good fly fishing movies

At first glance, Musky Country: Zero2Hero, isn’t too terribly different from most other good fly fishing movies: great fishing sequences, big fish, and beautiful country. And like other good fly fishing movies, Musky Country doesn’t have a traditional narrative structure. There’s no plot advanced, there’s nothing really at stake. And like the very best fly fishing movies, Musky Country has some very creative and professional shots, great editing, and great music. Robert Thompson, the director/cameraman/editor, is one of the best in the business in terms of handling the camera.

But this movie is different from other good fly fishing movies. For example, northern Wisconsin is not Mongolia. It’s not Kamchatka. But somehow musky fishing in northern Wisconsin is simultaneously exotic and middle-American, something that I find really appealing. And though there isn’t a traditional narrative structure in Musky Country, it attempts and, perhaps, just maybe, pulls off something more than your average good fly fishing movie manages to do.

The movie moves between fishing sequences and interview style commentary with Brad Bohen and Brian Porter, apparently the two principle members of the so called Musky Tribe. Their commentary paints an appealing picture of being a musky fly fishing guide. It paints an appealing picture of fishing for a fish that is notoriously hard to catch using a method that is notoriously hard to do. They make it seem like fly fishing for musky is almost a spiritual thing, which can be annoying when done poorly, but Bohen and Porter come across as authentic and they do have some very insightful things to say.

There is a lot of interview commentary and the analogies start to border on cliche. Muskie fishing is compared to “a powder day,” it’s said to be like getting a bloody lip and giving one, it’s “as good as any sex you’ll ever have,” and it’s compared to a lot of other things too. But the interview style commentary does succeed in communicating what that experience is like, what the lifestyle is like. And there is a certain rhythm that develops between the commentary and the fishing, with each bubbling up into the other like, ahem, so much foam on a river. And I think this works. It isn’t a traditional narrative structure, but it is compelling. And for this, in addition, of course, to the great fishing sequences, Musky Country is definitely worth checking out.

Robert Thompson sent us a copy of Musky Country and of his Hex movie, Night of the Hex, for review. We’ll be holding some sort of contest in the near future and plan to give these DVDs away as prizes. So stay tuned for that.

Check out Robert Thompson’s webpage, Third Year Fly Fisher. And go here to purchase a copy of the DVD.

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