Published May 3. 2011

River Academy

Early Season Trout Fishing + Small Stream Trout Fishing + The Complete Mayfly
Fish On Productions
Publishing year: 
From UK£ 19.95-
Dean Hodson, John Pearson, Dean Andrews & John Tyzack
Reviewed by: 

I have chosen to review these three DVD's in one review, mostly because they are part of a series and very consistent in concept and production. There's also a fourth in the series, which I don't have.
They are not identical, mind you! Only in the way that they feature the same people and the same tone-of-voice and style. They deal with each their subject have each their place and justification. You can choose one or two, but I'd certainly recommend getting them all since they are all highly educational and supplement each other very nicely.

What the DVD's have in common, apart from beautiful settings and excellent photography and production, is an extremely well chosen cast, consisting of UK actor Dean Andrews and UK fly fishing champion John Tyzack. These two complement each other so well, that you suspect that they are longtime friends or at least have been fishing together for a long time. Or they just might be very talented and very professional - which there is no doubt that they are.
No matter what, they do a terrific job, and set a great tone, jesting and having fun, but still being serious and educating us. Andrews is of course the pupil and Tyzack the mentor, but in spite of these roles they are very equal in the dialogue and Andrews even manages to tease Tyzack more than once as he glides into the role of the teacher with some great tongue-in-cheek remarks.

The DVD's are all educational to a much higher extend than we are used to in most contemporary videos, which can muster a lot of style and great fishing experiences, but often stick to that, and contain very few facts. Academy might be a slightly pompous name. I'd personally have chosen the more modest School, but it does tell what this is about: learning!

The DVD's cover in sequence: early spring fishing, nymph fishing and dry fly fishing with mayflies, and all manage to bring over the message that neither of these disciplines need to be complex nor hard to do. We get taken through different ways of rigging the rod and fly, finding the right spots on the water and get introduced to some nice and easy casts and fishing methods. The two participants may be seasoned anglers, but manage to convince us as viewers that they are playing and fooling around as the and we learn our ways on the stream.
It all makes for some excellent and beautiful fishing video, and hey presto! Before you know it, you have learned quite a lot too. The first two are single DVD's with well more than an hour's content, while the mayfly box contains two DVD's with almost 3 hour's content. A really good value for the money.
The video quality, composition and production is excellent, but quite straight forward in a very relaxed, controlled and pleasant manner. There are no sped up or slowed down sequences, no time lapses and no optical gimmicks. Just good old well produced video in the BBC and East Anglia tradition, and hooray for that!
Highly recommended for the newbie who wants some easy tips on stream fishing, and for the old timer who needs some fresh inspiration for the upcoming season og just hours of nice fishing and great entertainment.

There's a fourth DVD out in the series - or rather a fourth and a fifth, because it's another double disc - this time on Urban Fly Fishing, which will most likely be in the same style as the above, and on a very welcome and rarely covered subject too.

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