A Passion Called Salmon
This is a great DVD! Love salmon fishing or not, but you will have to sit back in awe at these beautiful fish caught in the most fantastic settings.
This is both a story about Atlantic salmon and the effort to save it, as well as the story about the man behind the DVD, Sasa Savic, who tells his story and explains his life long passion for fishing in general and not least salmon fishing.
This very personal approach works extremely well. The DVD has a great narrative, a really great script, a great rhythm and starts with an excellent intro where Savic tells his story and motivates his passion. And he shares that passion by taking us on a fantastic trip around the world, visiting some of the finest salmon waters available.
Starting in Russia with the rivers Kola and Yokanga, passing by the stunningly clear Canadian rivers Restingouche and Cascapedia, going on to the best rivers in Iceland, and on to Alta in Norway. All places offer the finest fishing, the most beautiful settings or the largest salmon on the face of the planet.
All is beautifully filmed, very well produced and has a very nice a well edited soundtrack all with Sasa's excellent narration. We sure do understand where the passion comes from when the final credits roll.
At the same time Sasha emphasizes the importance of the work done to reestablish and preserve salmon fishing, and has people tell about why this work and the engagement - and money and resources - is essential to improving conditions for Atlantic salmon world wide.
I have only one little grudge with the DVD, which is also the reason that it doesn't score a Global Class rating: the photography. I'm simply bothered by the selected camera angles and the compositions chosen for many of the sequences. Compared to the best fly-fishing videos, there's still a way to go for camera man Velibor Bozovic who in my eyes gets a bit too much sky, and cuts a bit too many caps and foreheads. The intro from New York is brilliantly filmed and produced, but once we go fishing, go on the rivers and get into the lodges, the visual side of the DVD looses track and seems more inconsistent. When grabbing stills for the illustration for this review, I had a hard time finding the well composed images that I prefer to illustrate the videos.
I could have stopped my review here, and given the DVD the GFF Excellent rating that it deserves, but I want to dwell on a couple of things and use this DVD as a starting point for talking about a couple of my pet peeves when it comes to features about environmental issues and preservation.
I have two things that I think of when watching this DVD. Both might seem unfair to this specific production, so let me begin by apologizing that I bring them up and by assuring that I forgive them both!
Firstly this video does perhaps have a little too much "save the world".
I forgive it fully, because the whole idea of the story is to point out the problems that the Atlantic salmon face, and point to places where an effort has had an effect, and urge us as angler to do something about it in places where little or nothing is done. That's an important message, and since the video avoids the worst "emotional porn", I'm not that bothered, but respect that this message is an important part of the story.
But these days I tend to get a little fed up with "global warming", "pollution", "industrialization", "emptying the ocean", "industrial fishing" and all kinds of negatively loaded words, which pop up in most features that deal with natural resources of any kind, and seem to be the cause of all kinds of illness on the planet. This DVD does not necessarily go into all these issues, but it naturally touches on some.
I know that these issues are important and grave, and that we have to raise awareness of the serious situation of the environment, and I certainly neither ignore or deny them!
But I cannot watch a nature program, a program about outdoors sports or a fishing video for that matter without being left with a bad consciousness and a feeling of guilt even though I am not the one clear cutting, strip mining, drift netting, fish farming or poaching the pristine rivers.
I buy organic, I eat sustainably caught fish and I release a far majority of what I catch. I leave nothing but my footprints and I even cast my political votes in support for those in favor of environmental improvements and strict regulation of industrial fishing and farming. And I urge others to do the same. I try to live a decent life with respect for nature and resources, and still most nature shows on TV and fishing features or documentaries leave me feeling personally guilty about what has happened or might potentially happen.
In my opinion it's a fine balance between showing people what a fantastic pastime fishing is, what fantastic places can still be found on our planet, and scaring them away with all kinds of misery. The more anglers we have, the larger the interest in good fishing and the more people to fight the good battle. The more we show nice places and great experiences with no bitter aftertaste, the more people we get to go out and enjoy nature - and through that engage themselves in restoring and preserving it.
Secondly fighting the battle by walking in Sasa Savic's foot print is not for most of us.
At one point Sasa is leafing through "A Celebration of Salmon Rivers" dreaming of the best salmon rivers in the world before going on the adventure with a cameraman as a sidekick. And he chooses only the best!
The places visited are not exactly poor man's fishing destinations, and not only are the rivers remote and/or expensive, but most of them are also hard (if not close to impossible) to get to fish at all - both regarding licenses and gaining access. The average Joe cannot take a trip like this.
I forgive it fully, and I have said before that I know that car magazines have to write about Lamborghinis and Ferraris even though most of us ride Fords and Citroens. We want to dream and see things that might not be immediately available to us.
But on the other hand I do miss coverage of places where the fishing might not be out of this world, but on the other hand is within reach for people who are not millionaires, who don't know everybody and who haven't been on the waiting list for a decade or two.
Such fishing exists! I can drive three hours from my home and buy a publicly available license for about 20 Euros or 30 USD and get access to some of the best salmon fishing in the world right here in Denmark! Sure there are no mountains or wide stretched tundras, but there's a well maintained and easily accessible salmon fishing. There are places in Canada and even in the US that can be fished under similar conditions, and I'm sure people who know more about salmon can point out more places.
Personally I think such accessibility does more for fishing and the salmon than many Yokanga's, Laxa's and Alta's.
The words of Orri Vigfursson from the DVD still echo in my ears when he in essence says that the NASF is not just a filantropic environmental organization, but actually a business, investing in the environment in such a way that it protects the salmon, supports sustainable fishing and makes money for everyone in the process - except us poor anglers, of course. We pay bleeding out the nose to get to the salmon saved by the organization! But that's a whole other story.
No matter what: The whole idea of making salmon fishing a widespread, money-making and sustainable business is a fantastic way of protecting it.
'nuff rambling here.
Salmon anglers: Get this DVD! Support the project and enjoy the beautiful locations and the fantastic fishing.
Other anglers: See it if you can, buy it if you feel like it. It's amongst the best salmon fishing DVDs out there right now.