Monday, January 22, 2007
DVD Review: Sporting Fly - Alaska's Kenai River
This weekend I sat down in the Flyfishmagazine.com screening room to take a look at Sporting Fly Productions new DVD on fishing Alaska's Kenai River. The film could be best described as a "view from inside the boat" of host Dave Long's guided trip down the Kenai in search of big rainbow trout. In this DVD you go along for the ride as two anglers (Dave and Rob) and their guide (Josh Hayes) fish the often crowded river and fish filled river. Along the way they catch some nice trout and are pestered by big Dolly Varden, and "Humpies".
Let's be frank here, this DVD has nothing to do with dry flies fished upstream. It wasn't supposed to be for the tweed knicker set at all. To the contrary, these guys are fishing painted beads (egg patterns) under strike indicators, in what can best be described as a dead drift windshield wiper style. The purists may cringe at the mere thought but I have no problem with that at all. These guys are doing the same thing I would be doing if I get the chance to fish the Kenai. Fishing in a way that might possibly allow them to catch the fish of a lifetime on giant water.
Then there is the guide, Josh Hayes. At first I didn't know what to make of him as he barked orders at his customers, was secretive about his fishing techniques, and even yelled at them for missing fish. However, as the film went on I came to realize that this is a guide who is committed to getting his anglers on fish. He knows what it takes to do this and won't let anything get in the way of providing his client with the chance for a big payoff. By the end of the film I actually started liking the guy. The conversations in the boat even started to remind me of some of the ones I've had with my fishing buddies during our (mis-) adventures. We always say that big boys play rough.
Like all good movies there has to be a big finish and this one should win an piscatorial "Oscar" as the host reels in a 31 inch, 14.5 pound rainbow trout. The mere sight of this beast made me want to hock the Isuzu Trooper and buy a plane ticket to Alaska.
The DVD has great scenery and information about a part of the world every angler should visit during their lifetime. It also has some excellent special features with one of the best being the Host and Directory Commentary. Be sure to watch the film a second time with this feature turned on and you will get even more insight into what the host and director were thinking as they took part in the trip of a lifetime. I am looking forward to more films from the folks at Sporting Fly.
The Sporting Fly Productions film Alaska Kenai River Vol. I is available from the Sporting Fly website for $29.95 with free shipping. The widescreen DVD was filmed in high definition and Dolby surround sound and both looked and sounded great on the 106" screen in the Flyfishmagazine.com screening room. It runs approximately 45 minutes and the extras include Host / Director commentary and a Dave Long mini segment on how to prepare for a trip to Alaska.