Movie Review: Drift

movie-reelThis review was brought to you in no small part by the gentleman and scholar Pete McDonald (aka Fishing Jones), who gave his cherished passes to me so I could scalp them in front of the Denver Fly Fishing Retailers Convention and spend the money on a shot of 18 year-old Scotch and a few streamers attend.

It’s awfully hard to trounce a movie about fly fishing on this blog, primarily because just about anything related to the subject gets me worked up. If you show me big fish being caught on fly, in exotic locales using fine cinematographic skills, and don’t obviously and repeatedly plug your main sponsor, I’m going to give you a thumbs up. So I’ll come right out and say it – Drift (produced by Confluence Films) does it all right, and gets a thumbs up, five stars, or a 10 out of 10 (whichever you prefer). Quite simply, the movie rocked! If you are about to travel/fish and need a primer while sitting on the plane that will assuredly have you bouncing off cabin walls, this movie is it. But I’ll warn you, practice casting in a mid-flight Boeing is against FAA regulations.

I’m making this quick, because the DVD is a must have and I don’t want to be the spoiler…

The movie starts off at the Deschutes with spey casting to steelhead. “Fish beautiful water well” is the takeaway for steelie success. It moves on to Turneffe Flats and Punta Gorda, with exposes on permit and the Garbutt brothers. Winter follows, with a tour of one of my favorites, the Green River A-section, and then on to the Frying Pan and the Bighorn. Weather then subsides with a trip to Andros Island – you’ll hear some of Charlie Smith’s banjo playing, and a few reels singing to the sounds of bonefish. And for the finale, the crew travels to Kashmir, finding fat rainbows, professional ‘netters’ and a whole lotta paperwork.

drift-the-movieIt should come as no surprise to sports/action film buffs that Drift is a high quality production – the team that created it is top notch. Writer Tom Bie is the publisher and editor of The Drake magazine, one of the finest grassroots publications anywhere for the fly fishing enthusiast. Producer Jim Klug is another veteran of the fly fishing world – and ‘world’ indeed…he’s the founder of Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures, which puts fish in the freezer by organizing fly fishing trips from Costa Rica to Kamchatka and beyond. And last but certainly not least, there’s director Chris Patterson – if you find yourself feeling like you are watching the aquatic version of a Warren Miller snow flick, that’s because Chris spent 16 years working as a director/cinematographer for the famed ski movie magnate.

drift-stageI only have one beef with Drift, and it’s a doosie. The film spends a lot of time in Belize, with much of that showing off awfully beautiful permit struggling to shake loose the flies that the crew tossed at them. That Brian O’Keefe takes great photos, but he sure did irk me – I’ve been fly fishing for a heck of a long time and still don’t have a permit-on-fly to show for it – meanwhile this cat made it look oh so easy. Of course, Thomas McGuane spent a good portion of his life fly fishing (and writing about that journey), and only bagged a permit in the last chapter. I just can’t wait that long.

Nevertheless, I think someone in the crew knew I was there and that I was going to get upset when I saw the permit on screen, so before the film even got started they kept tossing me free stuff. Of course, us fly fishing folks are not so easily satisfied, so I am going to give the gear away and wait around for that invitation to Belize, compliments of the boys at Confluence, that I now feel I so justly deserve for all the pain and suffering I endured last night. Up for grabs are two ball caps, as pictured below:

drift-hat sharkskin-hat

We’ll do this fair and square – all you have to do is answer a few simple questions in the comment section, and it will be first come first serve (i.e. the first correct answers get a cap, and you can only answer one of the two questions). For the “Drift” cap, tell me what recently went down in the Belize legislature that is good for fly fishing; for the “Sharkskin” cap, tell me what’s going on in Kashmir that might make fly fishing tough there. If you are correct, I’ll email you for your mailing address (which also means you need to provide a valid email with your comment/answer).

Good luck, and get Drift.


[…] September 16, 2008 by Pete McDonald I sent my tickets to Michael Gracie, and when he couldn’t scalp them, he went in and watched the film. Here’s what he had to say about the new movie Drift. […]

Ok, I’ll bite. I think that Belize has recently made permit, bonefish and tarpon catch and release.

Jason is correct, and gets the Drift cap.

Jon E says:

There is a territorial dispute over Kashmir between Pakistan, India and China. The area might be dangerous because of this.

Jon hits the mark, and the caps are now gone.

Thanks for playing fly fishing trivia.

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