2007 Fly-Fishing Film Tour

2007 Fly-Fishing Film Tour

Wrap Up

When FR&R partnered with the Angling Exploration Group to present the Fly-Fishing Film Tour, our goal was to bring some much needed excitement to fly anglers across the country who were struggling through another long winter. We also knew that the public was hungry for something new and exciting and we thought the Fly-Fishing Film Tour fit the ticket. To get a measure of the buzz, we sent our book editor, Seth Norman, to the tour's Bellingham, Washington, stop. Seth, who is an accomplished author, has long lamented the lack of new (read: younger) voices in the fly-fishing media, and he was surprised by what he saw and what it means for the future.

Tell you what's great: walking into a theatre and finding hundreds of fly fishers laughing, hooting and happily pounding body parts--knees mostly, mainly their own--in a standing-room-only crowd. Still better is noticing how many young folk are in the audience, most half the age you see at gatherings of the usual suspects. Not only all that but there are women among them, which is good because we like women and--face it--our tribe has been, traditionally, pretty estrogen-deficient.

So where was this?

All over, apparently--at 30 showings of The Fly-Fishing Film Tour around the country, if the scene in my town was any example. I found the show by the marquee announcement I saw above the classy, 107-year-old theatre in my smallish city's downtown--the same place where my daughter has danced as a sugarplum.

When I arrived (late) and saw the crowd I was puzzled. Were these local fly folks? Where did they come from? I was lucky to find an open seat in the back row just as some 20-something fellow finished an intro. He'd been lively, judging by the crowd's excellent mood, and then segued into 90 minutes of fish porn bliss.

There were lots of whistles in the theatre and laughter and groans. There was some of that low uuuuoooo-ing thing we do when a great fish flows into view. But in my seat, I can tell you, the dominant emotion was a silent, vast and terrible relief, and a sense of "finally."

Here they were: the new guys and gals. The anglers we simply haven't seen represented in the fly-fishing media this last decade. The young bucks who'll sleep in dirt on a no muy dinero road trip through Argentina, or camp out on a Baja beach pack-hunting electric-blue roos-terfish the shape of old Saabs but smaller. Heck, I even knew some of the stars when they were "younger:" Justin Rea and Kyle Giampoali, guides I had met on the East Carson River as biggish boys driving a convertible Bronco, and who are now captains in Florida salt waters… The films were full of quick cuts, pulsing music and always an emphasis on the fish and the fishing--no egos, no how-to's.

We have been worrying, we old people, about where we would find the new lyricists, the Lyons and Gierachs and Babbs and Leesons, McGuanes and Meyers and Thomases and Fromms. Worrying, and now here they are: The next generation--but with cameras instead of pens.

Or that's how I felt by the end of the show. People stuck around the lobby to talk and congratulate. So did I; then I trailed the AEG Media folks to a saloon too sleazy for the street people and the two drug dealers we passed on the way. At the bar Chris Owens, AEG producer and star, and I talked about the fly-fishing "business," his company's trials and travails and their endless battle against an "establishment" so entrenched and inert, so staid and obtuse that it took us both several pitchers to figure out he meant me and my generation.

"What! Hang on, Chris. Have you read--?" and I rattled off many of the authors on the above list.

We stared at each other. Chris might have been pie-eyed, but it was hard for me to tell having gone through several pitchers with our companions in about three hours.

"Well…" he said, and, then I started to laugh.

"Never mind," I said. "Read them when you're older. All of 'em--make sure you do. But for now…"

I raised my glass. "Good to meet you. We've been waiting."