenny
Photography by: Andrew Stephen Cebulka