Towards the end of last year myself and Kev Parr had to produce a film for issue 18 of Fallon’s Angler. The two previous films we had worked on (one about winter fishing at Aldermaston on the Kennet, the other catching tench on the Sussex Levels) showed that Kev could clearly deliver both informative and engaged narration. So on this occasion I suggested he once again narrated over the film after I had completed the edit. “Keep it poetic” I said, but aside from that it was left to his own devices. A few days later Kev emailed me an mp3 file, I clicked play on the laptop, sat back and listened. Kev had recreated the day in words, words that would have been far from my own reach, subtle, sensitive and certainly brought back the feeling that I had that day on the River Test. So here is the result – a day on the river catching dace, roach and a lovely big perch, caught from the gloaming.
Last May I flew over to British Columbia to meet Garrett from Fallon’s Angler. After a conversation with his father over twenty years ago he made a promise to himself to fish the Fraser river for sturgeon. Sadly his father never made it but now the challenge was on and the chance to catch a fish the size of a man was a potential reality. My film captures that journey through the Canadian wilderness and eventually connecting to something quite extraordinary.
The more places I visit and the more I fish, I find myself transfixed in a state, a place imagined from the past, people passing through as their lives ebb and flow, then fade as they dissolve into the soil. When I stand with my video camera this sense is enduring as I piece together a narrative. I relish the past, with it I see the present and look into the future, it is apparent my films have taken on this tone over the last year. These films are not sentimental nor nostalgic, The Glass Aisle was an engagement into a poets world. Paul Henry unlocked the souls from the past through the landscape of the Brecon and Monmouthshire canal, the experience was a total immersion, five months on and the Glass Aisle haunts me every day.
I have shot two more films this summer, one was shot in Canada with Garrett from Fallon’s Angler, this is not finished but once again I was surprised on what we discovered in British Columbia, kindred spirits? I still not sure but we witnessed a connection with the flora and fauna at the end of our trip when I caught a sturgeon and landed it on a first nation reservation. There we met a lady who connected us with her spirit world, a world apart from the macho hunting and fishing scene that seems prevalent in modern Canada. The passion of angling had once again blessed us with another soulful experience.
Back in the UK we shot a short film – Solent Hounds – fishing for smoothounds in the Solent. Escaping from London one afternoon just at the start of the hot summer, we fished for several hours with anglers Adam and Ollie. We stayed until dark, what came from the shoreline through our marriage of words and images was once again echoed from the past through the landscape. I thought we were simply shark fishing, instead Garrett and myself found more. There are many angling films out there showing how and where, but I hope these Fallon’s Angler film offer something else? As anglers we have the privilege to stay put, to step away from time, to focus on a spot, transfixed in a meditative state, personally I dream, I honour and remember those lost souls that once walked and now lay as dust beneath my feet, while remembering that I too will one day join them.
Watch Solent Hounds here…
Fallon’s Angler has now launched a YouTube channel featuring all of our previous films plus a new one featuring Kevin Parr, The Last Tench of Summer. Kev has been a bit of a star, aside from being a very talented angler his knowledge of the flora and fauna is clearly shown and beautifully delivered in this film, so we are off again soon in search of an autumn species, please subscribe to the Fallons YouTube channel to keep up with our new films, better still buy the publication.
A short film written and narrated by Garrett Fallon of Fallon’s Angler, with music by Trevor Moss and Hannah Lou. A touching story about memory and the return to a place after a forty year absence, a place full of childhood dreams. This is not Garrett’s native Ireland but North Wales, and the Snowdonian lakes of Cregennan. Using his fathers rod and reel, Garrett searches for the wild brown trout.
I’m compelled to write a few words on the solstice, a date I regard highly, the longest day and also my daughters birthday. Fallon’s Angler 10 is at the printers and will be dropped through the subscribers letter boxes within the week. This issue we headed towards Wales and shot two films, we rediscovered Cregennan Lakes after a forty year absence, and met a special lady who has spent a lifetime on the Usk.
Also in issue 10 Chris Yates celebrate his glorious 16th and some new contributors play their part in the Fallon’s story from Wales and beyond.
For now there is a pleasant lull, I’m not racing around the country, I’m fishing locally for river carp, but being nomads they seem to have disappeared, perhaps seeking deep cooler pools while we sit out the hottest heatwave since 1977; I’m happy to sit it out with them…
My canoe is also ready for launch, this may help in seeking new swims that only before I could view from afar, over grown banks and fallen trees obstructing my passage, but first I will have to see if the canoe is stable enough to land a ‘river lurker.’
The last year has been an interesting one, I’ve taken off into the field with the aim to shoot video and stills for various projects, one re-accuring challenge is with Fallon’s Angler, it has been…well challenging. The beauty of modern technology is that everything is relatively compact and lightweight although some camera systems have now got smaller, glass is glass and it can still weigh a fair amount, the task of packing it down so that I can move freely on foot and keep in step with roving anglers is an art in itself. In the summer Fallon’s Angler set off by foot onto Dartmoor, I had to carry fishing gear, camera equipment, food, water, bedding and my house. I’m not one to weigh everything down to the last gramme but I made sure I took only the absolute essentials, my only luxury was a hip flask of Laphroig, the hip flask was given to me by my father, and if you knew him you would understand that this was to be the professional drinkers 10 oz version! Unusually the hip flask returned from Dartmoor with almost half of it’s content untouched.
Image courtesy of Bruno Vincent
On the Dartmoor trip I took a Fuji X Pro 1 mirrorless system with just two lenses a 16-55mm and a 55-200mm, I love this camera but it falls down when it comes to shooting video, the trip was a stills only shoot and the Canon had to stay at home. Below are a few shots that didn’t make the final edit and covered to black and white, the article for issue 7 included a mix of colour and black and white.
My next challenge was to put together a compact system that can shoot good quality video and audio as a one-man band. The problem with shooting video is you need a few lens options, microphones, field recorders, monopods, tripods with pan heads, the list can go on and as the list increases so does the weight, my nemesis was whether to pack a rod amongst my camera gear?
For those observant types, actually its fairly obvious the image above has the additional baggage of a fishing bag, rod and reel, below is the actual gear that I would take on the field to shoot video once packed up and ready to go, no fishing gear
Last weekend we set off again for Fallons issue 8, our destination has an eastern direction, what we uncovered was a mystery just like fishing itself, we didn’t know the outcome until it was done, but we met some interesting individuals and seen some places that have formed the story, my job was to get it on film both with stills and on video, the tale of two rivers is unfolding as I sit here and view the edits.
Words once penned by Lennon and McCartney but it is true, Fallon’s Angler is getting so much better. It’s been just over a year since I started working with Garrett Fallon on the publication, searching out a narrative that has balance in our multi-layered world of angling. With so many specialist areas, attitudes, and outcomes each issue is a challenge but as stories unfold and content collected we feel we are growing a personality that our readers now feel akin to. Each month we discover new writers, photographers, anglers and artists that fit the Fallon’s Angler ethos, although to say we have an ethos could put up boundaries so perhaps we could label it as the Fallon’s Angler spirit?
Personally it has made me look closely at how lucky us anglers are, with multiple options we can use a fishing trip as a springboard to be immersed in nature, an elixir giving douche for the anglers soul. Meeting the Fallon’s anglers over the last year has made me want to vary my own angling and shy away from my normal habits, spice it up a little, take on the unknown and most importantly share it with others. The tuesday swim has always been about seeking out the less obvious elements in fishing, to seek out “otherlyness,” (if its not a word it is now) but now I want the tuesday swim to branch out and consider the landscape as important as the fishing, something that Fallon’s Angler is already in the process of undertaking in some of our forthcoming articles, this summer we will take on the landscape by canoe, by foot over the moors, and by sea kayak. Our skies are becoming larger, bringing new ideas to our readers, celebrating the past (as we have done in issue 6 with our tribute to Fred Buller) and embracing the future. The art of angling is ever changing but the deep down urge to fish has remained unchanged for millennia. And if you can’t get out but still have that burning desire I hope that Fallon’s Angler is the next best thing.
Issue 6 is out today, it looks stunning with our new and improved print process the images are now singing from the pages partnered with words carefully choreographed by amongst others, Danny Adcock, John Andrews, Carlos Baz, Domonic Garnett, Andrew Griffith, Ted Hughes, Dexter Petley, Maurice Neil, Graham Vassey, Chris Yates and words on Fred Buller from Jon Berry, Garrett Fallon and David Profumo.
Through the Lens has been a regular feature of words and images for Fallon’s Angler since issue 3 that I have had the privilege of producing. Below we have part of the piece I shot last summer for issue 4 in Ireland on the Blackwater. I have just returned from shooting Through the Lens for issue 5 which has been a real pleasure and what I feel to be of significant importance to the heritage of angling and one for the traditionalists. Issue 5 will be out in the middle of Jan but in the meantime here is my last entry from issue 4.