Monday, April 21, 2008

DVD: Fish Bum I: Mongolia

It is always hard for me to think of fly fishing as a spectator sport. In my mind watching someone else fly fish just isn't high up on my list of priorities. Of course if I am watching the guys from AEG Media fish for the largest known trout in the world all bets are off.

I have been acquainted with the guys (and occasional gal) from AEG Media ever since their initial film, Trout Bum Diaries Vol I- Patagonia, was released a few years back. Their videos have been ground breaking and in my opinion (and that of my 16 year old son) the sort of thing that could interest a new generation in what might well have once been known as "the quiet sport." If you are not familiar with their style of film making, then you should know that they eschew the "visit a lodge and teach a technique" style of presentation in favor of fast paced films that showcase exotic locations and big fish. You won't learn to tie a fly by watching their films but you will be entertained.

The latest offering from AEG Media, "Fish Bum I: Mongolia - River Wolf" chronicles the adventures of Chris Owens, Thad Robinson, Justin Crump, and Brian Jill as they travel to Mongolia in search of the world's largest known trout, the river wolf or Taimen. Taimen are salmonids that feed voraciously and grow to sizes of a meter or more. They live only in the most remote areas of the world and when you find them you had better be throwing them something large. Flies the size of small dogs would not be out of the question.

One of the things that I have always enjoyed about the AEG video projects is the fact that chronicle the good right along with the bad. This video is no exception as it becomes clear early in the film that just finding these fish is going to be a major undertaking. In Fish Bum I, the AEG crew has to deal with travel in a country with few roads, scarce fish, bitter cold, blizzards, and yak milk vodka induced hangovers, in their search for these prehistoric behemoths. The also get to wear some very cool Genghis Kahn hats and ride camels.

All things mature and AEG Media is no exception to this. Fish Bum I: Mongolia is certainly the most polished of their projects to date. The film work is excellent and the music chosen as a backdrop for the scenery is the best yet. The lack of big fish early in the film might be a negative for some viewers but I felt it spoke to the scarcity of the resource and the difficultly of getting in to a postion to catch these giant fish. It also allowed for a bit more story telling than their previous projects bringing a deeper look at the geographic area and people of Mongolia. Don't worry though, despite early setbacks they manage to catch several very large fish.

"Fish Bum I: Mongolia - River Wolf" is 70 minutes long and is filmed in a widescreen format with Dolby Digital Stereo sound. It is available via the AEG Media Website for $29.95.

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