Mar 6, 2013 / 6:00 am
From one of the world's largest red light districts to secluded jungles, Thailand gave local film maker Travis Lowe the opportunity to tell a story that is unlike any the fly fishing world has seen before.
"I want to tell a story when I make a film and I think by telling the story it should effect change, and that is what I want to do with my films," says the CHBC camera man.
'Thai One On' isn't your typical, fish porn, as it's referred to in the industry, where a group of anglers fly fish with rock music filling the back ground.
This story is unique.
"You have this insane city, Bangkok, 13 million people jammed into this city and the juxtaposition is the next day being out in the middle of the jungle with no power, no running water third world conditions," explains Lowe.
And it is there in the jungles of Chiang Mai that Lowe discovers the golden Mahseer, the aquatic tiger of the Asian subcontinent.
"The two factors that make golden Mahseer, and Mahseer in general highly prized is the fact they are really spooky and really hard to catch, so therefore it's a phenomenal challenge to anglers, but they fight."
Yet as part of the carp family the Mahseer is known as a lonely bottom feeder, a prospective that changed for Lowe once he held the fish in his hands.
"I saw how beautiful the scales are and the colouration. It reminded me of these beautiful golden temples they have throughout Thailand."
The Mahseer is also an endangered species, which used to swim all over South East Asia, but most recently it has only been spotted in the Salween basin.
"It is endangered for a number of reasons, over harvesting, dams, loss of habitat and these are reasons fish are endangered all over the world."
The Montana Fly company, featured in the film, help to save the Mahseer by assisting in a conservation project which would allow angler tourism and promote aquaculture.
"They had to teach these Karen villagers what catch and release was, and show them they weren't going to harm the fish. But that they could bring money in by bringing foreign anglers in and sharing the money with the nine different villages along the river."
But the problems Lowe encountered along the river of Mae Ngao are common universal themes that can be applied to almost any water system in the world, including right here in the Okanagan.
Three years ago Lowe founded Trout Unlimited, a conservation group aimed at restoring the Kettle River.
"The Kettle River has been one of the most endangered rivers in British Columbia and there are several problems on it and we are just trying to focus our efforts on that. "
So far Trout Unlimited has raised over $30,000 for their cause, but it's Lowe's passion of film making that will help to bring more money and awareness to the group's conservation efforts.
The film 'Thai One On' was chosen to premier at the 2013 Costa Fly Fishing Film Festival (F3T), where it will be played all over North America for more than 50,000 people.
As a film maker whose film is featured in the F3T Lowe was given a license to host the festival in his hometown in order to help recoup some of the money it costs to make the film.
"I am donating that money back to Trout Unlimited. It’s my way of continuing to give back to the resource that I love and use."
The film is set to premier along with several others at the Black Box Theatre on March 16, doors open at 6 p.m. and tickets are being sold at Trout Waters Fly and Tackle.
Lowe says 'Thai One On' will capture the hearts of those both in and outside the fly fishing industry.
"This film is far from boring, I think of the film as a travel adventure film that I think most people will want to sit for 30 minutes and watch."
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