MECHANIC FALLS — Chad Jordan never minded the TV cameras and crew.

The four-person team that followed him nonstop for three months last spring did its best to stay out of his way, he said.

“They tried to let you do your own thing,” Jordan said.

It was the talking about what he does — fishing Maine rivers for prized baby eels (aka elvers) — that makes him uncomfortable.

“I’m not used to dealing with people,” said Jordan, sitting uncomfortably in a restaurant booth in Mechanic Falls. “I’ve been my own boss since I was 17 years old.”

Yet, the quiet, 41-year-old fisherman from Hebron is becoming a TV personality.

On Thursday, he debuted to a national audience. The cable network Animal Planet premiered “Cold River Cash.” Its airs at 10 p.m.

The show is about three teams of Maine elver fishermen from Brunswick, Scarborough and Hebron.

The debut episode showed Chad Jordan, his brother, Justin, and his buddy, Lester Toothaker, — the Hebron “Grinders” — as they searched for baby eels on the Royal River near Route 88 in Yarmouth.

The Grinders caught almost nothing in the premiere, which set up a friendly competition among the teams. The other two teams each had two- or three-pound hauls that grossed thousands of dollars.

Chad Jordan declined to say what kind of season he had; the show taped during the spring 2013 elver season and his TV contract asks him to keep silent about the team competition.

He instead talked about what he saw on the screen Thursday night, which included glimpses of his son, C.J., who assists the fishermen, and his wife, Jessica.

He thought it created an honest picture of his life, he said. And Jessica agreed.

“Our show is true reality,” she said. “We didn’t have to change anything. We didn’t have to be anybody that we weren’t.”

Crews filmed them 12 hours a day, six days a week. Besides filming lots of long nights — that’s when the elvers are running — there were meals and long car rides and time repairing gear, all caught on camera.

The crew also captured moments with Chad and Jessica’s 13-year-old son, Dustin. And it filmed Chad’s 17-year-old daughter, Paige, a student at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School in Paris, preparing for the prom.

It almost didn’t happen, though.

Chad was fishing his regular spot in Yarmouth in 2012 with his brother, Justin, and friend Toothaker when a producer approached them, asking if they’d like to be on TV.

“At first, we kind of blew him off because he had so many reporters and stuff around,” Jordan said. The elver prices sometimes approached $3,000 per pound and were getting lots of attention, not all of it wanted.

But the producer persisted.

“He got talking to us more and more and told us there was a chance that there could be a show,” Chad said. The TV money would help make up for changes in the fishing rules, he figured.

Chad and Jessica imagined their grandchildren watching them years from now. It sold them.

So far, there have been no autographs, no long looks at the grocery store.

They were happy with the first episode, they said. It seems honest and, happily, the network tossed out a tentative title, “Eel of Fortune.”

“Everything will stay the same for us,” Jessica said. “We’re country folk.”

And if the chance to do a second season comes up, they plan to take it, gladly.

“If we get good ratings, it’s going to happen again,” Chad said.

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