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Coldwater Cowgirl

Andre and Michelle of Three Rock Cove are the newest “Cold Water Cowboys.”
Andre and Michelle of Three Rock Cove are the newest “Cold Water Cowboys.”

When the “Cold Water Cowboys” second season starts on March 10, the popular Discovery Canada show will have a few new cast members — and one of them will be a woman.

Michelle Jesso, a hardworking fisher from Three Rock Cove on the Port au Port Peninsula, said she wants to show the face of women in the fishery.

“This is not only a man can do this,” said the first mate on the Wave on Wave, a boat that’s skippered by husband Andre Jesso.

The couple have been fishing together for about 34 years.

Being a part of the “Cold Water Cowboys” is something Michelle has wanted since the first season aired last year. So when they were approached to join the cast, she said jumped in.

“I was so excited. It’s a really sweet thing to be part of.”

It did take awhile for them to say yes as they had to talk it over with their crew first. Andre says the crew had to be on board.

“They were gonna be involved into it and they were gonna be on television as well, so we didn’t want somebody in an uncomfortable situation.”

Michelle lets out a “yee-ha,” when she’s referred to as the first “Cold Water” cowgirl, but said she’s feeling no pressure about the title.

“Most days I could care less because I am who I am and this is my normal work — so either you like it or you don’t,” said the woman who is not afraid to describe herself as bold. “With or without the camera crew this is my job and this is where I’ll be again this year.”

So when she’s asked if she changed her ways for the camera, Michelle utters an emphatic “no ma’am.”

“What you see is what you get,” chimes in Andre. “This is our daily routine.”

The fact they are a couple sets them apart from other the show’s other stars.

Michelle said viewers will get to see how they work together.

With Andre isolated from what’s happening on the deck, Michelle is his eyes and ears.

“And they’re going to see that you don’t have to be screeching and bawling and cursing and swearing,” she said, and then stops to apologize for any cursing.

“I don’t do that,” said Andre.

“I do,” adds Michelle.

And while Andre may be the quieter of the two Michelle said if the skipper “got to get out of his chair to speak to somebody, you’d better watch out.”

 

Not your average worker

“We have a lot of women in the fishery who kind of put a black mark on the fishery,” said Andre. “They weren’t really involved in the fishery, they were there for namesake only.

“But there’s a lot of women that is truly in the fishery, like Michelle is.”

Both Michelle and Andre have their own fishing enterprises that they work together from April to December. They fish for crab, lobster, herring, caplin, cod, halibut and mackerel.

“Everything that can crawl and we’re legally allowed to catch,” said Michelle. “Only way you’re gonna survive.”

Twitter:@WS_DianeCrocker

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Michelle Jesso, a hardworking fisher from Three Rock Cove on the Port au Port Peninsula, said she wants to show the face of women in the fishery.

“This is not only a man can do this,” said the first mate on the Wave on Wave, a boat that’s skippered by husband Andre Jesso.

The couple have been fishing together for about 34 years.

Being a part of the “Cold Water Cowboys” is something Michelle has wanted since the first season aired last year. So when they were approached to join the cast, she said jumped in.

“I was so excited. It’s a really sweet thing to be part of.”

It did take awhile for them to say yes as they had to talk it over with their crew first. Andre says the crew had to be on board.

“They were gonna be involved into it and they were gonna be on television as well, so we didn’t want somebody in an uncomfortable situation.”

Michelle lets out a “yee-ha,” when she’s referred to as the first “Cold Water” cowgirl, but said she’s feeling no pressure about the title.

“Most days I could care less because I am who I am and this is my normal work — so either you like it or you don’t,” said the woman who is not afraid to describe herself as bold. “With or without the camera crew this is my job and this is where I’ll be again this year.”

So when she’s asked if she changed her ways for the camera, Michelle utters an emphatic “no ma’am.”

“What you see is what you get,” chimes in Andre. “This is our daily routine.”

The fact they are a couple sets them apart from other the show’s other stars.

Michelle said viewers will get to see how they work together.

With Andre isolated from what’s happening on the deck, Michelle is his eyes and ears.

“And they’re going to see that you don’t have to be screeching and bawling and cursing and swearing,” she said, and then stops to apologize for any cursing.

“I don’t do that,” said Andre.

“I do,” adds Michelle.

And while Andre may be the quieter of the two Michelle said if the skipper “got to get out of his chair to speak to somebody, you’d better watch out.”

 

Not your average worker

“We have a lot of women in the fishery who kind of put a black mark on the fishery,” said Andre. “They weren’t really involved in the fishery, they were there for namesake only.

“But there’s a lot of women that is truly in the fishery, like Michelle is.”

Both Michelle and Andre have their own fishing enterprises that they work together from April to December. They fish for crab, lobster, herring, caplin, cod, halibut and mackerel.

“Everything that can crawl and we’re legally allowed to catch,” said Michelle. “Only way you’re gonna survive.”

Twitter:@WS_DianeCrocker

See more on the next page

A little bit about them

Michelle

Age: 51,

Hometown: West Bay, just up the road from Three Rock Cove.

Time fishing: Started after she and Andre got married almost 34 years ago.

Why she started fishing: Michelle doesn’t come from a fishing family, but believes being on the water with Andre is where she’s meant to be. “It’s freedom and that I spend my whole day with my husband, which is why we got married.”

Working so closely with your spouse may not be for everyone, but Michelle says, “not everybody got the husband I got.”

 

Andre

Age: 54 although he says “I’m too old to count now.”

Hometown: Three Rock Cove

Time fishing: About 37 years, been fishing on his own since he was 17

Why he started fishing: His father was a fisherman and while growing up just about everyone in Three Rock Cove was involved in the fishery in some way. His first trip on the water was when he was seven years old. “It’s been in my blood ever since.”

 

Rest of the cast

Conway and Rick Caines, Seadoo, Cow Head

Richard Gillett, Midnight Shadow, Twillingate

Paul Tiller, Atlantic Bandit, Valleyfield

 

 

Follow them on Twitter

@WaveOnWaveNL

 

 

Filming details

Filming for the season started this past September on Labour Day and finished up the first week of December.

Andre Jesso said it was an interesting having the cameraman and director onboard and all the equipment, but things worked out well.

“We understood that they had a job to do and they had to take up space on the boat,” he said.

“At the end of the day these boys became part of our family on the boat,” said wife Michelle, and added they will be friends for life.

The crew filmed the couple at work around Piccadilly, in the Bay of Islands around York Harbour and Lark Harbour, and in Bay St. George near Stephenville.

Andre said people will get to see a lot of this part of the west coast through the show and that’s generating some positive feedback.

He said the beautiful scenery of the area is something that most times won’t ever be seen.

“Lots of time you take a picture from the land looking at the water, but not the water looking back at the land.”

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