Fly Fishing Film Tour brings 10 cutting-edge flicks to The Bing

The Fly Fishing Film Tour is making its fourth annual winter run through Spokane on Thursday, bringing the pulse of rivers, saltwater flats and heart-thumping music to the Bing Crosby Theater.

Ten new films have been compiled into two hours of drama, savage strikes and humor set to start at 7 p.m.

The tour – booked in more than 90 cities in 31 states and Canada so far this year – showcases some of the best independent outdoor filmmakers focused on fly fishing from saltwater flats to high mountain ranges.

“The goal of the Fly Fishing Film Tour is to energize the industry and inspire filmmakers to create new cutting-edge films to both entertain and educate outdoor enthusiasts,” said Thad Robison, tour co-owner.

The films, presented in high definition, often feature the first public looks at new footage from across the globe. The evening revs up with audience prize giveaways.

After previewing the films, it’s clear that the filmmakers are getting much more sophisticated at going beyond the fish-strike action and “That’s a good fish!” dialogue to telling the stories behind the fishing adventures.

“Filmmakers really stepped up this year,” said Doug Powell, tour spokesman. “Great stuff.  Our main problem is there’s too much good stuff,” he added, noting the difficulty in honing the tour to two hours.

Two films on this year’s tour have an environmental angle:

• “Geofish,” by MOTIV Fishing ( motivfishing.com), is a gripping, funny, timely, beautifully filmed and action-packed documentary about four fish-bums traveling three months and 8,000 miles from Portland through Mexico in a pick-up fueled with used vegetable oil.

They also hook big marlin on flies while fishing in small pangas.

• “Red Like Winter,” by Waterline Media ( flywaterexpeditions.com), stalks Mississippi Delta waters in poling skiffs for monster black drum and the world-record redfish on a fly. On the way, the film offers positive news regarding the gulf oil spill’s impact on Louisiana marshland fisheries.

Other featured segments include:

• “Satori,” by WorldANGLING ( www.worldangling.com), journeys through the skills required to pole the saltwater flats to catch the elusive permit on a fly.

• “Itu’s Bones,” by On The Fly Productions ( ontheflyproductions.com), shows a young man’s evolution into a top-class bonefishing guide in the Cook Islands. The “bonefish cam” on the back of a fish catches underwater insights on bonefish behavior.

• “The Waters of Greenstone,” by Gambit Stone ( gambitstone.com), follows two childhood friends who shun the usual helicopters and resort to backpacking and mountaineering to reach the backcountry brown trout fishing on New Zealand’s South Island.

• “Musky Country,” by Third Year Fly Fisher ( thirdyearflyfisher.com), is the first feature fly-fishing film about the fish of 10,000 casts.

• “Speed, Muscle and Teeth,” by LDR Media ( ldrmedia.com), bows to the lure of fly-rodding for the 300-pound mako sharks, toothy beasts that can sprint 60 mph and jump 20 feet out of the water.

• “Wisconsin Smallies” and “Bluewater,” by Beattie Outdoors Productions ( beattieoutdoorproductions.com). Two hot segments showing fly-fishing passion for bass in the Midwest before jetting to Guatemala to take billfish.

• “Black Tailed Devils,” by 406 Productions ( 406productions.net), 10 years in the making, is the first fly-fishing movie dedicated to the insanity and exhilaration of pursuing permit in the Florida Keys.

• “Low & Clear,” by Finback Films ( finbackfilms.com), a sneak preview of a documentary on a winter fly-fishing trip to Canada that evolves into a meditation on friendship.

The Fly Fishing Film Tour kicked off in Ventura, Calif., on Feb. 3 and has been playing largely to sold-out crowds.

Said Robison, “All winter we dream about fishing, and this film tour is just a way for us to celebrate that passion with friends and other enthusiasts.”

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