By: Richie Moschella
In Orange County, New York fall is in full swing. The fall foliage is at its peak as I’m driving down some rural county roads making my way into the town of Montgomery. In a few minutes I’m going to be fishing with the reality television stars from the hit show American Chopper. The show had an amazing run on TV and in each episode featured a custom bike build. It was not just about building bikes but also had a deeper family element that kept viewers tuning in week after week to see what the Teutul’s would do next.
As I approach the front gate of Paul Sr.’s home I can’t help but think of scenes from the past shows. I am not fully sure what a day fishing with these guys would have in store for me. We would be fishing a small lake that Paul Sr. has on his property that he takes great pride in. It’s equipped with plenty of aerators and also a fish feeder to make sure his fish are well taken care of.
I’m met at the front gate of his home by his nephew, Nick Mariconi, who plays a big roll on the new show Orange County Choppers: American Made airing this winter on A&E television. At the lake we are greeted by the man himself Paul Sr. and immediately talk bass fishing. He really takes great pride in everything he does whether it’s a custom bike build or managing a healthy lake where his family can fish. Nick tells me that Paul Sr. takes it bad whenever they lose a fish or if a fish ever swallows a hook. This lake was not on the property when the Paul Sr. bought the land to make his home. They built the lake over the course of some time and it has even been featured on some of the episodes on the old show.
In the new series premiering this winter on A&E they get out on the water and get into some fishing. Nick explains that after a long day at the OCC shop that nothing beats throwing a line into the water and connecting with some bass. “We are a very competitive family even when it comes to fishing”. You can see the passion that they have for bass fishing as we start to talk about our favorite baits to throw this time of the year. Paul Sr. likes to throw wacky rigged worms and Nick Mariconi threw out a chatterbait. The chatterbait really triggered the strikes and Nick got himself a decent fall bass. The lake was jumping with fish and I had a blast fishing it with these guys. You could really see the genuine love of the sport in their eyes. With the new show airing in a few months they can’t be more excited about their return to TV and the new custom bike builds that they have in store for the audience. Nick says “The show will have some crazy custom builds but also feature our lives outside the shop”. They even got Paul Sr. to wear a suit and tie and leave behind his sleeveless shirt.
The afternoon was flying by fishing with the OCC. Nick’s high-energy personality was contagious. It was like the first time he caught a bass with every hookset! All the bass were returned to Paul Sr.’s lake unharmed to his approval. Paul Sr. had to leave and attend shop business as it always seems work gets in the way of fishing. I stayed with Nick at the lake for a while longer and got a few more bass to bite. We talked about how bass fishing really helps relieve the stress caused by work. It really is their refuge to come home after a crazy day in the shop and get a few casts in. It could also be a place to enjoy with the family or if Paul Sr. just wants to unplug for a bit and just fish.
Nick went on to talk about the public places that they fish in upstate New York and reiterated to me that “he is the best angler at the OCC, just tell my Uncle Paul Sr. that”. He said it’s all about finding a balance between work and fishing. “With all the deadlines the OCC crew faces and intensive labor that goes into each bike build, fishing is our release. We love spending time out on the water and if we catch fish that’s a plus”. They have a two-seater plastic fishing boat that makes fishing small lakes and ponds easy. If you search them on Facebook you will find video clips and pictures of them catching all kinds of freshwater fish. From giant catfish to largemouth bass the OCC guys are definitely not inexperienced anglers, they know how to fish and will give any angler a run for his money!
Fishing calms the soul no matter if you’re the owner of Orange County Choppers or a weekend angler just looking for a successful trip and some time to forget about the everyday hustle and bustle of life. The OCC guys know how to live and balance their work life and time out on the water. This winter Orange County Choppers: American Made series will be premiering on A&E and the Teutul’s will be back on TV. I know fans have been waiting a while to see the first family of custom bikes return to TV! I can tell you that these guys are the real deal and what you see is what you get. They work hard and play harder. From custom bike building to catching bass, the OCC knows how to live life and set the hook!