Catch the moment
A fly fishing video made by Germans is a welcome addition to a continuous stream of Commonwealth and US based videos. The DVD is of course both narrated and subtitled in English for those of us, whose English is less rusty than our German.
But the German version is still easy to understand and will certainly be a welcome change for a large group of European fly anglers.
The destination of the trip is New Zealand (surprise!) anglers Ralf Haeger and Frank Schulze and their camera crew of two arrive to something, which many traveling anglers have experienced: missing luggage. Their bad luck doesn't keep them from fishing, and even though the aluminum box with some of the camera equipment doesn't arrive until a week into the trip, they get lots of beautiful footage in the box.
The video is a steadily progressing diary with an account of each day's haps and mishaps. The team is fishing small and big streams, calm and windy lakes, well known as well as secret spots.
They catch plenty fish, and make New Zealand look as it always does: like a Mecca for any fly angler.
And... they kill fish!
It's rare these days to see international fly fishing videos where fish are actually kept for the pan. I personally don't mind the least bit (read my latest article on C&R), but some may find it a bit hard to swallow. People have been fishing and killing for thousands of years, and the number of fish kept here don't seem to be able to influence the population at all. And I honestly think it's a blessing to see anglers take fish and eat them. This is the original reason for fishing altogether. But just consider it a warning: a few fish are brutally beached and there are images of dead fish as well as freshly filleted fish on kitchen tables here!
The video is very nicely produced with excellent quality quality video shots, split screens, landscape format crops and small drawn interludes between each day in the "diary".
The sound is the original German dialogue with subtitles, so don't expect overdubbed English voices. There's a German and an English sound track, and even though I did run briefly through the German version, which was easily understandable, I have watched the DVD mostly with the English speaker - for the sake of the international audience of course.
The English narrator is obviously not a native English, but manages very well although the script is a bit awkward at times. And speaking of language and translation, in one odd and funny passage the narrator says: "Enjoy your meal then, or as the Spanish say: Bon voyage!". Spanish or French? Eat or travel? It might be a joke, but I don't think so. (Note: Ralf Haeger wrote me and informed me: "...it's simply my kind of humor - ")
I know it's a matter of taste, but personally I would also like to have heard some more variation in the music, which is slightly bland acoustic guitar and piano. There are some more edgy slide guitar moments and I'd love to have heard more of that. We have gotten used to that current fly fishing DVD's have a very well produced and varying musical side, but I do realize that making such tracks are more trouble with regards to licenses and whatnot than having a band play hand crafted music produced for the purpose.
But all these little issues put aside, this is a very enjoyable DVD with lots of traveling and fishing action, beautiful landscapes and of course the usual batch of impressing NZ fish, and I'm sure a German audience will be pleased seeing something in their own language. The rest of us won't be bad off either and if you like camaraderie, fly fishing in pristine waters and New Zealand in particular, this is not to be missed.