We are excited to release the next “Behind the Lens” interview presented by The Fly Fishing Film Tour. In this interview, we sit down with Jako Lucas from Capt Jack Productions to talk about his new film “The African Tiger” presented by Yeti.
The African Tiger takes the Capt Jack Production team deep into Africa with the Tourette Fishing crew. They show how far these locations are removed from the real world and how the guys managed to pioneer such an amazing fishery. Surrounded by wild animals, Elephants, Lions, Crocodiles, and Leopards… they search for ‘The African Tiger’. Armed to the teeth, and a ferocious alpha predator in all the rivers they are found, it is no easy task to get one to hand.
Flylords: Tell us a little bit about what made you want to film in Tanzania and when did you get the idea for doing this film?
Jako: I think a lot of the ideas I get now are normally places that I really want to get out to fish and the ones I think are badass. So, Tanzania has always been up there. Funny enough, before this project, I had never been there. I’ve guided on the Zambezi River for tigers and fished for them in other places, but Tanzania was always on the bucket list because it holds the second largest species of tigerfish that you can target on a fly. I’ve been friends with the guy from Tourette fishing for a longtime too and it has killed me that I have never been there to fish with him.
As for the second reason, after Tourette started operations there, I had the opportunity to go guide. It was sweet to finally get it all together and go see a wild place that is still greatly preserved.I think you’ll probably see that with the next movie people go, “Oh, we’re just showing a movie that we’ll never be able to go to or see.” That’s not the idea at all… The idea is to take people to a place and create a dream for them to go.
I don’t come from money. My family is very poor, but they brought me up well. Everything that I’ve done, I grinded for and that means anybody can go on these trips. I’m trying to create this dream for those not physically able to go, then at least they get to see it. That’s the idea behind going to all the wild places.
Flylords: Did you have any dicey experiences while you were there or anything that you were afraid of?
Jako: This is a dangerous area… I mean, you’ve got hippos around, and you’ve got a lot of crocs, and the rest of the big five: buffaloes, leopards, and lions. Everything there could potentially kill you. I mean, it’s all kind of calculated risks, though you can’t really calculate nature. So, anything could happen at any point.
There have been two occasions where the guides have been t-boned by hippos. They were luckily in both situations only pushed for 100 meters and soon let go. If those guys had fallen off their boat? They would have been definitely dead, cause once the hippo gets whatever is bothering it in the water, it’s gonna try and bite it in half. The crew out there is very professional though, with a lot of them being professional hunters. They know the area well and try to minimize risk as much as possible.
I think that the craziest thing that we came across was when we were coming down the river, we saw two guys on the river bank fishing with hand lines. Farther down the river, there were two rangers in their boats. They started the boats, going up, quickly, and just went straight towards the fishermen, pulled the boats up, and absolutely ass-whooped both guys.
Those two guys were poaching… They caught a catfish and killed it. The rules are so strict there with regards to poaching. The dudes got beaten senselessly for a few hours and then they got a five-year jail sentence for catching that one catfish.
And that’s just fishing. When it comes to animals, there’s even less tolerance. So that was kind of like a wow situation in how these places get looked after. It’s sad though, because you don’t know why those fishermen were doing it, if he’s providing for his family or if he has no other choice. But if they don’t set the ground rules, there would be nothing left. So, yeah, it’s wild.
Flylords: What makes the tiger fish such a unique species to target on the fly?
Jako: Honestly, it is definitely in my top five. The original idea for the movie was to go tiger fish versus golden dorado but honestly, they’re both amazing fish. It’s just for me being from South Africa, that it’s a little bit more of a personal thing.
And everything about the fish is unique… Just look at it, it looks badass. It’s like I said to people that fish for GT, “there’s nothing that can prepare you for that hit on a tiger fish.” If you’re either scaling a fly across the surface or fishing a sinking line, the hit and the amount of speed is incomparable to anything else.
And then they’ve got those teeth, so they can chew through and just destroy everything else. Their fight isn’t as bulldogged down and deep because they use up a lot of energy jumping. So, I wouldn’t say that they’re just gonna rip 200 yards of backing from you, but they can keep you busy.
Plus, they always have the tendency of coming off because the mouth, the whole face, is built like a tank. You have to drill that fish hard, and give it as much as he gives you. I promise you, on a daily basis, we were taping up our fingers from line burns… I think the tiger fish is the epitome of African fish. If you think about Africa, you see a tiger fish.
Flylords: Tell us a little bit about the fishing gear, and also some of the camera gear that you used to shoot the video.
Jako: We used 9 to 10wt rods and then obviously matching saltwater reels because you need a good drag on the fish. Then we used a very strong cord floating line and also a three-foot sinking line that you fish with deeper water. Funny enough, they found a way to fish for Tigers with floating flies more, which is something that’s very rare. And that’s kind of the significance of the end in the film is how the fish were eating dry flies. Last was just a straight shot 40-pound maxima or the guides own brand of nautical wire.
For flies, the holly shake, GT flies, or anything massive is good. It’s something you need to be ready to go to war with and your tackle needs to be absolutely perfect.For camera gear, we had one red Epic worth that we shot some of the stuff with. I didn’t edit it in the full gate mod though. We then used a Sony SS5 for some of the slow-mo stuff and just matching lenses, 200 mole lenses. To me, honestly, again, at the end of the day, storyline is super important. And I could keep going on about all that kind of stuff, but at the end of the day, the people still wanted to see fish and I think there’s nothing better than seeing something, eat something closer.Flylords: What were the hardest parts of bringing this film together?
Jako: You’re traveling far on a plane and there’s always a chance that weight is an issue. So, you have to calculate what you can take with regards to camera gear. Red is obviously super heavy, and especially if you take like 15 bricks worth, you make sure you’ve got enough battery life. It’s all just making sure you’ve got the right tackle and the right camera gear.
You know, fishing movies to me are still one of the most variable dependent things you could ever film because it’s not only nature that’s playing… You’ve got to get a fish to do what you want it to do.
Flylords: If somebody wants to take this trip, what would they have to do?Jako: Tourette Fishing are the best people to definitely do this with, and they’ve been doing all sorts of African trips for any age. I would honestly say, any form of the trip that you would want to do in Africa, if they can’t do it, they will know the right people to do the trip with. The whole area is run by Kilombero Safari and Tourette, and they’ve done an amazing job of being able to actually get people out fishing there and looking after the fishing area.Flylords: How was it fishing with Rebecca out there? I think that was pretty cool that you guys got a female angler involved in the trip.
Jako: Look… she’s bad ass. She caught some massive fish and didn’t hold back. I mean she was there with a bunch of the generous South Africans and crazy people and held her own. I mean, the thing that stands out about her is her passion for the outdoors and fishing. She’s willing to take a beating to get all this stuff done. Big shout out to Jako for the interview and the photos! Make sure to check him out on Instagram @captjackproductions
Also, follow along with the film tour @flyfishingfilmtour to see where they will be next!