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27 March 2006
Trout Bum Diaries: Volume I, Patagonia -- a movie review

Brookie from EsquelI received my copy of the "Trout Bum Diaries: Volume I, Patagonia" DVD on Friday a couple weeks ago. After a way-too-long and hyper-aggravating work week, it was a very pleasant surprise inside my mailbox when I got home. I knew how I'd be spending my Friday night.

B and I whipped up some dinner and parked ourselves in front of the TV to enjoy the DVD - and we were not disappointed. The movie trailer I linked to previously is a very accurate taste of the DVD in its entirety. If the movie trailer makes you smile or causes you to get your flyfishing gear out for a quick recreational inventory, you'll definitely like the full version. The DVD is arranged in 2 general sections - the main ' feature' part is about 1.5 hours in length and there's another hour of 'bonus footage.' The movie is slickly filmed and well edited and essentially brings us along with 4 'trout bums' on a 5-month-long fishing trip across eastern Argentina and Chile. The movie is organized as an informal travelogue as the guys make their way south from Buenos Aires along the Atlantic coast.

These guys are pretty darn good at their chosen professions of fly fishing and movie-making. They've obviously been influenced by the current genre of 'extreme' outdoor sports cinematography and by Warren Miller ski movies, and they've made this approach work very well for a fishing movie. The soundtrack that serves as a backdrop for the stunning visual presentation is a mixture of elegant classical music, locally appropriate Andean pipe music, hardcore rock tunes and several categories in between. Instead of focusing on the technical side of fly fishing, the way that many fishing TV shows are currently presented, these guys never mention fly choices or tippet size or from what angle they're going to approach a cast. They simply immerse themselves in the experience, in the landscape, in the stream, and they take us along for the ride.

Big rainbowThe video focuses on the great stuff that makes up the great stories they'll tell their friends and family later - huge beautiful fish, broken-down vehicles, blisters, mud, snagged rod tips, friends, wader-topping 'puddles', mountains, sky, rain, wild flamingoes, horses, guanacos, falcons, emus, and more gorgeous colorful fish - and not on the cold, technical aspects of the trip where most fishing videos focus.

The landscapes and locations where these guys stop to fish are highly variable. The footage begins with a trek back into a swampy, boggy spring creek for some huge, colorful brook trout. They also fish some high desert spring creeks that are small and narrow, but undercut and deep enough to house big brown trout. They even stop and fish an area of bamboo-lined glacier runoff. Really. They catch some enormous sea-run browns and some fat mountain lake rainbows. They catch lots and lots of huge beautiful fish - deeply colored, 3-pound brook trout; fat, football shaped, 6-pound rainbows; fresh, silvery 10-pound brown trout. I'll just say it - there is no shortage of blatant fish porn on this DVD. It's all very good.

I've watched the video a couple times since that Friday night when it transformed a horrible work week. I'm glad this movie is in my small collection of DVDs as I know I'll watch it many more times. I'd wholeheartedly recommend it to any obsessive-compulsive trout angler. I may never get to fish this area of the world so I'm glad to have had this glimpse into the experience. It'll fill the void during the winter months or anytime a little fly fishing fantasy is in order - while we await the release of Trout Bum Diaries Volume II, New Zealand...

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