The 2024 F3T Schedule is set and tickets are NOW AVAILABLE to purchase  – click HERE to find a local showing and purchase tickets.

Commencing the 2024 F3T Behind The Lens series, we dedicated a moment to converse with Helmut Zaderer and his team regarding their cinematic creation, “RIO DE GIGANTES.” Hailing from Austria, Zaderer, a filmmaker, guides us through his remarkable expedition into the jungle in pursuit of the elusive peacock bass. Flylords had the privilege of connecting with Helmut to delve deeper into the film, its awe-inspiring moments, and the collaborative process that brought it to life. Explore the comprehensive interview below for insights into the making of this captivating production.

Flylords: Helmut, tell us a little about yourself. 

Helmut: I am an enthusiastic fly fisherman and photographer with a deep love for nature and travel. I consider myself fortunate to have the opportunity to explore the finest fishing destinations around the world.

I vividly recall my first time fishing, guided by my father to a mountain stream when I was 5-6 years old. Everything seemed fascinating and thrilling to me at that time. Since then, I’ve been an angler, and this interest and passion have remained with me throughout my life. I’ve engaged in various forms of fishing, spending a considerable amount of time in the carp fishing scene, achieving notable success. Additionally, I participated in fishing competitions, acquiring valuable techniques. Fifteen years ago, I underwent a significant transformation and ventured into fly fishing. Since that pivotal moment, I exclusively use the fly fishing method.

With my business success, I’ve been able to progressively explore and afford visits to some of the world’s most extraordinary fishing spots. My fascination with documenting my adventures through photography and videography has been a constant companion. In general, I approach everything that captivates and genuinely interests me with dedication and professionalism. My fly fishing journey is meticulously documented, and my website contains a comprehensive account of my experiences.

Those familiar with me are aware that I’ve visited the premier fishing spots globally. Like any angler, I constantly strive to discover new locations. Although the task has become increasingly challenging, certain places are worth revisiting, and I consistently uncover new spots.

This was particularly true of my recent experiences in the jungle over the last three years. Jungle fishing presented a novel challenge, and these locations exuded a unique spirit. The fishing and filming experiences were remarkably interesting and diverse compared to my previous pursuits.

Flylords: How did this film turn into a reality?

Helmut: Peacock bass unquestionably stand out as one of the most intriguing catches on a fly in the Amazon, and Rio Marie is an exceptional location. While I had previously targeted various peacock bass species, landing a trophy fish exceeding 20 pounds was an uncharted territory for me.

The decision-making process for the film’s storyline was a lengthy and thoughtful one. The Marie River emerged as the prime destination for those seeking to reel in a trophy peacock bass, particularly the formidable Cichla Temensis, known to reach weights of up to 30 pounds. With only a week at our disposal, it became crucial to capture both the thrilling action of landing a trophy fish on camera and the breathtaking landscape through striking photographs.

After extensive effort and countless casts, our persistence paid off, and we were fortunate enough to encounter and film some trophy-sized fish, securing valuable footage for the project.

Flylords: What is your inspiration, and the most memorable point from this film?

Helmut: I initiated the documentation of my fly fishing journey twelve years ago, creating a travel report and photo album for each subsequent trip. In recent years, I expanded my endeavors to include filming and hosting trips. A significant development in this venture was forming a friendship with Vaidas Uselis during our experiences in the Seychelles. Vaidas frequently accompanies me on trips, and our shared adventures have given rise to collaborative filmmaking.

Among the many memorable moments, one that stands out vividly is when Vaidas skillfully operated the drone, providing me with the opportunity to spot a genuine trophy fish in the clear and shallow waters. Regrettably, I was the sole angler to hook a small butterfly fish, which I used as bait to entice the true trophy peacock towards the boat. Rodrigo, then, successfully hooked and landed the impressive 20-pound fish. The unique combination of the moment and the captured shots evoked strong emotions. It remains a remarkable and cherished memory that I consider truly special.

Flylords: What is the hype around peacock bass, and what other species of fish would you compare it to?

Helmut: Catching a trophy peacock bass is by no means an easy feat; it entails extensive casting and stripping. While there are locations where you can spot and target the fish visually, each catch demands dedicated effort. This challenging aspect, akin to hunting, is precisely what appeals to me. The bites are forceful, and the initial fight is equally intense. Given the prevalence of underwater structures, the fish instinctively seeks refuge, making it a constant struggle even after hooking a Trophy Peacock. Landing such a magnificent fish is not guaranteed.

The beauty of these fish is truly remarkable, with astonishing colors that can be likened to a grouper or snapper in terms of size and aggression.

Flylords: What was the biggest challenge you faced in producing this film? Was it targeting, slow days, conditions, or getting the shot?

Helmut: Like almost every film project, accumulating a plethora of compelling moments within a week poses a constant challenge. In today’s filmmaking landscape, it’s crucial to incorporate diverse situations and perspectives into a compelling narrative. Simultaneously fishing and filming is a formidable task, but my friend Vaidas is an absolute professional, maintaining unwavering activity on set. Very few situations result in ultimately unusable material due to his dedication. While occasionally assisted by guides, our films are produced without additional personnel or resources; we simply fish and film.

During this particular venture, we encountered a few quiet days and faced challenges in landing a trophy fish. However, the final days proved to be exceptional, and we successfully captured everything essential for a compelling film.

Flylords: What kind of gear did you use for giant peacocks and even butterfly bass?

Helmut: I consistently utilized a 9-weight fly rod paired with a Mako Reel, even when targeting the smaller butterfly bass. Opting for a six or seven weight rod seemed too risky, as it was precisely during those times that the trophy temensis would often strike. Given the substantial size of the streamers we employed, the 9-weight rod proved ideal for the task. The line utilized varied between a floating intermediate and a floating line, depending on whether we were surface fishing with poppers. It is essential to use tropical lines in these conditions.

Flylords: A lot of freshwater fishermen typically find fish in deeper pools, below riffles for trout, what did you learn from where these fish typically hold, and did that change your tactics.

Helmut: We discovered the majority of the fish in the side channels and lagoons adjacent to the river. However, I believe this is because they are more easily located in these areas. Sight fishing was a common practice for us, primarily in the shallow waters of the lagoons or along the edges of the river on the white sand banks. Locating fish in the expansive main river proved to be challenging. Having a guide was advantageous, as their experience allowed them to pinpoint locations with a high likelihood of catching good fish.

Flylords: What message are you hoping viewers take away with?

Helmut: I aspire for our films to be a source of inspiration, showcasing the finest fishing destinations worldwide. We aim to kindle an appreciation for nature and ignite the passion for fly fishing. Our shared love for this incredible hobby has not only connected us with like-minded individuals but also fostered friendships across the globe. There’s a unique bond within the fly fishing community, and I believe that everyone who engages in this pursuit shares a love, appreciation, and commitment to protecting nature. Perhaps our films will motivate some viewers to embark on their own fishing adventures.

Flylords: What type of camera equipment were you using?

Helmut: We consistently prioritize flexibility and agility, employing convenient full-frame cameras for our endeavors. Vaidas frequently utilizes his Sony Fx3, while I rely on the Sony Alpha 1. Naturally, we equip ourselves with the finest Sony lenses and a DJI Mavic 3 Pro Cine, ensuring an ample supply of batteries for our equipment.

Flylords: Do you happen to have any more exciting films in the works?

Helmut: We have two film projects lined up for the next year. In February, we will be fishing and filming in the Seychelles for four weeks, covering Providence, Cosmoledo, and Alphonse. Following that, in September, we plan to travel to Tanzania to produce a film focused on tiger fish.

Flylords: Anything else you’d like to add?

Helmut: I would like to express my gratitude to Untamed Angling, particularly Rodrigo Salles and his guide staff, for the invaluable opportunity and professional support provided during our time on the Marie River. Each member of their team collaborated seamlessly, contributing to the successful capture of high-quality material by Vaidas and me. My hope is that every angler can relish the joy of fishing on the water and amidst nature, spending as much time as possible immersed in this fulfilling pursuit.

We personally want to thank Helmut for his time for the interview. If you are interested in following Helmut, his adventures on the water, and his epic shots, be sure to follow him on Instagram at @flyfish_adventures. Be sure to check out the Fly Fishing Film Tour (F3T) @flyfishingfilmtour. 

Interested in following the F3T Film Tour? The 2024 F3T Schedule is set and tickets are NOW AVAILABLE to purchase  – click HERE to find a local showing and purchase tickets.

Check out the articles below:

2023 Fly Fishing Film Tour (F3T) Now Streaming

2023 Behind the Lens: “After You’ve Gone”


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