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I had seen a short version of the film Aquasoul at the recent Rise film festival in Hobart and was blown away by the quality, style and fishing… so much so that I didn’t really take any mental notes for a review. So I sat down in front of the TV last night to watch the full version.

Despite my best intentions, there I was after 42 minutes on the couch (mostly with my mouth agape) still with nothing. This film is so good I just totally lost myself again in the story, the scenery, the fishing and the characters until I was snapped back to reality when my wife walked in with 5 minutes to go. She sat down and was soon lost somewhere in the Pacific Ocean too.

The story is about two anglers — fly fishing patriarch Peter Morse and knockabout surfer-dude Bretto Wilson — coming together for a common goal, to fish the inside reefs off Far North Queensland and tick off some of the toughest species on their bucket lists, including permit and blue bastards.

The two are perfect counterparts for the film: Peter with a world of experience and passion, Bretto with his unfettered love of life and constant quest to learn. A classic Master and Apprentice.

Side by side they wade the crystal-clear flats of the Claremont Isles and cast flies to a zillion colourful and powerful tropical reef species, openly sharing their joys and frustrations. The story unfurls throughout the film until you feel as though you are there, polaroiding over their shoulders and feeling every surge and run of the many fish they catch.

Film-maker Benny Godfrey (Krank Productions) grew up making surf and skate videos. Film is now his full-time job. His youth and background allow him to bring a fresh perspective to the fly fishing scene. Unique camera angles and diverse music styles are two of the features that I do remember noticing. The fact that the film-making process is so invisible is actually a real strength — nothing feels out of place, or out of character. The whole thing just flows beautifully from the opening shot to the credits.

On top of all this deeply satisfying eye-candy is the fact that you’ll actually learn some stuff about saltwater fly fishing too. It’s not overt, but the lessons are there if you want to hear them. And keep in mind that this all takes place right here in Australia. It’s not like it’s Russia or the Amazon… you could literally drive to Queensland and catch the boat. Lucky country? You bet!

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