Caught by the River

To Cane A Trout, 1974

9th February 2017

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From Britain on Film, available on BFI Player

From the BFI website:

Tackle fit for maharajahs, film stars and royalty: artisans of Hardy Brothers of Alnwick create beautiful rods from Chinese cane, a holy grail for anglers the world over. Casting on the River Aln in rural Northumberland, Jim Hardy, the last family member to enter the firm, and fellow angler Ian Blagburn demonstrate the meditative skill and precision that dedicated craftsmen display in making fine fishing tackle for Hardys.

The firm was first set up in 1873 as a partnership between two brothers with a passion for fishing, William and J. J. Hardy. At the time of this film’s production in the 1970s, a severe slump in the industry (followed by the 1980s recession) had pitched Hardy Brothers into difficult times in a modern world of corporate commerce. The family-run business was bought out by the Harris and Sheldon group in 1967. In some ways, the film represents the ideals of simpler times and conveys a message of respect for traditional craftsmanship. The firm’s Anglers’ Guide claimed: “Each reel bearing Hardy’s name is a perfect little mechanical masterpiece.”

The North East Film Archive is one of a network of regional film archives established to collect, preserve and show film made in, or about the North East of England. Their collections are non-fiction, and date from the early 1900s to the present day, providing a rich record of life in the region over the 20th century. Many of their films are available to watch, free of charge, on their website.