Belgium isn’t the biggest country in the world, but is worth a try as a fishing destination, especially for flyfishing.
Luc Beulens put himself up to a crazy challenge : filming the main Belgian salmonid rivers.
Two and a half years of footage were needed, dozens of volunteers who became his friends, stepped into this adventure, and 36 rivers were filmed.
This all lead to a collection of 4 DVD’s, which reveal views of the rivers and their surroundings, flyfishermen in action, and a detailed map of all visited spots and a must have selection of flies for each of them.
I can only say : cheers Luc !
So who is the best suited person to present this masterpiece but the author himself, because we’re really talking about a unique and exceptional piece of work.
To begin I would like you to be my guest
and present yourself…
My name is Luc Beulens. I live in Zoersel, some 15 miles from Antwerp. I’ve been flyfishing for 26 years, but I’ve always been fishing . I remember when I was 7 or 8, fishing the Ardens at Bas Oha when my parents took us there for the weekend at the banks of the river Meuse.
But back then, it was fishing with a spinning rod, or using the ‘toc method’ using worms.
I remember a time when I hooked an eel so big that even my dad wouldn’t grab it … it was so funny. It was a fellow angler who landed it for us.
What does flyfishing mean to you ?
Flyfishing really became a way of living, rather than a hobby.
Every aspect of it is as important, the surroundings, the animals, the calming effect of the river, and of course a good meal and a whisky with some friends after a day’s fishing.
You launched yourself in this amazing project, which main goal is to give the chance to everyone to discover our magnificent Belgian rivers.
Can you explain which reasons convinced you to start such a major project ?
Wow, that’s difficult question… yes, for wihch reasons did I do it ?? I had already made a film about Slovenia and I was amazed about the amount of people interested in it. I’ve had lots of reactions of flyfishermen who told me that my DVD was so complete that it was some kind of guide to the unknown rivers to flyfishing tourists.
As I put all this information, like GPS coordinates of each of the rivers, at some point, one of these fishermen asked me : ‘why don’t you make such a film about your own country ?’
Of course, he was right … It’s true that Belgium is small, but if I tell you that we cover 36 rivers in the film, wouldn’t it seem interesting to you ? We live in a small country with an enourmous amount of rivers, with flyfishing opportunities. There’s a growing number of clubs which manage a river, which changed their mentalities, and became governors and protectors of their river…
To name some,there are the Lesse and Lomme Friendship and the club which manages the Vesdre river. Major parts of their rivers became strictly ‘No kill’, and with succes, considering the number and size of the fish taken.
Can you explain to us what we can expect from your DVD collection ?
On the double DVD, you’ll find 36 rivers which are filmed to show you all practical information about the managing club which runs the river, where to buy a licence, GPS coordinates of the spots we filmed,…
The actors who are fishing are former champions or local specialists who know their river well. After watching the movie, you have all the odds on your side to succeed.
You also see the natural habitat and animals which live in the woods as a bonus. As said before, it isn’t only about fishing, flyfishing becomes a way of living on itself. We also show you views of local attractions like caves f.e.
For those concerned, we also filmed in detail the ‘Meuse Salmon 2000’ project. It is a project which tries all opportunities to allow salmon, which were abundant in the 1950’s, to get back to their spawning grounds, and as we can see now and then, with timid success.
Every year, we see more and more salmon in fish ladders in the Meuse river, where they get isolated and put in their spawning grounds.
The young salmon are then put on the Meuse river tributaries. This ‘Salmon 2000’ project doesn’t only concern salmon but also sea trout and grayling are raised in a responsable manner.
Which river has the greatest potential to you ?
In my opinion,the river with the highest potential must be the Lomme river. It is really well managed and has cold source water all year, and it flows across some spectacular surroundings.
In these two and a half year of footage, you saw lots of rivers, so which one pleased you most and why ?
The one that pleased me most, is without a doubt the Lesse river, which is, like the Lomme river, a stream which remains cold troughout the year and also runs through splendid surroundings.
Could you reveal to us some juicy moments which happened while shooting the film. There must have been some …
For sure … one that sticks with me is a situation where Gerard looked as he lost his balance and was ready to ‘take a bath’.
You must know that since day one, we all were joking on who would be the first to fall in an unvoluntary way in the river.
Well, believe it or not, but in those 2.5 years of filming, not one fisherman fell in the water… They didn’t have the courage to be the one who would be doing so taken on film, and hold that title for the rest of their days !! And at that very moment, when Gerard almost fell in,we thought that we would have the scene for our film.
Now you’ve accomplished this film about the belgian salmonid rivers, what is the main problem to solve, in order to find a sufficient fishing quality, and how to get there ?
The biggest problem to solve in Belgium, is to establish a good management for its streams and more NO KILL sections on them, or even some rivers on a totally NO KILL basis.
But this is going to take some time. Today, there are still too many fishermen who think that they have to earn the money of their license back by taking their fishes home.
There are even individuals who sell their fishes to restaurants ! So, it’s necessary to get more controllers, and give more servere sanctions in case of infraction.
This is not your first project, you’ve made some years ago, a magnificent film on the rivers in Slovenia. What is your motivation for making such achievements.
I really enjoy nature and fishing, and I like to share the most beautiful spots with all of my flyfishing friends. But I have to admit that I’d never thought that they would show such an interest in this kind of DVD. So this gives me the satisfaction to make them. Knowing this, I can assure you that I don’t make these films to earn money. Should I cover my costs, I’d be a very happy guy.
Knowing you, I think this is not the end. Can you tell us if you got other film projects in mind , or in case of an emerging idea, give us some exclusive information ?
Well, you know me … Yes, I’ve already got some ideas for new projects. But nothing really specific for now. One idea is to make a film about ‘casting’, but it would be different from everything you already know.
You can find enough information on DVD about this subject, but nothing really explained in details, f.e. how to make such or such cast, and how to use it, and in what situation, etc.
If I start this project, I’d like to present it like some kind of learning on the job. I’ve already got a Master Caster from FFF who would like to help me realise this.
Let’s talk about your own technique now … What is your favourite way of fishing ?
Well, I guess that it is like for most of the flyfishers, we like to fish the dry fly whenever possible… preferably in most situations. But as you know, you don’t have a lot of these opportunities, and you must learn how to fish with the nymph.
I’ve learned to fish it properly some years ago. In fact, some 8 years ago I went to the Czech Republic and fished with Frantisek, who is a former flyfishing champion.
But even then, I wasn’t ready for it I think, it still took me 3 years before really getting the feel for it… It was with my friend Jannot who went with me and Dennis to Slovenia. He took me next to him a showed me all day how to do it.
Thank you for your time and all the team wish you a lot of success for your future projects.