Some of the best fly fishing films in the world are coming out of a small company based in Te Anau. Its latest production, Hatch, documents the story of hatching mayflies and other species and encapsulates the whole mystery and tradition of the art of fly fishing.
The literary tradition of fly fishing is a rich one and reaches as far back as the second century when the Romans first recorded the use of an artificial fly by Macedonian anglers. But the first true work dedicated to the art was produced in 1496 by an English nun, Dame Juliana Berners, called Treatyse on Fysshynge wyth an Angle. An angle was an early name for a hook, hence the term angler. The most famous book was Izaak Walton's Compleat Angler (1653), which is regarded as the foundation stone of modern fly fishing, a sport that has spawned thousands if not millions of books.
But films have since come to capture the essence of fly fishing and none more so than the latest from Gin-Clear Media, which tells the story of hatching flies that create the link between angler and trout. It is beautifully filmed and the action is enriched by the use of slow motion cinematography.
The director of Gin-Clear Media, Nick Reygaert, said: "We started to film Hatch in February last year.
It was an enormous project as we shot in several countries over a 15-month period, travelling to each region to coincide with a spectacular hatch or phenomena. Quite often we were travelling with over 100kg of camera gear in remote areas, which takes a fair amount of organisation.
"Hatch is the first fishing film to have been shot using Red Digital Cinema cameras. These cameras are capable of extremely high frame rates, which enable super slow motion. We needed super slow-motion to tell the story of the insects and hatches which are central to the film. It was very exciting to be pioneering the use of this amazing technology and each day filming was extremely rewarding as I could review the footage onsite, knowing then and there that we had filmed things in a way that had never been done before. For a fisho, which I am first and foremost, the sight of a big Tasmanian trout leaping into the air to take a mayfly in super slow-motion just gets your blood pumping. I am very proud of Hatch, I think it has put a new twist on fishing films."
The film documents the world's most extraordinary insect hatches and the fly fishing that accompanies them. It follows the mayfly hatches on England's legendary chalk streams, trout eating ants falling off bridges in Slovenia and the huge trout of the South Island smashing into one of the largest insects - cicadas. A "hatch" of krill in the ocean triggers its own feeding frenzy. The pivotal role fly fishermen play as guardians of the watery environment is also highlighted, as all fish are caught and returned to the water with reverence.
The latest production follows a string of internationally lauded films, including the series of The Source, which looks at the story of trout and other sporting species and the waters they inhabit in New Zealand, Tasmania and Iceland. Like all of the company's productions these films combine breathtaking filming with action and adventure and have sparked rave reviews all around the globe.
The company was formed seven years ago with the objective of creating inspiring and beautiful fly fishing films and filling a niche in the market, and has more ambitious projects in the pipeline. One of its most successful enterprises has been the growth of the Rise Fly Fishing Film Festival, launched in Christchurch in 2006. It has grown into one of the premier events on the international fly fishing calendar, playing annually in 15 countries and screening in five languages.
As Nick Reygaert says : "We live and breathe fly fishing."By Geoff Thomas