In Search of a Rising Tide is the first saltwater film completely from a native guide's point of view. It takes a viewer along on a behind-the-scenes hunt for big bonefish, known for their speed in equal measure to their wary disposition. Along the way, you'll learn strategies and meet the legends of Andros - the men who cast some of the first flies to bonefish. And you'll see how the island's unique "Bonefish Culture" shaped the guide's hearts and minds for their fishing challenge. This film premiered at the Jackson Hole Film Festival and sold-out its second night!
What began as a fishing film about the pursuit of a world record Bonefish on a fly rod, ended up a documentary for the preservation of a fishing culture and the ecosystem that created it. The film was the result of a long journey, from when he began fly-fishing with his father at age 10 until he stepped on the bone flats of Andros in 1993. Provides a glimpse into the thoughts & tactics of native guides as they step to the bow to outwit big bonefish.
Ever wish the movies would come to the flats? They have now. Hitch a ride on the bow of this short documentary featuring the legends of the flats and their sons, as they go in search of big bonefish on the remote flats off of their native Island of Andros, Bahamas. In Search of a Rising Tide premiered to sold-out audiences at the Jackson Hole Film Festival, and now it comes to DVD to give anglers everywhere a rare front row seat on a once in a lifetime journey.
The Bonefish Culture of Andros Island, Bahamas has not been experienced directly from a native Bahamian’s point of view -- until now. Filmmaker Jamie Howard does this by hitching a ride on a boat bow, setting up impromptu interviews on lobster crates, and driving the roads of the Bahamas’ least explored island. The driving force of the story is the fishing reunion of two of the best guides in the world, Andy Smith and Charlie Neymour. It is a fishing trip for them that had not occurred since childhood. As the duo pole deeper into the flats, the film digs (often in wry Bahamian style) into the native fisherman’s clandestine world. With the saltwater flats as the backdrop, Howard seeks to find the things that shaped their hearts and minds for the challenge of catching the lightning fast Bonefish with a fly rod. He also dicovers how such a skill was passed from one generation to the next (despite the encroachment of an increasingly modern world).
As the journey goes deeper into the flats of Andros we go deeper into the culture of fly fishing for Bonefish. We share a rare glimpse of how native guides pursue big bonefish when they are "off the clock." In this case, it was a pairing of two aficionados, Andy Smith and Charlie Neymour, who had not fished together since childhood. We meet the the deans of the flats - the relatives of Smith and Neymour - who cast the first flies to Bonefish. The camera follows Smith's father,"Crazy" Charlie Smith, through the darkened halls of his Bonefish lodge as he takes us back to the roots of Bonefishing. We see Charlie Smith's "Crazy Charlie" fly, which helped serve as the harbinger of modern saltwater fly fishing. The team's goal of finding a world-class fish is refreshingly interspersed with the all the candid moments and adversity they experience in their pursuit of the "ghosts of the flats." Still, what they ultimately find makes up for the wait. Note: (Note: a 5-pound Bonefish can take nearly all of a fly fisherman's line on its first run. The world record is almost 17 pounds).
In an attempt to bring something new to fishing and outdoor films, Howard assembled a small crew that shared his background in cinema and advertising, but not necessarily in sports. More important was a love of film and stories. Even though he was an avid fly fisherman, it was not a requirement for those working on the project. Howard chose to take a documentary approach, exploring culture and lifestyle rather than depending solely on action footage. He hopes the approach and the eclectic crew helped bring a fresh feeling to the film. "The editor was also prepping for a job with Oliver Stone on Fidel Castro, and had never even heard of Bonefishing. And, Cuba has fantastic Bonefishing!" Howard laughs.
When asked about the challenges of trying to tell a story on land and sea, Howard thinks shooting commercials helped him prepare. He learned to move quickly and use multi-camera set-ups to speed up the day and to increase coverage. He also knew that in live-action this would be even more essential. Still, without a script, much was always going to be out of his hands.
"To cover the action, there were two and three cameras used at one time. Wide-angle lenses allowed the cameramen to shoot the action up close (often in the same boat) and still include the stirring landscape of the open flats. Polarizing filters were used throughout most of the day but never any colored filters. Mother Nature comes up with colors you can't think up, as long as she's in a good mood - and you adjust the gain!" Howard adds. Not that it is always easy to get pretty pictures in paradise. "Believe it or not, yes, it is hard to get perfect shots. The fact is we shot at a 20:1 ratio. That's a fair amount of coverage. But there's still a fair amount of anticipation required. It helped a bit that I bonefish. In the end, you just follow and hope the weather cooperates. And when it does, the cameras still get pelted with salt spray all the time, which can ruin equipment pretty quickly if you're not careful."
According to Howard, In Search of a Rising Tide was a long journey both personally and professionally. It began when Mr. Howard's father first took him fly fishing at age 10 and came full circle when he stepped onto the flats of Andros in 1993. When he first fished the island he realized, "It was one of the only places I'd ever seen that had a true "fly fishing culture", says Howard. He added, "Why I'd never seen the fathers and sons of Andros on fishing shows or documentaries before was a curiosity. When I did, they were usually steering the boat or making a comment off-camera." He added, "And it's the place where the sport started, and the world record was caught…" In Howard's view it was time to let the best of the best step forward and share their culture and passion with the world. His urgency to make the film sprung from not only his desire to shed light on the unsung masters of a sport, but also a concern that man-made pollutants could threaten the world these men inhabit.
Howard hopes that the added exposure of the festival will help him spread the word about the fragile ecosystems, and the expert native guides who fish within them. In turn, "the public stage just may yield a greater public interest in conservancy and protection…After touring other islands on the Bahamas I realized how quickly development can change the islands and the lives of the people on them. It would be a great reward to know that that this film might be reaching the people that might help save such a wondrous place."