Lights, camera, fish! The best and worst of fishing for YouTube

In so many ways, producing a fishing film is a conjuring trick. It’s the art of making something tricky and time-consuming look quick and easy! As a writer by trade, film has never been my main weapon, but it’s something I’ve enjoyed – and endured- more in recent years. My latest mission after pike on the Somerset Levels is now live to my great relief as much as joy!

These days, of course, with YouTube and social media running the show, film is less of a closed shop. However, my introduction to the format was with the much-missed Sky Sports show, Tight Lines. I did four or five episodes, but my favourite of all was showing affordable fly fishing for coarse fish by hitting Taunton town centre. I quite literally demonstrated the sport of kings outside the pound shop!

Chub fly fishing videos YouTube

Working with National Geographic was the biggest project I’ve ever been involved with, however, with the travel show and angling contest “King Fishers”- episode 8, to be specific, which went between Norway, The Gambia and here in SW England. I’m still friends with my fellow contestants from the show, Geir and Tony, ten years on.

King fishers TV series Nat Geo

It was ridiculously good fun but also a window on how much effort and production are involved in quality telly. In our case, nearly three weeks of travel for 45 minutes or so of finished product! This, however, is a microcosm of angling for the big or small screen. Loads of graft for a little bit of polished content.

Chub, trout, pike fishing and other YouTube videos

Fast forward to the present and YouTube is now the main target for anglers’ eyes. This is both good and bad. I’m an occasional viewer, to be fair, but you find everything from amateurish blowhards and terrible fish care, right through to some really slick and entertaining content. That’s the internet for you… all of humanity in any given interest group spills out. You can’t always fathom how it got there or why some of it is so popular or so undervalued!

I have to admit, I’ve never been the guy to take a GoPro and produce stuff every time I fish. I’ve got one, but I confess I rarely liked the results. Everything looked stretched and amateurish. I also disliked the stress and extra work it added to my fishing.

Best fly fishing videos YouTube
Out with John Deprieelle. Not just a great filmmaker, but a provider of tea, moral support and the sort of jokes you wouldn’t tell your mum.

A much better way to proceed was with a more capable pal, John Deprielle, making films with Turrall Flies. I can’t emphasise enough how much better the results look and how much more fun the process is.

Our mission this winter has been to capture some pike on fly action for YouTube. And just as importantly, show vital kit- such as extra strong leaders and fly lines, along with nets, mats and the rest, along with handling. Anyway, long story short we succeeded- but our seven minutes of mud and glory barely tell the tale of a dawn-to-dusk effort, switching flies and venues to find the action.

I hope you enjoy the fruits of our graft, anyway! It was a test of character, I’ll say that much. Conditions didn’t help- but in many ways, that makes for a more useful look at winter fishing than just a highlights reel of fish. We had to cover a lot of bank and also use sinking lines to find the pike on this occasion. See what you think- and if you do enjoy it, do give me a follow and  a comment!

Other fly fishing videos on YouTube

Of the other films you can find online, you’ll find quite an assortment I’ve done sporadically over the years. I like to think I’ve steadily got better at them. It’s a real art, although I’ve never invested the sheer effort to crowbar myself away from my main work as a writer.

As much as anything else, you never get a whole day’s fishing! For every hour of casting, there will often be a similar amount of set-up and faff, as often as not at those very spells, like dawn, when you want to be casting. But when you do get it right, it can be very satisfying. Of all the YouTube angling films I’ve done, however, these are probably the best.


Fishing at Todber Manor on Paddock Lake, we had an amazing session! And yet it nearly didn’t happen. Dylan at Turrall said “go for it!” even though I’d almost dissuaded him. Partly because the last time we’d tried it, I had just one lost fish in 48 hours.

This time was so different. Ollie Cullingford and friends landed a hatful of crackers- while I landed a 40lb+ fish! I still have to pinch myself that my biggest freshwater fish came on the fly- and live on camera. The finished film is packed with cameraman John Deprieelle’s style and humour, too. Could this be the ultimate UK fly fishing experience? It’s not exactly traditional, but so viscerally exciting!


I don’t care what anyone says, chub can be just as much fun as trout in the summer. On a film shoot, though, you only get one day at it so I thank my lucky stars we got lovely sunny conditions on this adventure.

The chub were on the fin and looking up for their food and I’d have had to fish pretty badly not to catch! They just love big dries too- and give the most lovely, juicy takes. Perfect YouTube fodder- especially the slow-motion footage of one gulping down a big wasp imitation.


Ask most people about their favourite fly fishing and the likely answer is a famous place like the River Test, the rivers of Wales or a classic chalk stream. However, being a West Country lad, I just love the River Lyn up on Exmoor. Full of boulders, rapids and intrigue, this is a roving angler’s dream. And the fishing didn’t disappoint on this occasion, with scenery to match the wonderfully wild brown trout.


Hollywood won’t be contacting me anytime soon, but it’s definitely been a fun ride so far and a medium I’ll explore more. If you want to catch my latest- do subscribe to my channel! And in the meantime, if old-school print media is more your cup of tea, you can always find my writing on all things fishing in the Angling Times each week.


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