If you are into fishing and have a DVD player, then you will definitely want to check out some of these titles. We have compiled a list that combines everything from instructional how-to videos and documentaries to Oscar winning Hollywood blockbusters. Whether you are a seasoned angler or a hobbyist fisherman; whether you are looking to hone your skills or are simply in the mood for some ‘fishy’ entertainment, you have come to the right place. This selection has a little something for every fisherman or fisherwoman to enjoy.
- 1 #10: The Old Man and the Sea (1990) – Entertainment One
- 2 #9: Casts That Catch Fish (2010) – Carl McNeil
- 3 #8: Fly Highway (2014) – Wide Eye Productions
- 4 #7: Fish the Surf (2008) – Lee Samson
- 5 #6: Xtreme Shark Fishing (2014) – Ingrid Loucao
- 6 #5: The Lost World of Mr. Hardy (2009) – Trufflepig Films
- 7 #4: Deadliest Catch (All Seasons)
- 8 #3: The End of the Line (Documentary)
- 9 #2: Fishing with John (1991)
- 10 #1: A River Runs Through It
#10: The Old Man and the Sea (1990) – Entertainment One
Although this title was number one on our list of top 15 books about fishing, it drops to the bottom of our fishing videos list. Unfortunately, as most of us are already aware, a brilliantly written book doesn’t always necessarily translate into a brilliant movie.
We must amend that statement slightly by pointing out that the script itself isn’t glaringly deficient and the acting by Anthony Quinn is gritty, authentic and simply, superb (many argue that it’s better than the original portrayal by legendary Spencer Tracey). The only problem with this film, as far as we can tell, appears to be the surprising lack of Hollywood money thrown into the production – surprising for a film based on a Pulitzer and Nobel Prize winning book.
Even with its deficiencies we feel every fisherman should watch this classic fish tale at least once, and decide for themselves whether it deserves a spot in your top ten list.
#9: Casts That Catch Fish (2010) – Carl McNeil
As the title suggests, this video is single-minded in its objective to help you catch more fish by perfecting the art of fly casting. This instructional video boasts excellent visual production value accompanied by cogent audio instruction, which combine to create perhaps the best instructional video on fly casting ever made..?
The techniques presented are applicable to fisherman of all levels, and most of the anglers who have seen this ‘how-to’ say that it is among the best they have ever seen and well worth the investment to own.
#8: Fly Highway (2014) – Wide Eye Productions
This beautifully filmed and narrated documentary follows the majestic blue-ribbon waters of Idaho, Montana and Yellowstone. In addition to the mind-blowing scenery and exhilarating fishing footage, the team of wide Eye Productions gets it right by highlighting not only the talents of true fly fishing gurus but also focusing on their compelling personal stories – the latter element adding a nice touch to an already entertaining and enjoyable production.
#7: Fish the Surf (2008) – Lee Samson
A highly practical tutorial that focuses on the enjoyable pastime of surf fishing. This video covers everything from basic concepts to advanced techniques. The tips presented are specifically designed to help you pursue all species of fish that you might find in the surf.
We consider this one of the most comprehensive and thorough how-to videos around because it has almost no ‘filler’ material. In fact, it is so thorough and in-depth that some of the tactics it presents are even applicable to freshwater fishing. The section on reading the beach and the water, for example, presents some of the most universally beneficial fishing advice you could possibly hope to find. We like!
#6: Xtreme Shark Fishing (2014) – Ingrid Loucao
Many conscientious fisherman don’t approve of shark fishing – this is different. We aren’t talking about commercialised shark finning operations that are ruining our oceans and threatening the sport we love – this is land based shark fishing. Land based shark fishing is without a doubt one of the most extreme and exciting categories in all of sport fishing. This film chronicles three South Florida friends as they fish for sharks right off the public beaches. You’ll see various species of shark highlighted in the film like Blacktip, Lemon and Nurse Sharks.
The bonus here is that these fishermen are part of the APEX PREDATOR PROGRAM, which is part of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a program that is interested in the migration of caught sharks. Once caught, they tag the dorsal fin with an identifier, which tracks each shark’s migration as it returns to its watery habitat.
This film really has everything – adventure, environmental education, a bunch of shark action, and even a shark bite… cue the music from ‘Jaws’!
#5: The Lost World of Mr. Hardy (2009) – Trufflepig Films
If you know anything about fly fishing you probably know about the Hardy Bros company. You probably even own some of their hardware or tackle. But do you know about its fascinating 130 year history (you can actually read about it here)?
This film retraces the company’s past, along with the storied lives and dedication of its founders. It also highlights the contribution of the loyal workers who helped make this family business, and fly fishing, what it is today by innovating and producing high quality, hand-made rods, reels and flies.
Of all the films on our list, this one is most likely to give you that golden-age, once-upon-a-time feeling. You may also enjoy the archival footage and interviews as the film explores the roots of fly-fishing in England.
#4: Deadliest Catch (All Seasons)
In a world where real fishermen are scarce, this reality TV series trails the high-sea adventures of Alaskan crab fisherman as they brave dangerous waters just to make a living in one of the deadliest professions in the world. From the hellish hard work of the deck hands to the split-second, life-altering, crunch-time decisions of the captains, you will surely be fascinated by the exhilarating, age-old battle of man vs. sea that unfolds before you. Fair warning: many people say this is the best reality program ever and highly addictive!
That last statement is subject to personal opinion of course but, suffice it to say, you will no doubt come away with a whole new understanding and appreciation for the market price of crab.
#3: The End of the Line (Documentary)
We are down to our #3 pick and it’s time to get serious. This documentary masterfully captures the woes of the commercial fishing industry and its mismanagement of our oceans’ resources. With the demand for fish ever-growing and the technologically advanced techniques available to modern fisherman – the sea is primed for a catastrophic collapse if nothing changes (check out our post about overfishing, or another we wrote about supertrawlers).
Unlike other documentaries about over-fishing (i.e. ‘The Cove’), this film is devoid of graphic scenes or villainous characters. Rather, we feel that the true intent of the filmmakers here is to inspire the viewer with majestic scenes of the ocean and its bounty, which together with informative facts and bold predictions for the future of our planet, hark a call to action.
Altogether, a fair and balanced – and beautifully shot – production worthy of everyone’s attention.
#2: Fishing with John (1991)
Ok. So, it’s a bit unorthodox to go from a serious topic like the over-fishing of the ocean to the silly fishing entertainment presented in ‘Fishing with John’ – but darned if that’s not exactly what we are going to do. And, you might as well get used to the unusual, because that is exactly what you are going to get in this series.
Musician John Lurie (not a fisherman by the way) decides to invite some of his famous friends to go fishing with him. Needless to say, some of the stupidest, and let’s face it, downright laugh-out-loud funniest things start to happen. With stars like Matt Dillon, Willem Defoe and Dennis hopper along for the ride, things get… well, like we said, unusual and hilarious! (And who knew a cast like this ever did a programme about fishing!?)
The only downside to this series is that there is only one season available and it might even be a bit hard to find at that. However, on the plus side, the episodes are so good that you can simply watch them over and over again. In fact, most people would highly recommend doing just that, as they seem to get funnier the more times you watch them.
#1: A River Runs Through It
As for number one on our list, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences pretty much made this a no-brainer, when it awarded ‘A River Runs Through It’ several Oscars, including (among others) Best Cinematography and Best Director. We must admit, if a movie about fishing can win over the mainstream (no pun intended), who are we to argue.
The truth is, this movie does cinematic justice to the riveting, semi-biographical tale that Norman Maclean so elegantly penned in his book of the same name. As its awards for cinematography and directing would indicate, this movie is nothing short of a masterpiece. Basically, it’s the fishing version of ‘Field of Dreams’ or ‘Hoosiers’. Some would argue even better.
At the end of the day it’s just an excellent movie that captures the beauty, nuance and transcendent qualities of the sport of fishing. It also deftly navigates the complicated relationship between the angler the water, the fish and even the family. Oh and it has Brad Pitt. Finally, a fishing film that your other half won’t mind watching.
Forget renting or online streaming, this is one you need to own.