Travelling for thousands of kilometers to go fishing adhering the philosophy “catch and release”
Why did you choose fishing, Michal? Is there something specific that got you?
It is tricky to explain, the best is to experience it. You are there, surrounded by the beauties of nature, not thinking about anything, just listening to the sound of water, looking at the stars...Sometimes you also feel the instinct of a hunter, even though you won't kill the fish you just caught. You are there with your friends, exploring new places and countries. It is simply like a drug. Once you try it, you can not stop.
Please try to describe what you do feel when fishing.
I enjoy sharing the joy of a catch the most. I can't imagine going fishing alone. When you are in the great outdoors, just standing in the river, silence everywhere…or when you are struggling to catch something all day, and in the moment you want to give up, the fish just got hooked and that triggers a huge adrenaline rush. I have tried many extreme sports, but none of them got me as much as fishing.
The fishing method you use is called fly fishing. What makes it interesting to you?
Fly fishing is considered to be the highest level of fishing. It is a challenging but at the same time probably the most beautiful way. You make insects-like baits from different materials. Also the fly casting technique has something to it. It's not easy, and it takes time to learn it.
You adhere to the philosophy of “catch and release”. Don't you regret once you release the fish after hours and hours of fishing?
Not at all. During my “fishing career” I killed maybe five fishes. For example, when we were on an expedition in Mongolia and we didn't have enough food. But when I'm not out of civilization, where I can get food easily, I never kill a fish. Unless someone kills a fish in an irresponsible and wasteful manner, I have no problem if someone eats the fish they caught.
Your first filming took place in Mongolia. How do you choose destinations?
The goal is always to have a great time fishing, ideally in a place that is not affected by mass tourism but rather wilderness. We are looking for places where we can truly experience authentic local culture. It doesn't have to be just a fishing tradition. In our documentaries, we try to bring people closer to what we see and experience.
How did you come to filming fishing expeditions?
I made the first film “Taimen'' from our trip to Mongolia in 2016. It was my uncle's idea. He had been in Mongolia before and said it was an amazing country and we have to go there at least once in a lifetime. He also knew a filmmaker Rasťo Hatiar, who makes great outdoor movies. The idea caught his attention and off we went.We made a movie that got good reviews, and some sponsors started to call us. Thanks to them we can cover some costs of filming. And since then I got into filming fishing expeditions.
How much time does it take to plan and execute a single expedition?
It takes about half a year, then the expedition itself lasts usually from 2 weeks to one month. Then you return from the trip, make the movie and promote it, and meanwhile you start thinking of the next expedition. All in all, it takes a year.
Is showing the specific fish species your aim when shooting?
Of course. Fish is a great attraction. We choose what fish to shoot according to the fishing style or because it is difficult to catch them. It's a kind of collection. The harder the fishing gets, the better the experience. For example, now we are planning an expedition to the Amazon forest in Bolivia to shoot the golden dorado (Salminus brasiliensis). It lives in one tributary of the Amazon river in the Andes. A beautiful aggressive fish.
I am also attracted by the rainforest itself, but I have a lot of respect. We went to remote places before as well, but there were no poisonous snakes, diseases, piranhas and other threats. We must be very careful on this expedition to Bolivia. But it will be a brand new experience we can never experience anywhere else.
What is specific to filming fishing?
Sometimes nothing happens for hours, you have to find something else to do in the meantime. But you still have to be ready when the fish comes.
What would you bring home from the countries you have visited so far?
I would bring culture from Mongolia. People there live the “old school'' way of life - breeding animals, drinking water from rivers, maintaining traditions. Then I would bring the Swedish mentality that really respects nature. There is almost no chance of finding any garbage on the trails.
What did you bring from all your travels around the world besides the great catches?
I definitely gained a new perspective as well as an open mind that allows me to see things happening at home differently. My values have changed a lot. When I see how one can live in a symbiosis with nature, then I try to apply this to my life at home - not to waste resources, enjoy all the little things and to live a simple life. I appreciate travel experiences much more than any material stuff.