There are two ways of going fly fishing. The first involves perfectly manicured river banks, deferential fishing guides and luxurious lodges. You book, you pay, you catch fish, and go home happy. The other is rather more rough and ready, often involving months of careful research; long distance travel in vehicles of little comfort and doubtful reliability; hiking; leaky and/or non-existent accommodation and food that makes army rations look like a gastronome’s dream.
While there’s a place for both styles of fishing trips, the bonds that are formed on the more adventure-based can be life-long, while the fishing can be life-changing.
Fishing destinations don’t come much bleaker, colder or harder to get to than the largely untouched river systems of Alaska. But then, the lure of almost completely virgin River – home to browns, rainbows, grayling, char and various species of salmon – is pretty irresistible. Almost as irresistible as the fish seem to find the mouse-pattern flies and other top-water lures that the guys throw for them.
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New Zealand is famed among fly fishers the world over as being home to some of the world’s largest rainbow trout. But getting to them involves travelling deep into the back country, far from civilisation, and that’s before you even get to cast a fly to them. With one film for each island, we meet some of the anglers from around the world who make the commitment for a chance to catch one of these southern hemisphere monsters.
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Baha, Mexico – it’s hot, deserted, and a salt-water fly-fisherman’s idea of heaven… or hell. The target for our team of intrepid anglers are the notoriously hard to land Rooster Fish, specifically a “grande” – a fish over 40lb. With a limited time-frame to catch that trophy rooster, the race is on, and its not just the fish they have to battle, but the weather, the sand, and even their transport.
If you like this, you might also like: Tidewater – fly fishing for marlin
Fly fishing can test the limits of anyone’s honesty: just how big was that one that got away? Like all the best fishing stories, this one is semi-fictional at best. A trout fishing adventure in New Zealand’s famous back country leads friends Rolf and Mikkel on a journey that takes them from the southern hemisphere, back home to Scandinavia, and then to Australia. If this doesn’t make you want to pack a backpack and head into the hills, nothing will.
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Just in case you thought it was all hardship and Bear Grills-style adventuring, here’s Ian Gordon – world champion Spey Caster and ghillie on the Spey for more than 20 years. He takes us on a tour of Scotland’s most famous rivers, gives spey casting tips, and shows us some of his favourite flies for use on these rivers, even showing us how to tie the fly for which the film is named – the Blue Charm – from the famous Octagonal Room in Gordon Castle.
If you like this, you might also like: A Kinetic Loop – A celebration of fly fishing’s past and present