A field report from T&T Pro Drew Miller
It would seem that in all of us is a desire to explore the world. Fly fishing has provided a driving force within me to travel and explore new waters.
As a professional angler, I’m always trying to push the limits of my abilities. I prefer to challenge my skill in front of a camera in far-flung settings in which the element of the foreign adds new and changing dimensions to catching fish. When Jako Lucas asked me to join him and T&T owner Neville Orsmond for an expedition to Gabon to film Atlanticus, I, of course, jumped on board.
When shooting a film, there’s always a timeline for when things need to happen or the shoot may be a bust. Traveling to a destination has so many unknown factors like weather, water conditions, tides and moon phases that can play havoc with the outcome. You must be willing to make an adjustment to your game plan if necessary!
The filming of Atlanticus was no different, though Gabon was a pretty good set up, in theory. We were going to fish on the beach at night, into the strong surf, for giant tarpon. A lot of things needed to come together for this to be a successful shoot. Equipment is a priority and everything not only has a purpose but must perform at the highest level.
The tarpon is a super strong, acrobatic, hard-mouthed fish that can live in the most diverse environments. Tarpon fishing always presents specific obstacles. Whether you’re fishing the Florida flats or the muddy rivers of Costa Rica, this fish will put the best gear to the test. You just can’t take shortcuts!
I’ve been doing this long enough to know what it takes to handle the kind of abuse Africa can place on you and your equipment and there was no question the T&T Exocett was going to meet my needs while casting into a dark abyss of churning sea. I needed a rod that was light in hand to make cast after cast, for hours at a time. I also need a rod that I could count on at the most critical time during the fight. The 12 wt Exocett did not disappoint. Casting into the surf was also made easier with the new two-handed Exocett Surf. This is a game-changer rod if you fish surf!
We battled the largest incoming tides that would typically bring these monster fish close to shore, whereupon they would smash bait. It should have been just a matter of time before these fish would come rolling into the river mouth and be within the range of our flies.
It is truly a strange feeling to be standing waist-deep in the surf in the pitch black with small creatures swimming and crawling over your feet while casting a fly rod. It is the pursuit that pushes you and gives you superpowers to overcome any fear.
The full story of Atlanticus will be revealed on the big screen at the 2018 Fly Fishing Film Tour (F3T).