We are fortunate today to have access to perhaps hundreds of fly fishing shows via the internet. Awesome new films are coming out every week. There are many young and talented filmmakers out there taking advantage of amazing improvements in camera technology. I’ve been fortunate to befriend a couple of these young guys, and one thing they have all marveled at to me is how the modern camera and editing technology has made it possible to create Hollywood quality films at a budget attainable to those not fortunate enough to have access to Hollywood quality budgets. But that wasn’t always the case. During my formative years, when I was really getting into fly fishing, you had to turn on cable TV to catch one of a handful of fishing shows. As a fan of fly and light tackle angling, the show that really got me fired up the most was the Walker’s Cay Chronicles.
Each episode started out with the intro… “Come with me on a trip into angling adventure. We’ll ride the ragged edge where the fish are big, and wild.” I mean, how awesome is that? It’s what we all dream about! Certainly it was the destinations and the exotic (to me) species that they pursued that made those episodes so worth tuning into on Saturday mornings, but that show also had something intangible and hard to explain that made it so great.
The Walker’s Cay Chronicles had more soul than any other fishing show I’ve ever watched. Host, Flip Pallot, for one, always seems to have had an approach to angling that I appreciated. He was always noticing the little things, like birds to lizards, and made sure to point them out when they were able to capture that on film. The narration went back and forth between poetic reverie and candid conversation, with plenty of teaching and learning in between. Each episode also featured an incredible camaraderie between Flip and one of his angling friends. Those friends were always interesting people, ranging from legends like Dave Whitlock, and Lefty Kreh, to up-and-coming angling personalities of the era like Jose Wejebe (who’s show the Spanish Fly rivaled Flip’s as my favorite), and even Flip’s wife Diane. They never worried about catching a bunch of fish, and they never made a big deal about it or gloated about it when they did. Always appreciative of the experience, whatever it was, Flip helped sculpt my own angling approach and ethic from behind the TV screen.
What always surprises me is that there are a lot of anglers that grew up with fishing just a few years after me that either don’t know who Flip is, or have never seen an episode of the Walker’s Cay Chronicles! But, thanks to the internet, and Hell’s Bay Boatworks, all of those episodes can be found online, for free. It’s a treasure. I watched a couple of episodes while I wrote this yesterday. So, for those who haven’t seen this great show, or for those who want to re-watch a few classics for fun, here is the link.
Watch a few episodes, and if you get hooked like me, you might find yourself wanting to know more about the history of this great show. The place to find that is in an awesome interview with Flip Pallot himself that was part of the Itinerant Angler podcast series. Aptly named “Premium-Grade Television”, you can find that episode right here.
With that, I will leave you to explore as you like. I hope that there will soon be a few more folks out there who have enjoyed the Walker’s Cay Chronicles.
Take Care and Fish On,