In Search of a Rising Tide
It's short, but it's very good, this unorthodox DVD about bonefishing.
22 minutes and 30 seconds. That's what you can expect to spend spellbound at your television or computer when you slot this DVD for the first time.
The start reveals its qualities: subtle narration, no music, no frenzy highlights with jumping fish and long runs. Just the stern of a boat slowly digging through the beautiful waters of a Bahamian flat. Like being there you might say...
And the gentle pace continues, which makes this DVD something very different and very appealing. If you want to learn knots, improve your fish spotting skills or adjust your casting style, this is not the one to watch. If you on the other hand want to savour the sensation of stalking, casting to and hooking a big fish, and get an impression of the bonefishing environment - both in nature and with guides and lodges, this is the right place to look. The DVD manages to convey very well the ambience, the dialogue and the potential experience.
We are led through the world of bonefish by listening to the chat between some of the Bahamian guides, amongst these Andy Smith and Charlie Neymour, Smith being the son of "Crazy" Charlie Smith, whom we also meet in the film.
Their ongoing dialogue both on the dock, in the lodge and on the boat is the carrying element in the film, and does as such create an entertaining and educating soundtrack. You really want to go fishing with these guys once you have made their acquaintance here.
It is very liberating that Howard has let them loose in front of the lens and on the microphone rather than some typical know-it-all-American bonefish expert, who very well may go bonefishing several times a year, but hasn't grown up with bonefishing and who doesn't take out clients bonefishing almost every day. Such films can be great for learning, but for setting a mood, this beats them all.
"Well", I hear you say, "We all know that the guides can push a boat, tie on flies and spot fish, but that they are generally lousy anglers..."
Well, not these guides! They manage to prove beyond any doubt that they are very skilled bonefish anglers, and all very well in command of a fly rod. Add to that their other skills on the water, and you have a winning combination.
And the tone of voice is just great. Like this sequence:
"What you got?"
"It's a small one"
The fish is fought to the boat and assessed.
"Eight-pound fish. And this fish is a minnow compared to those fish that we were casting at out there..."
Or the scene where Charlie Neymour puts Andy Smith into a really big fish, which he bums. The comment comes immediately, cracking and dry: "This guy just gave me a 'trout set' on a 15 lbs. bonefish! Can you believe it?"
And the reply:
"Charlie, you oughtta shoot me!"
Yes, this film is certainly the best appetizer to bonefishing I have seen.