Jako Lucas is probably best known for taking on new destinations in distant lands and introducing anglers to exotic and exciting fly fishing destinations and species. Last year, Jako, Josh Hutchins, Keith Rose-Innes, Christiaan Pretorius, and Jimmy Laverty ventured to Australia for what ultimately became the trip of a lifetime and the focus of a new film, “Glorious Bastards.” Jako recently sat down to discuss the trip in an interview with The Venturing Angler:
All of the people on this trip are accomplished travelers, guides, and creatives who keep pretty busy. First things first, how in the world did this trip come together?
Well I suppose the idea of the trip happened a long time ago but only became a reality just a few months before we left. I met Josh Hutchins (Aussie Fly Fisher) a long time ago in Mongolia. Unfortunately he did not fish at my camp, so it was just a quick meet and greet, but since that day we stayed in touch. Two years later Josh came back to Mongolia with a group, this time at my camp, the Upper Egg. The first day we got out on the boat he told me about a trip he did to the Wessel Islands a few months before he came to Mongolia. They had some amazing fishing and did not even go all the way up to the North of the Wessels. So Josh had an idea that he wanted to get a couple anglers together that were not afraid to do some exploring. I have always wanted to get out to Australia; of course I immediately said that I am in without even looking at my schedule. We knew that is was going to be hard to get all the anglers together at the same time, especially considering we’re all from different parts of the globe. But with the excitement of a new adventure with great people, we kept taking about it and kept the momentum going. Josh had caught a 53-inch taimen with me — that got us even more stoked to fish together again. Josh sent out emails to myself, Christiaan Pretorius, Keith Rose Innes, Oliver White, and a few others. Long story short, I canceled my salmon fishing trip, Keith canceled his Siberia trip, Christiaan got some time off from managing Abaco Lodge in the Bahamas, and we were on! Unfortunately, Oliver had a hosted trip to Kamchatka and just could not get out. Jimmy Laverty from Fly Odyssey and Josh Tredinnick also joined us on camera. We all met up at ICAST 2018 in Orlando and then did the long trip down under, with some of us traveling 72 hours to get there. Josh had arranged the whole trip with Waterline Charters beforehand, and after getting permission from Terry Yumbulul and the traditional landowners, we were on our way to the most Northern parts of the Wessel Islands.
Where was the film largely based, and why did you set your sights there?
Like I said before, Australia has been number one on my bucket list for a long time now, so I wanted to get out there badly. When we got the opportunity to go to fish unchartered water in the Northern Territories of Australia, it was a no brainer. Our sights were set on fishing the Wessel Islands. With the success Josh had on his last trip further south we were pretty confident that it would be pretty damn good. In true Capt Jack Productions style, I wanted to introduce the fly fishing world to not only the amazing fishing Australia has to offer, but a few more unknown species of fish. Not only were there two different species of permit to target — the blocchi (Indo-Pacific permit) and the anak — but we also had a main target: the infamous blue bastard. Long-rumored to exist by Australian fishermen, the blue bastard was formally identified as a new species in 2015. Queensland Museum ichthyologist Jeff Johnson named the fish Plectorhinchus caeruleonothus — the Latin translation of blue bastard. Native to the Northern Australian waters, this is a truly Aussie fish. They also live up to their name and drive anglers insane because of their tenacity.
In the trailer, the fishing and destination is described as “next level.” How so?
Firstly, the fact that we were going to fish a place that potentially only a hand full of people had seen was unbelievable in itself. You know it is always a gamble, and very few people have seen all the trips that we have gone on just to look at new water that ends up being a bust. But we had a little arrogant confidence about us that it was going to be pretty epic. We know that in a place like this, if we can find fish, they are going to be pretty happy to eat, and man did it live up to everything we thought and even more. I have never seen permit this happy to eat. We also know that blue bastards are super tough to catch, but there we were spoiled. And then of course there was the wildlife, crocs, sharks, birds, fish and one incredible moment with the a sawfish.
Were there some dangers that were on your radar?
Yip … How about these?! …
Box jelly fish
Eastern brown snake
Funnel web spider
Blue ringed octopus
Funnel web spider
Red bellied blake snake
Great white shark
Yellow bellied sea snake
Red back spider
But most of all the Saltwater crocs — they hunt humans!
The fish you targeted are fish that most people haven’t heard of. What fish did you target, and what makes them so special?
Our main target was blue bastards, anak and blochii permit, and tusk fish. We managed to get all of them except for the tuskie (damn, so have to go back). We also managed to land queenfish, golden trevally, brassy trevally, GT, wrasse, coral trout, barramundi, snapper …
The reason for mainly targeting the blue bastard and permit is that they are so iconic and hard to catch. We had good anglers determined to make it happen. Blue bastards are as Australian as it gets, and the permit is the Holy Grail of fly fishing. And the fact that we could also target two different species of permit takes it to the next level. We also had a few discussions about a potential hybrid anak/blochii out there. But that is all just speculation.
Where there any surprises that came your way?
I think with all these trips there are so many things that happen behind these scenes that no one gets to see, like cameras drowning and malfunctions, drones flying away into the horizon, jetlag, weather … Christiaan was sick as a dog and powered though it like a champ. But we deal with all of that and just have to solve the problem as we go. I think the biggest surprise was the encounter with the sawfish. I was busy landing an anak permit for one of the anglers, and Christiaan had a drone up in the air. Just after landing the permit, I noticed some huge fins out of the water in the shallows. Having spent a big part of my life fishing for sharks, I thought it was a sawfish. Lee Younan Wise confirmed it as they saw one the trip before. Man the chances of seeing two on the flats is like winning the lotto twice. We immediately headed over and Chris had the drone up. I picked up his tail and it swam off gracefully. One of the best moments of my life.
What do you hope viewers will learn, experience, or take with them from the film?
So in the past Capt Jack Productions has received some criticism for promoting trips that are out of everyone’s budget. The main purpose of all my films including Glorious Bastards is to grow our sport and get future generations interested in it. Second, I love to create a dream for anglers to want to make a reality one day. And third, if there are people that are not able to go out there one day, at least they get to see it on the big screen and experience a bit of what the destination has to offer. It all comes from a good place, and I just want people to enjoy the films. Honestly if I have been able to do all of this, then anyone can. Just hard work, love what you do, and remember nothing comes easy.
So 2019 is going to be another crazy year. I have some really exciting ventures that will go public this year. I will also start guiding on the Texas Coast when I am not traveling, so very excited about just getting back to my guiding roots that I love so much. I have some crazy trips planned, but can say too much about it yet. Filming wise, I am playing around with a few ideas — just have to see what is possible and what is not. As you know it is getting much harder to introduce something new these days, but I am always working at it.
To check out more from Jako Lucas and Capt. Jack Productions, please click here.