For this edition of “Behind the Lens”, we had the chance to sit down with the legendary Hank Patterson and talk with him about his latest film in the Fly Fishing Film Tour.

Flylords: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hank Patterson: Well, what is there to know? World’s greatest fly fishing guide. Incredibly humble. Probably the most humble person you will ever meet. I’m just a person that likes to get outside and take people fishing, and then sort of leave them to their own devices. In other words, I’m not like other guides; I’m not a river butler. I’m not going to get out there and tie your fly on, give you a sandwich and open your beer and carry your shit. You’re going to do all that stuff yourself. If you get out there and you do it wrong, I’ll point it out. Other than that, I’m just going to probably drink a beer and take a nap. Get out there and do it yourself. All right? Then tip me. You know, I remember when my dad taught me how to swim: he took me down to the deep end of the pool and he just threw me in. I started crying and whatnot, and he was like, “You think that’s bad? Wait until they put water in it.” Right? That’s sort of how you teach people: you throw them into the deep end with no water.

Flylords: How many beers were consumed in the making of this film?

Hank: Oh, man. Not as many as in past films, I’ll have to admit. We did the Montana Adventure, and we went through 65 cases of beer. It shows in the cinematography. Now, in this particular film, I don’t think between … I don’t know, there’s probably about 14 or 15 people running around through the Black Hills. I can’t imagine that we put away more than 48 cases of beer, which is an embarrassment. Although, there were a couple of days we had whiskey, and whiskey, for those of you who don’t know, it is condensed beer. It’s like you can put like 15 beers into one little tiny case, and that’s all whiskey is, right? It tastes like garbage, but the nice thing is, you can throw back one swig and it’s like an entire beer. So probably about seven or eight bottles of whiskey and about 48 cases of beer over the four days.

Flylords: Is that more or less than the amount of fish caught?

Hank: Oh, that’s way more than the amount of fish caught. Gauging a good fishing trip should never be based on the number of fish you catch; it should never be based on how big the fish were that you caught. Gauging a good trip is, how many beers did you go through, and how many new friends did you make, and how many times did you urinate in public? You answer those questions, right? If all those numbers are high, “Oh, man. I made like 15 new friends,” bam, you had a hell of a trip. “Oh, man, we drank 48 or 50 cases of beer.” Okay, you definitely had a good trip. Well, half the trip was good, and half the trip was, “Oh, hell. I feel like shit.” Right? Then the whole urinating in public thing, if you’re urinating in public, you’re in a state of mind where you don’t care about anything. Like, “I don’t care, I’m not worried about anything. I’m urinating in public.” It’s my favorite thing camping: peeing outside. That’s my gauge on how to tell if I’ve had a good fishing trip.

Flylords: Tell us a little bit about the Black Hills FlyFishers.

Hank: Oh, God. These people. Look, in all honesty, I had exactly zero interest in going and fishing in the Black Hills. I had probably even less interest in hanging out with anybody that would choose to live in the Black Hills of South Dakota, because if you’re living in the South Hills of Black Dakota, all I thought to myself was, “What are you running from in life? Why are you hiding out?” When I went, I was a little bit, “What the hell? I can’t believe I have to do this.” However, here’s what I can say in all honesty, these are guys and women who care so deeply about the resources that they have at their disposal. Anybody that is conservation-minded, anybody that respects the resources that they are provided to fish in, meaning the rivers and the lakes and the fish, and all those things … you won’t find a group of people with more respect for the resources. You also won’t find a group of people more willing to welcome you into their community, to take you out fishing, to show you their rivers, their streams, their lakes, their homes. They’re just great people. I can’t say enough about what a good time I had, and the fact that I feel like I’ve made lifelong friends.

Flylords: What was your favorite and least favorite thing about South Dakota?

Hank: Whew. Favorite is absolutely people. Truly. They’re just really good, down to earth people that give a shit. There’s a line in the movie: “We give a shit about the resources,” and like I said, people that care are the best people in the world. People that step outside of what is good for them and look at what is good for everybody else. You can’t find better people. Absolutely top of the list, the people.

Probably my least favorite thing about South Dakota is their unwillingness to tell the rest of the world about Mount Rushmore. The fact that they’re keeping that thing a secret and that they won’t advertise it, and they won’t tell anybody about this Mount Rushmore thing, I just feel like they’re being a little bit selfish there.

Flylords: How much of the budget was lost in a bet during the making of this film?

Hank: Well, okay. $1400 was lost in a bet. But far more was gained. While it is true that I may have lost some money in a bet, I more than made up for it in the fact that, in the process of losing the money, I discovered that South Dakota is one hell of a great place to go fly fishing. Holy shit. That was a great quote right there. Hopefully, we’re recording that. That was sweet.

Flylords: What’s next for Hank Patterson?

Hank: Man, I don’t know. I literally don’t know. What a shitty answer that is. Well, you know, hopefully I’ll get to go out and do a lot more fishing in 2019 than I got to do in 2018. Hopefully I’ll have the opportunity to make a few more videos this year, and hopefully in the process of doing that I won’t completely wear out my welcome.

Also, follow along with the film tour @flyfishingfilmtour to see where they will be next!

Find out when F3T is in your town, and buy tickets before they sell out!

This interview was conducted by Fly Lords team member Conner Grimes.


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