Published Oct 29. 2011

Heads or Tails

Mad Phil Media
Publishing year: 
Phil Jagger
Reviewed by: 

Permit in Australia must be the new thing in fly fishing, judging from this DVD and a host online videos popping up during the last few years. I have a friend who moved to Australia, and he also writes about permit and GT's - not to mention tuna - to an extent, which makes it almost unbearable.

If you are in doubt about the potential qualities, you just need to check out this DVD, which must make the heart of any permit angler beat a lot faster. I have been chasing permit in Yucatan on a couple of occasions, and have spotted a few, single, difficult fish from the boat, but never had a shot at one.

This video might show the best of the best of what was captured during filming, but the number of fish and the accessibility to them seems to be on par with anything you can find anywhere on the globe... and then some! You will see dozens if not hundreds of fish, heads and tails inside the waves, permit going for surface flies and much more.
You will get your share of action fishing from the shore, from reefs and from boat, both on the open coast and round man-made structures. I am personally completely mesmerized by the scene where you see permit come up from around harbor pylons and take swimming crab patterns. There's some exciting permit fishing for you! This is a far cry from the usual impression of the permit as a shy and finicky fish that only picks up carefully presented crabs delicately placed on the bottom within inches of its mouth.

I am personally completely mesmerized by the scene where you see permit come up from around harbor pylons and take swimming crab patterns.

As it's almost become my mantra, I can again write that I find the film way too short. The pace is high and the fishing excellent, and I could easily have been more than the 29 minutes that are offered. OK, there's 12 minutes extra material, but I would like to see more like an hour of regular material.
Anyways... The filming is excellent, using the high quality video and the wide format to its best. The angles, cutting and rhythm work well, and the beautiful Australian beaches and the clear water over coral reefs does not make the experience worse.
The video covers spotting fish from the beach or a boat and fishing both wading and sailing, and although this is a fishing video more than a people video, we still get a good impression of the anglers Geoff Anderson and Simon Penn who appear in it. As is often the case with these "experience-based" videos, there's very little (like in nothing) about the practicalities such as locations, gear, tactics or other things that could be of great help to an angler who wanted to pursue this fantastic fishing.
It's like many contemporary video producers defer from this type of information. Maybe as a reaction to earlier times' very promotional videos, that often clearly had an advertizing purpose (and often economical interests) in mentioning certain locations, guides, lodges or other resources. Too bad because a little about gear, flies and the whole approach would be a nice extra as an addition to this already very nice video.

This video has been out a couple of years but is still worth investing in. It shows a tropical saltwater fishing, which is very different from the traditional bonefish/tarpon style fishing that is seen in many US videos, and reminds me a bit of the NZ Green Tide video in concept - even though the content is different.

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