Teaching others to fish has been a rewarding, lifetime devotion for James Marsh. For over two decades he
has made his sole profession producing fishing and other instructional outdoor videos. Although he has
cast, on-camera, in fresh and salt waters around the world, catching almost every species of sport fish that
swims, his most rewarding experiences comes from fly-fishing at home in the United States of America.
As you can see, by watching their video series, during the eight year course of production, James wife
Angie, starting from scratch, became an accomplished angler, proving that it doesn't take a life-time to
learn how to fly fish skillfully and successfully. Assisting in the production of the series greatly shortened
the learning curve for her and their instructional DVD's can do the same for you.
Like many avid anglers, James began fishing at a very early age. Thanks to his father and
grandfathers, James was able to fish several North Alabama ponds, Guntersville Lake, and the
Gulf of Mexico on a regular basis. His fly-fishing experience began at age twelve catching bass and
bluegills at local farm ponds and lakes.
In his early twenties, he became interested in fishing for the large spawning bass in Central
Florida Lakes and the St. Johns River. For eight years he spend at least a month a year doing
such in addition to fishing other lakes and the Gulf of Mexico as often as he could. In 1976, he
started fishing the BASS pro circuit, along with a lot of other regional and local bass tournaments
and did so until 1980. These tournaments took him from his home in Mobile, Alabama to such
places as Arizona, New York, and Florida competing against many of the pros that helped found the
professional bass circuit.
In 1980, James found that he was spending far more time saltwater fishing than bass fishing and
stopped competing in the bass tournament circuit to start one of the first ever syndicated TV series
on saltwater fishing called the "Gulf Coast Angler". After a successful first year and several added
stations, he changed the program name to "Fishing with James Marsh" and expanded the locations
to include the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean. At a that time when there were no cable TV stations (
only three networks and a few independent stations) his syndicated show was able to obtain very
high TV ratings at over twenty-five major markets that represented about half of the nation. For
example, in the Tampa, Florida market, running at prime time, 7:00 P.M. Sunday nights, his
ratings exceeded that of the three other competing programs with the exception of Sixty Minutes.
The ratings of several of his programs in markets airing on weekend schedules exceeded that of
NBA (basketball) programs.
In 1985, he founded a new business called "Fins N Tales". Fins N Tales produced Bass Video Magazine
and Saltwater Video Magazine that provided quarterly videos to its subscribers. His new venture
and its concept, two fishing video magazines, was sold to his partner, Ted Thomas, in 1987.
At that time, about the same time that more households had VCRs than not, James began
producing instructional videos on fishing. At the end of the first year, he sold one-half interest in
his programs to Michael Bennett and licensed Bennett Marine Video, of Marina Del Ray, California
(now the Worlds Largest Distributor of boating, fishing and other marine related videos) as
exclusive distributor. This same joint venture now has forty-six instructional videos and DVD
programs on fishing, over twenty boating programs, and numerous other outdoor related programs
such as instructional GPS videos. Many of these programs are available from companies such as
Cabelas, Bass Pro Shops, REI and West Marine. He currently continues to produce programs for
Bennett Marine Video.
In 1992, James begin fishing the SKA professional "Kingfish" circuit as well as the SAA or
"Saltwater Anglers Association" circuit. He competed in these tournament circuits from North
Carolina to Texas until 1998. During this time he was sponsored by Ranger Boat Company and was
on their promotional staff for their new line of saltwater boats. He tested and help improve the 25
foot model doing such crazy things as crossing the Gulf of Mexico with twin outboards for power.
During the 1980s and 1990s, James wrote numerous magazine articles for several publications
including Marlin Magazine, Sportfishing Magazine and others. He traveled extensively fishing in
several countries. His saltwater fly-fishing experience during those years was primarily limited to
sailfish and other offshore species such as dolphin. Most of the other offshore fishing for marlin,
tuna, wahoo and such was done with conventional tackle. He has taken three sailfish in one day on
the fly off the Mexican coast. Trips to Alaska provided huge rainbow trout, grayling and several different
species of salmon on the fly.
In 1998, James and his wife Angie, started fly-fishing for trout extensively. He purchased every
video, book, magazine and ask every question he could get any angler to answer. Having produced
instructional videos on fishing for many years, James was amazed at the low level of both the
production quality and content of the videos that were available at that time. Most of them were
"watch someone catch a fish" or TV formated programs. The only real attempts at instructional
videos that existed were on casting and fly tying. The casting videos poorly attempted to show
viewers how to make long cast of up to one-hundred feet or cast that completely straightened the
line. None focused on how to make accurate cast of distances appropriate for trout. None
demonstrated how to make (messed up cast) curve, pile, and other such cast that are actually
necessary to get drag free drifts when fly fishing for trout. The program hosts main objective
appeared to be showing the viewers how far they could cast.
The fly tying videos were like the fly fishing programs, mostly, "watch someone tie a fly"
programs. In other words, in James' opinion, most all of the videos available on fly fishing for trout
did not include what should be the most important subjects such as the details on what the
trout eat, fly presentation, etc. It was also obvious that most of the programs were produced by
people that spent more time selling gear in a fly shop, or by guides that spent most of their time
attempting to teach beginners the basics. The tying videos were usually hosted by professional fly
tiers that regularly tied hundreds of rough imitations necessary to compete with the low priced
Keyna market. Most all the fly-fishing videos were, and still are for that matter, hosted by people
more interested in selling something else, such as a service or product, than they are teaching the
viewer how to catch fish on the fly. Most of the anglers James meet caught trout more as a result
of luck than actually knowing what they were doing or anything about what they were trying to
In 1998, James decided to produce his own series of programs that would teach anyone what they
needed to know from start to finish. He would have probably named it "The School of Fly Fishing"
if similar names had not already been used so often by others. In effect, that is what "Fly Fishing
DVD" set out to do - teach anglers, including those that were just beginning or those that had
progressed to a level somewhere in between a beginner and an expert, what they needed to know in
order for them to be able to catch trout as a result of their actually knowing what they were doing
without having to rely on pure luck. That why he used the line, "you can get your Ph.D in fly
fishing right here".
James doesn't except offers from sponsors because he does not want any obligations to anyone and
he does not spend any of the DVD program time that customers are paying for promoting any
particular product or service.
Since 1998, Angie and James have fly-fished in forty-four states (James 49). The couple doesn't
spend their time selling fly gear, guiding or in any other related business connected with fly fishing
- they spend it fly-fishing. They fly-fish, on camera, year round throughout the nation on a regular
basis. As of November 12, 2006, the date this was written, they had already spent over two-hundred
days fly-fishing for trout during the first ten months of the year of 2006. They have caught and
made videos of just about every item of trout food that exist including most all the important
species of mayflies, stoneflies, and caddisflies.
The production of these programs has and still is taking a lot of time, money and considerable
effort. Unlike most fly-fishing videos, their videos are not shot in a day or two at one or two
locations. Each of them is digitally recorded from coast to coast on dozens of different streams. Hundreds
of hours have been spent capturing, studying and shooting closeups of insects and other trout food.
Most of these programs are yet to be released. Several that are almost but not fully completed will
be released in the near future.
Production of fly-fishing videos is their profession, not a part time effort to promote another
related job, product or business. Teaching others to fish has been a lifetime endeavor for James.
|............................Fly Fishing Yellowstone National Park
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