Last year I attended my first Fly Fishing Film Tour at the Stargazer Theatre in Colorado Springs. I didn’t know what to expect, really, with a theatre packed full of boisterous, beer drinking fly fishers. Of course there were the films, but I didn’t anticipate this being like a family night at the movies. And it really did turn out to be quite an evening -- an event really.
With the films, what you get is what you probably expect. Beautiful cinematography of locations that look familiar – rivers running through canyons or a small stream meandering through a meadow – or places that look far more exotic than the places you simply decide to drive to on Saturday morning. Wide rivers running through lush rainforests or crystal clear oceans with some crazy-weight rod. Each film brings a new perspective to fly fishing and a whispered “let’s do that someday” to your partner sitting next to you.
And there was hooting and hollering and laughter, too, throughout the evening. Watching a hard strike on a dry fly. Holding your breath as the fisher in the film fights a big fish from the deck of a boat. Laughing at a missed step that messed up an approach to the river. Four-wheelers stuck in the mud. And there were audible gasps of appreciation when the camera caught a thick hatch above the river, or a sunrise over a valley, or the ripple of water from the rise of a fish.
Aside from the beautiful films, though, films that fed the ache to be out there – wherever “there” may be – there was something about sharing this event with others that was pretty cool. I sure wouldn’t want to be on my favorite part of the Arkansas at the same time with the hundreds who packed the Starlight Theatre that night. Or worse -- turn the corner on Chalk Creek and run into this bunch! But this was like sharing the first pitch on Opening Day at Coors Field or, for you more artistic types, the opening of a new exhibit at the Fine Arts Center. Sort of an experience, really.
There was something about being in the crowd with folks who share the same passion. And not just the passion for fly fishing. The passion for conserving our waters. The passion for protecting our rivers, mountains, and fish. Don’t get me wrong -- I love the solitude that comes along with fly fishing. I love sharing a stretch of river with one other person. I’m not particularly a people person, yet there was something about being in that crowd of rowdy movie-going fly fishers that really hit me. (The door prizes and drawings were cool, too. Opportunities to win stuff or to bid on guide trips or float trips never are a bad thing!)
Mostly, though, I like the fact that a great cause benefits from the event: Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing. In PHWFF’s five year history, 2012 turned out to be its most successful year yet. For those who don't know, PHWFF is dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active military service personnel and veterans through fly fishing and fly tying education and outings. The 2012 FlyFishing Film Tour proved to be a successful fundraiser for PHWFF with donations totaling $11,000. What does that money help support: Project Healing Waters conducted over 42 weeks of basic and intermediate fly-tying classes. In the fly rod building classes, one of the participant veterans from the Fort Carson/Colorado Springs area took First Place at Project Healing Water's national rod building contest and was awarded a week of fishing in Alaska. Finally, they conducted a total of ten 1-day trips and 17 multi-day trips for our veterans.
If you want to read more about the event, see our webpage: 2013 Fly Fishing Film Tour. The Tour stops in Colorado Springs on February 1, 2013 at Stargazer Theatre. Doors open at 5:00, films start at 6:30. Swing by the shop and get your tickets!
So…tight lines and see you at the movies.
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