Each year, around this time, the Fly Fishing Film Tour (F3T) emerges from the darkness to help us through the bleak midwinter with films that tell compelling stories, satisfy our curiosity about exotic locales, introduce us to the rich tapestry of personalities that pervade our sport and more. 2018 is no exception.
This year's lineup consists of 8 films and a few shorts which will take viewers to destinations including Alaska, Honduras, Tanzania, Dubai, Costa Rica, Gabon and more.
Fly Out Media's 100 Miles opens with tongue-in-cheek narration that's awfully reminiscent of the lead-in to Felt Soul Media's 2008 film Eastern Rises (which, by the way, is probably still the best fly fishing film ever). "We thought maybe this could be the greatest adventure story every told. A trip that redefines what people thought was possible in the 20th century. An up close look at what a human being was truly capable of ..." After a short pause, the narration continues, "... but then we remembered, it's just fly fishing." It's the sort of sobering, honest language that's welcome in a sport that often takes all the wrong aspects of itself far too seriously. 100 Miles tells the story of packraft trip down, you guessed it, 100 miles of often small, braided Alaskan river in search of mouse-eating rainbows and more. As the filmmakers note, "This trip was not a first descent on an unnamed river. It was not some epic of mankind’s quest through the uncharted. But, after going 100 river miles without seeing another human soul, it felt like it."
Beyond the Horizon
Honduras is part of what is commonly referred to as the Northern Triangle, which includes Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala and which is regularly described as the most violent region of the world outside of active war zones. Beyond the Horizon journeys to Guanaja, Honduras, a remote paradise struggling with the effects of frequest hurricanes, poverty, political instability, drug wars, lack of health care, and corruption. The Honduran government is often criticized as lacking the ability to protect its citizens from gangs and cartels and other sources of crime and violence and it may be one of many reasons while the film's protagonist, Rankin Jackson, tucks a pistol into his waistband before heading out on a permit-scouting expedition. The film tells the story of Jackson's struggle to build a new life for his family after time working with Honduran cartels and the journey to a hidden set of keys, legendary for its permit.
Dubai on the Fly
Fly fishing films are full of interesting and diverse personalities, but it's safe to say there isn't exactly a plethora of anglers with a commanding screen presence. One angler that bucks that trend is Telluride-native Frank Smethurst, known for fly fishing films like Running Down the Man and the aforementioned Eastern Rises. Smethurst takes center frame as what the makers of Dubai on the Fly, Beattie Productions, call "the Anthony Bourdain of this culture-and-recreation oriented film," which explores unexpected sides of Dubai—a massive, modern, Middle Eastern city with one of the most iconic skylines in the world—both on land and at sea.
The African Tiger
African tigerfish are one of the gnarliest and nastiest predators on the planet and a bucket list fish for anglers that seek to chase exotic fish in truly wild places. Tigerfish have been pursued by anglers for more than 50 years, but until recently, tigers over 20 pounds were a rarity. The African Tiger, from Captain Jack Productions, takes viewers to remote Tanzanian waters that were fished by fewer than 15 anglers prior to 2008, waters which commonly hold 20+ pound tigerfish—the continued survival of which are a conservation and fisheries management success story. In typical Captain Jack fashion, the film is no-doubt replete with Mission Impossible-style graphics, fast edits, slow motion anchor throws, high fives and fist pumps, but it's also certainly replete with tigerfish action.
Check out F3T's official "stoke reel" below for some Hank Patterson goodness and highlights from all the films. For more information on the full lineup of F3T 2018 films, head to flyfilmtour.com.