James Marsh and the Beginning of Fly Fishing DVD
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
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 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
In 1985, 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 thirty boating programs, and numerous other
outdoor related programs such as instructional GPS videos. Many of these programs have been sold by
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 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 were 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 imitate.
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 one 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.
Get Your Ph.D. in Fly-Fishing Right Here
Mrs. Angela Marsh