Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.
(Henry David Thoreau)
F.I.S.H.I.N.G is both a refreshing and exceptional film dedicated to what may well be the most remarkable national sport in the Netherlands: fishing. In this 90 minutes’ documentary, the filmmakers unprejudicedly dive into an unknown world of anglers and fish. Above water and underneath it. Two parallel worlds, carefully separated by the water surface.
In F.I.S.H.I.N.G, the makers ‘catch’ anglers the way anglers catch fish. The main question is this: why do people love to fish? Why do more than one million and a half people in Holland go out angling, usually releasing the fish they have captured back into the waters? Is fishing a hobby, like gardening for instance? Or is it a sport, and if so, what exactly does that mean? Is fishing a passion, perhaps an instinct? A subconscious longing for unpredictable nature? Is it a perfect escape, a great opportunity to spend some time away from home, away from daily responsibilities and obligations?
F.I.S.H.I.N.G is a cinematic quest for the primitive fishing instinct in mankind. The filmmakers have travelled across the Netherlands collecting more than 80 hours of film material: above and underneath the water, at sea and along the waters, in the polder, on and along rivers, low down town, in ditches and puddles and industrial areas. Where there’s water, there’s fish, where there’s fish, there are anglers.
As far as the anglers are concerned, the film represents a most recognisable world. At last the outside world, the non-anglers among us, understands why some people fish. To those who are not in love with fishing the film is a unique, at times rather exceptionally humorous introduction to a perfectly unknown world. A world dominated by the best fishing spots, the bass, one-metre pikes, carps, fishing rods, shads, jerk baits,match fishing lines, fly fishing, the best hooks, belly boats and catfish floats, fish finders, boilies, soft baits, carp mats… and of course, the catch.
Nevertheless, recalling Thoreau’s comment, it remains to be seen whether angling is about the catch or something entirely different …