They Saw, They Acted, they produced... now learning to tie into a high-mountain brook, or a river-running brown, or a brush hugging bass is as easy as sitting in an easy chair with a bowl of popcorn, a soft drink, and the TV turned to the video channel.
Mel Hardman, ficherman/film maker, and Gean Snow, Utah's wizard of the underwater world, have put camera and experience together and added the latest volume to the ever-growing library of instructional videos.From Outdoor World comes Gean Snow's "Fishing Tips," a two-hour collection of how-tos about fishing, directed at the novice but with enough substance to offer something to the more experienced fisherman.
What this is not is a let's-go-fishing movie where guest pass along fishing tips and old fishing stories between catches, and where proof of their tips is told in how many fish can be filmed, cut, splices and brought boat-side between commercials.
Instead, it is and everything-you-wanted-to-know-about-fishing film that starts with tying on a simple hook, to making the choice between take and release once the hook has been set.
There are no panning shots of high-mountain lakes set in pine-covered bowls, or jumping browns, or excited fishermen fighting to keep composure and a bent fishing rod in hand in a rocking boat. It's supposed to teach, not entertain.
Snow, an owner of Angler's Inn, and Hardman, a native Utahn and producer of such otable films as "Grizzly Adams," and 23 segments of the "Wild Kingdom," came up with the idea for the film while coming back from a Vernal casting clinic and talking about the mistakes people make when fishing.
Hardman suggested a video that he would film and produce, and that Snow would write and share the starring role with only rods, reels, baits and lures. That was two years ago.
Hardman said the two realized, after the clinic, there were a lot of people who did not know the first thing about fishing. Knots, drag, casting and rigging were as lost to many as the fish they didn't catch.
So Snow wrote some 55 tips, about 20 more that Hardman could squeeze into a two-hour show. Hardman filmed them, and after long hours in the cutting room, "Fishing Tips" ($24.94 at Anglers Inn) was ready for review last month.
The video starts at the very beginning - knots. The clinch knot, the very foundation of good line-hook union, the blood knot, surgeon's knot, Polomar knot, Homer Rhodes knot, Albright knot, and even the elegant Bimini Twist are shown.
Snow said he started with the knots - 10 - because it's the most important link between the fish and the fisherman. Anglers, he said, spend thousands to get to the fish - boat, tackle, waders, license - only to lose in the end because of a bad knot.
If you didn't know it, the wrong knot, he said, or even an improperly tied correct knot, can reduce the normal strength of line by 50 percent.
Probably the most valuable part of the two-hour show, if there is one, covers casting - spin casting, lures and bait, fly casting, and special casts.
Presentation is, after all, nine-tenths of fishing, or something like that.
Learning this is, as one viewer wrote to say, "worth the price of the video alone."
Also covered are such topics as rod care, bait rigging, sharpening hooks, and cleaning and filleting your catches. It ends with a plea to preserve the resource by catching and releasing.
What makes this video, though, is its realism. The production is good, and so, too, are the demonstraton. Best of all, though, is the on-camera performance by Snow. The realness and Gean Snow.
He is on camera as he would be if he were holding a class in his back office. It's believalbe. He has a message, and he gives it. No smiles on cue, or reading from a script. He knows his subject and simply passes it on - like he would if you stopped and asked him on the street.
Hardman said that even though "Fishing Tips" hasn't been out long, the response has been good. So good, in fact, that three more "Tips" videos are on the cutting table - "Bass and Warmwater," "Trout and Coldwater," for the more advanced fishermen, and "Saltwater Fishing."
All, of course, with the same purpose - to put fishermen and fish closer together.