FFSW» Speaking of the panga captain, his disposition was something that really stuck out to me. His facial expression hid nothing, and worst of all, he didn’t even speak your language. What’s amazing to me is that, once you got into the wads of striped marlin, his demeanor did a 180 — he’s laughing, fist-bumping and high-fiving. It’s funny how fly-fishing can bridge language and cultural barriers. Can you elaborate on that experience?
Brian: Yeah, for sure, he definitely loosened up when we got in the fish. He’d probably never seen a fly rod before in his life, and we were catching these monster fish on them, and that definitely got him pretty stoked.
Chris: He’s just looking at four goofballs in a boat with these fishing poles he’s never seen before and is probably thinking, “OK, so these guys are going to throw at these fish with those things — whatever.” But then, when we started catching them, yeah, then the smiles started coming out because he was in disbelief.
FFSW» Did you think getting robbed was a given? I mean, let’s face it, you guys were traveling through a notoriously shady part of Mexico.
Brian: Yeah, I was just trying to imagine when it was going to happen. The Baja was easy but the mainland was no joke.
Thad: Yeah, that was right after I had to leave — if I’d been there, it wouldn’t have happened (laughs).
FFSW» Speaking of the departure, how did you guys feel when Thad found out he was going to be a daddy again and understandably had to leave the expedition? What was the general consensus of the remaining crew? There is strength in numbers, after all.
Brian: We knew we had a long, rough road ahead of us. We were just leaving Baja and heading into the mainland, and we were completely supportive of him going back home to do what he had to do. And yeah, we were down a man but it was most important for him to go back home.
Thad: On the flip side, it was also really difficult to leave. Obviously, I had to but I was legitimately worried about them. I wanted them to keep me up to date so I could support them as much as possible.
FFSW» Was there a sigh of relief once you were out of the cartel zone and made it to the laid-back atmosphere of the Yucatán?
Chris: Oh, yeah. And just to let you know, we had that truck armed. We had five cans of wasp spray stashed throughout the vehicle. Man, that stuff has a 27-foot reach on it — you get hit by that stuff, you are going down. Brian drove the majority of that stretch, and he was white-knuckled the whole time.
FFSW» You all went through absolute hell many times on this trip, true? Is going through hell worth it for just one banner day of fishing or an epic adventure?
Brian: Yes and hell yes!
Jay: No question.
Chris: Oh, yeah. We don’t actually plan for it to be just that one day (laughs).
FFSW» Clearly, you guys are all buds, but at certain points, the film depicted you more as a crew. Is any one of you considered to be the ringleader or “slave driver”?
Brian: We kind of just filled our roles. We have to do what we have to do in order to move forward and operate as a team. If any tough calls come up, everybody gets a vote, but if there’s one thing we are good at, it’s figuring our way out of compromising situations.
Thad: Brian is definitely the MacGyver; Jay is the kind of the sensei religious leader; I tend to be the rational thinker, and Chris is the guy who is always scouring over the maps trying to get us into these super secluded and remote places. Every one of these roles is important, and it puts everything into cohesion. That’s how the team functions.
FFSW» At any point, did any of you completely lose it for a particular reason?
Jay: Yeah, there was one instance when I got a little grumpy with the fellows — I almost flew out. Tequila was involved, and we began discussing filmmaking and the direction of what we were doing. But in the end, these guys are like brothers.
Thad: It’s nearly impossible not to bump heads in a situation like this. However, I can honestly say that, given the circumstances, I’m proud of how well we got along.
Chris: Of course we rub shoulders, but we forgive and forget and move on.
FFSW» Ideally, what do you want viewers to take away from the film?
Brian: We want to try to inspire people as much as we can. We want people to just go outside and experience something different and step outside of their cubicle and do something they’ve never done before.
Chris: We aren’t really inventing the wheel here. People have done things like this before. But just like any other sport, the goal is to let people know that they can go out there and make it happen.