Film Review: Exploring the Brook Trout Nirvana of Labrador in “Big Land”

BIG LAND from Tight Loops on Vimeo.

For many years, The Venturing Angler has searched tirelessly for films and videos that’ll appeal to our followers. These efforts have resulted in thousands of video posts — a sign that the fly angling community has produced significant amounts of content over the years. However, every so often a film comes along that is so special, it deserves more attention, and “Big Land” — the new film from Tight Loops — is such a film.

The videos we post have something to offer, whether it’s a focus on a destination, some great fish footage, an educational history or breakdown of a fish species, or a look at a crew of anglers as they take on an adventure. “Big Land” has all of this and packages it into a beautiful full-length film with brilliant editing and breathtaking footage that allows the viewer to get a sense of what it must be like to experience such an adventure.

In many films, anglers embark on an exploratory adventure to an exciting destination that is home to a fish worthy of the trip. Interestingly, these “adventure” films end up taking the viewer to a lodge that offers luxurious accommodations and full-service guiding. This is not to say there is anything wrong with fly fishing lodges (we love them). But it is perhaps disingenuous to portray a trip as off the grid exploration when the evening ends with cocktails, fine cuisine, and nice linens.

Big Land Film

You won’t find any of these fancy items in “Big Land.” Instead, you get a true two week wilderness adventure that consisted of travel via float plane then canoes, tough camping, and fishing so far off the grid that only one guide was willing to join the team (as is required by law in Labrador).

As the anglers explore the Kanairiktok Headwaters in Eastern Canada, they learn a great deal about the watershed, its history, the natives who treasure this land, and the developmental threats that put its future into question. With important messages about preservation weaving throughout the story, the anglers take the viewer along on their adventure and teach us all about the beauty and value of the region. And as you would hope, the film includes breathtaking footage of the species that is the subject of the film: the brook trout.

Replace nice boats with canoes and lodges with tents, and “Big Land” shows anglers what fly fishing exploration truly is while also properly recognizing the pioneers — from Lee Wulff to First Nations tribes — who took on these waters long ago. In every way, this film is complete and offers viewers a look at a species and region that is unlike any other and deserves recognition. “Big Land” gives Labrador brook trout that recognition and does so with beautiful scenes and masterful editing that shows that the filmmakers are as committed to honoring Labrador as the region deserves.

To watch “Big Land,” please click here.

And to watch a fun prelude to “Big Land,” please click here.