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chrome-magnon man
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Why Fly Fishing
reviewed by
Dana Sturn

Jeff Pill is the pre-eminent fly fishing filmmaker of our time. His work includes Joan Wulff’s Dynamics of Flycasting and Successful Flyfishing Strategies with Gary LaFontaine and Dick Sharon—two films that have set the standard for flyfishing video instruction. Over the past few years Jeff has turned his attention to the two-handed fly rod, and his DVDs The Art of Speycasting, Spey to Z, and Lani Waller’s Steelhead Legacy brought a new level of professionalism and creative insight to Speycasting DVDs.

Now Jeff has turned his attention to the Why of flyfishing, and with the support of Gardner Grant and the American Museum of Fly Fishing Jeff has completed Why Fly Fishing, a 31 minute show that explores the soul of our art through the eyes of some of our most celebrated anglers. Designed to introduce the public to the quiet art of fly fishing, the film goes deeper, sharing the personal insights of anglers such as Joan Wulff, Flip Pallot, Nick Lyons and John Gierach.

Joan Wulff anchors the show, explaining the nuts and bolts of fly fishing with the understated elegance we’ve come to expect from the First Lady of Fly Fishing. As we weave our way through engaging interviews and beautifully photographed angling sequences, Wulff appears from time-to-time to provide basic instruction aimed at the novice or the interested. Sure, many of us are familiar with the basics, but don’t be too hasty to scroll through this material, as Wulff’s approach is worthy of careful study by anyone, especially those who teach or aspire to teach fly fishing.

Once into the body of the film we delve into the hearts and minds of other notables such as Diana Rudolph and the multi-talented James Prosek. Along the way we are treated to discussions of technique, art and literature, as well as some great on-the-water moments that reveal each of these anglers as a participant in the grand dance of mind and water that is the spirit of fly fishing.

But the highlight of the film is the time spent with John Gierach. As we follow Gierach from farm pond to small stream and back to his study, masterful cinematography and a lively interview reveal why his books are so darn good. In this his first on screen interview Gierach comes across exactly as I expected after years spent reading his work—relaxed, insightful, entertaining and real.

Why Fly Fishing is available online through The Bookmailer at http://www.thebookmailer.com/WhyFlyFishing.html. The price is $30, $25 of which is a tax deductible donation to the American Museum of Fly Fishing.
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