Fly Fishing Alaska
Justin Miller, Travis Rummel and Frank Smethurst search for troutzilla on Kamchatka's Sedanka river. (Ben Knight/Felt Soul Media)

A Fly Fishing Movie that Doesn’t Suck

A new fly-fishing movie proves all angling films need not suck.

Fly Fishing Alaska

Fishing porn is, in my opinion, the least enjoyable kind. It doesn’t offer the terrifying thrills of ski flicks or the comically self-aggrandizing monologues that mark many kayaking movies. (Google “Dream Result” for an example and then “Wet Dream Result” for a laugh-out-loud parody.) Rather, in fishing films, you’re stuck with guys exhorting and ogling confused trout.

But now, along comes a movie that not only overcomes all Bassmaster stereotypes but also manages to cleverly tweak the adventure-filmmaking genre. Eastern Rises, a new feature (showing in festivals and available on DVD) by Ben Knight and Travis Rummel, of Telluride, Colorado–based Felt Soul Media, is the story of a search for rainbow trout in Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula. The trip is complicated by four-inch mosquitoes, a drinking-and-boating accident, close encounters with a hungry bear, and an expedition member’s hunt for a Russian version of Sasquatch. (“It is very strong and it kills its own kind,” says a local expert.) The filmmaking isn’t straightforward, either: Knight, the director, uses freeze-frame imagery, smart graphics, and occasional self-reflection (he shows himself clawing out his hair at the editing desk—how meta!) to add a refreshing level of dynamics. And the director’s tricks make the heart of the film—boombox-size rainbows gulping dry flies imitating mice—that much more satisfying.

From Outside Magazine, April/May 2021
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Lead Photo: Ben Knight/Felt Soul Media