Saturday, February 26, 2011

Fly Fishing Film Tour in Missoula - A Review

About four or six months ago, I set my watch’s alarm for 7:15 pm. I think I was in a forest service cabin sipping on some of Snake River Brewing's finest with a couple friends after a day of fishing for brown trout on the Madison. Something on the stove was in need of a watchful and specifically timed attention. So the alarm was set. To be honest, my memory is a little fuzzy and I could have set the alarm on the Big Hole. Whatever I was doing, it was awesome. Everyday since, the alarm is a reminder to do something awesome. Recently though, the alarm has found me staring at a map of my field work in ArcGIS or at a paragraph from the methods or results section of my thesis.

Last night, when 7:15 pm rolled around and the alarm sounded, I was about 10 minutes into the “Red Like Winter” with a Double Haul IPA in hand. Red Like Winter is a film on flyfishing for ginormous redfish in the marshes of Louisiana. It was the first of 9 short fly fishing films, also adoringly referred to as fish porn, shown at the 2011 Fly Fishing Film Tour (F3T) in the historic Wilma Theater in Missoula.

This was my first time at the F3T and it was amazing. It served as the perfect salve for the recent cold snap we have experienced here in Missoula (read: it was cold as $%*# last night [-2F + wind chill]). This year’s lineup of fish porn included Red Like Winter, Greenstone, Satori, GeoFish, Speed Muscle Teeth, Musky on the Fly, Black Tailed Devils, Midwest Smallies, and Blue Water.

I could on for a while about the films. What I liked and what I didn’t like. I will spare you. Instead, here is a brief synopsis through the respected writing tool that is bullet points.

  • If you like yelling at the TV screen when something on it excites you, the F3T is for you. Verbal outbursts of support are encouraged.
  • This year’s F3T has a very salty lineup (“Red Like Winter” - redfish, “Satori” - permit, “GeoFish” - snook and other salty species, “Speed Muscle Teeth” - mako sharks, “Black Tailed Devils” - permit, and “Blue Water” - billfish)
  • I like everything RA Beattie puts out. Beattie is a fish porn icon of sorts for me. This year, he submitted “Blue Water” and “Midwest Smallies”. I would have liked to see some of the redfish footage that he put out a couple of months ago, but the shots in Blue Water and Midwest Smallies were of typical Beattie quality. I think his style is pretty understated. He doesnt try to be to flashy and lets the images speak for itself.
  • It was nice to see a fellow blogger producing quality fish porn. Robert Thompson, or RT, from third year flyfisher put together Musky on the Fly. He always comes with well-framed shots of fish and the places they live and he did so with this film as well. It was a little interview heavy, but I think that was a function of the “zero to hero” quality of fishing for muskies (truly a fish of thousands of casts). The end of this film is nuts (hint: involves a fly, a pike, and a massive musky).
  • Montana’s own 406 productions showed their F3T debut “Black Tailed Devils”. It was a solid production to say the least.
  • I think my two favorite films were “Red Like Winter” and “Satori.”
  • I liked “Red Like Winter” for the sheer size of some of it’s redfish and a sequence that involves 4 pound tippet and 20 plus pound redfish. Although, their claim that any portion of exposed skin will freeze off in the Louisiana winter air was laughable. During my walk to the bar after the show, I had trouble opening up my mouth to talk because my jaw was seemingly frozen shut.
  • I liked "Satori" because it captured the frustration and triumph that results from the seemingly impossible task of fly fishing for permit. Plus, they included some science with a clip about tagging permit and their gamefish status. If you were there and you heard someone yell “Science!!!!!” that was me. Nerd alert. I wanted to yell it earlier. I was able to keep it inside for a little while, but the urge was just too strong. I am considering it as my "yelling things out loud" calling card in future.
  • “Speed Muscle Teeth” really tried to pump up it’s extreeeeme Mountain Dew factor with some Mako shark fishing. I enjoy all sorts of fishing and fishing for Mako looks like a great time, but there was no need to outwardly defecate on trout and steelhead fishing. Some of the jabs at many peoples chosen target on the fly were unnecessary. I am not a huge fan of divisive statements and I would preferred Speed Muscle Teeth have just presented the unique style of fly fishing and let that be the selling point. Adding an ironic element to the film, the last image of Speed Muscle Teeth was the no pebble mine logo. Make up your mind, "bro."
  • “Greenstone” was shot by two guys on one camera during their trip to New Zealand. The only trout flick on the tour. The standard New Zealand fare: huge brown trout and beautiful scenery. Seemed like a nice trip and they captured it well. Makes me think I can make some F3T content too.
  • Also, I was slightly disappointed that Low and Clear was not shown. It was shown in Seattle and according to Dylan of Skate The Fly it was quite stellar. I really enjoyed the trailer a couple months back and it looked and sounded like a good watch. I don't know why it wasn't shown.
Perhaps, the highlight of the night had nothing to do with the films. Instead, during the raffle (they gave away shirts, hats, patagonia hip packs, sling packs, SA fly line, a Sage 5 weight fly rod, and some Costa sunglasses), a 10 to 12 year old kid won the Sage 5 weight fly rod. Once the crowd realized who had won the rod, the Wilma erupted with applause as the proclaimed “future of fly fishing” made his way down to pick up his new rod. Immediately after the rod was given away, a 20 to 35 year old man won the sunglasses and the chance to win a 5 day guided trip on the Snake River. He was promptly booed.

Did I mention tickets were only $12 dollars and everyone got a F3T hat and a neoprene sunglasses cord from Costa. As I see it, I made 10 bucks last night and I saw about two and a half hours of fish porn.

If the F3T makes it anywhere close to your place of residence, go. But, you probably already know that.


Brian J. said...

Sounds awesome-- I would have been bummed about low & clear too, I'd probably be embarrassed if I truly knew how many times I've watched the trailers for that one.

And extreme mountain dew fishing? Save it for shotgunning asian carp, IMO. Expecially for something like sharks-- I'd want that one to bear the message of respect and gratitude, not ego-driven fisherman-wanking...

Ivan said...

well said, brian j. well said.

Headhunters said...

Ivan, remember that Craig MT and Headhunters hosts the outdoor FREE F3T on June 25th at dusk. Booze, hot dogs, and lots of give-aways/swag...and cool films too. See you here, or there, in Craig on the Missouri

Ivan said...

i am strongly considering making the trip over to headhunters for the last stop of the F3T. hopefully, I will make it over there before june, whenever the midges start coming off and it isnt 0 degrees all day in craig.

Owl said...

tryin' to leave a comment.

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