GFF video/DVD review

Uncharted Waters

Bassas da India

The account of a fantastic fishing trip to a place in the middle of nowhere between Africa and Madagascar.

Crew: Steve Pengelly, Jonathan Tomlinson, Glynn Henry, Jon Pratt, Terrence Henry and Brian Lavery. Cameras and production: Stuart Morgan & Jon Chappel
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Stuart Morgan & Jon Chappel
Uncharted Waters
Smokin Drag Productions, 2012
80 minutes
Sample/trailer from GFF Videos

GFF rating: 5 out of 7

Reviewed by Martin Joergensen

Uncharted Waters - Stills from the video

Stills from the video

OK, fly-fishing aficionados, I know this is not a fly-fishing video as such. There's plenty fly-fishing, but also a bunch of very hefty spinning tackle in use, and if you're a purist you might think this is not for you.

But think again...

If you're a purist and think that upstream dry-fly with a split cane rod and a silk line is the only right way to fish, this might exactly be something for you! A true eye opener and a proof that fantastic fishing can be found where you look, even in the middle of nowhere - almost.

Bassas da India or Basse de Judie was not a name that rang any bells with me. I have watched countless features produced by East Anglia, Natural Geographic and BCC, showing natural wonders from both Madagascar and Mozambique as well as all over The Indian Ocean, but still I had never heard of this volcanic atoll, which rises from the ocean bottom 3 kilometers below, and breaks the surface at low tide, but still doesn't have enough dry land to be inhabitable.
It's part of French Southern and Antarctic Lands and is under French jurisdiction of all things!
Well, enough geography, onto some fishing.

This DVD is the story of a bunch of guys that sail out on small boat from the coast of Mozambique across the 385 kilometers (239 miles) of ocean that separates the atoll from the continent.
We follow them from they land in Mozambique, as they embark the boat, sail for four days and finally start fishing around and on the atoll.
This is really a true adventure, and the title Uncharted Waters seems very suitable. Not that the atoll isn't charted, but as a fishing destination it seems pristine and unexplored, and the guys have to experiment their way ahead, trolling, baitcasting, bluewater fly-fishing, wading on the flats and simply trying all the opportunities that the location offers.

And while the fly-fishing might not develop quite as they imagined, it still develops into something thrilling and exciting - and different! Rather than the usual bonefish, tarpon and GT's, these guys fish for parrot fish on the flats! And rather than the typical flats fishing they get some hefty wading challenges, and some positive surprises when fishing vertically in bluewater from the boat.
There's a ton of fishing action - fly and spin - lots of fascinating pictures from the boat, the atoll and underwater. Not least the underwater footage of fish chasing lures and flies is pretty exciting and very well made.

the food seems delicious, the beer is cold and the spirit is high

We also get a good insight into the daily life on the boat where the tight space does not seem to cause any problems, in spite of the guys sharing beds and sleeping and living a little closer than most men prefer. But the food seems delicious, the beer is cold and the spirit is high - and the joy over the grand catches is real and engaging... and mostly very loud!
This seems to be one of these trips that you'd really have liked to join. Nice folks, fantastic fishing, beautiful location and a great experience. And the video catches it all.

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