top of page

How We Make our Fly Fishing Films

Fly fishing media has exploded within the last decade. As the sport gets increasingly popular and social media continues to showcase awesome fly fishing content, more and more folks are bringing their camera or phone along with them on the stream to document and share their adventures. We started filming our fly fishing outings back in 2011 with a cheap camcorder and over the years developed a system of gear and filming methods that is detailed below.

Doug giving an overview of his filming setup in Fly Fishing the Ozarks YouTubers video.

The idea for this article came to me several weeks ago, when Brian Wise of Fly Fishing the Ozarks reached out to us and several other (much more talented) fly fishing "YouTubers" to shoot a video on our filming gear. The idea was to give a quick rundown of what gear we use to film videos for our YouTube channels. When shooting the video, I quickly realized that I had a lot of details I wanted to convey but needed to keep it short for the sake of the video. This article will attempt to expand on the Backyard Angling piece of Brian's video. Here goes nothing...

Let's start with the camera. Dan and I both run a Sony A6000. The A6000 falls within the lower to mid priced range of the mirrorless and DSLR category. It is by no means a top of the line rig but it does an amazing job for what we film and in my opinion, if used to its potential, produces quality video that is indistinguishable from high end setups. At least that's how my eyes see it. We generally shoot in 1080p on aperture priority but occasionally use manual settings so we can control both the aperture and shutter speed. With regards to the frame rate, we leave the camera on 60 frames per second (FPS). Shooting in 60 gives us the flexibility to slow down some video clips in post production by about half to have our slow motion clips play back in 30 FPS.

Camera bag dump.

Just recently I had been experiencing a few issues with my heavily used A6000 and decided to upgrade to the Sony A6600. Price-wise, this camera falls in on the higher end of the Sony mirrorless line. The video and photo quality is still great, however I find it to be indistinguishable from the photo and video quality of the A6000. Where this camera sets itself apart from my older rig is the fact that it can shoot in 120 FPS for some ultra slow motion video options. While I still generally shoot in 60 FPS, it is a great option to be able to switch to 120 FPS for some cool release shots, casting clips, etc. While the A6600 is able to shoot in 4k, I still find myself just shooting in 1080p.

Shooting in 60fps (pictured above) gives us a lot of flexibility in post-production to either slow the clip down or keep it as-is.

Now let's touch on lenses. Neither Dan nor I use any real high-end lenses. Dan runs the Sony 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens and I tend to run the Sony 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 lens. When it comes to shooting a video I try to get a mix of close up and wide angle shots and these two lenses seem to fit the bill for accomplishing that. When it comes to shooting fly tying videos I have been using the 55-210mm lens. While this lens is far from ideal, it does an okay job when using magnification filters that screw into the threads of the lens. I'll touch more on this a little later in this article.

Besides the camera and lens itself, arguably our second most important piece of gear is the SealLine waterproof hip pack. This bag has been amazing for the both of us when it comes to protecting our filming gear! It wouldn't be possible to film our fly fishing adventures if we didn't have some way to protect our gear from water damage. This roll top waterproof pack is just large enough for a camera and maybe another lens (depending on the size) and can be carried on your hip or around your shoulder when wading. When one of us gets into a fish or if we see a shot we want to capture its no problem to quickly open up the waterproof bag and gain access to our camera. I've been running this bag about 5 years or so and have never had an issue with water damage to my camera. Coming in at only $45, the SealLine waterproof hip pack more than pays for itself in that regard!

The SealLine hip pack is a great way to protect your camera when on the water.

When it comes to capturing audio, we use the on-board mic on our cameras 90% of the time. There are different application however, where we make use of an external lav mic. I tend to favor a lav mic for product reviews or instructional videos when shooting from a single location such as my house or something streamside. There are some instances too where they are nice to use when filming a fishing scene. If I set up a tripod with the camera on it and need to get into position away from the camera, a lav mic gives me the ability to record audio that I can later sync to the video in post-production. We use the Zoom H1n Digital Audio Recorder for our videos. This mic is fairly inexpensive (about $100), given the high quality audio that you are able to record with it.

We use the Zoom H1n Digital Audio Recorder for our videos.

Another peice of gear that we don't always use but do bring out on occasion is a tripod. There are two types that we have in our arsenal: small ones that can be strapped to our pack or belt and larger ones that would require a backpack. When getting out fishing with the primary purpose of shooting a video I like having a larger tripod. Whether I'm solo filming or shooting a video with my brother, a large tripod adds that extra bit of quality to our videos allowing for more stable shots and smoother panning shots. With regards to the small tripod, I like to carry a gorilla pod style camera mount. While we don't tend to use this as much, it makes for a good backup to always have on my person. It especially comes in handy for taking a photo of yourself holding a nice fish when nobody else is around to take your picture. The tripod I use can be easily strapped to the back of my pack or hung off of my belt and doesn't impede my ability to actively fish or move about.

Dan shooting some stable B-roll off of a tripod.

I've struggled to find a good way to shoot macro videos over the past few years without having to drop a lot of money on a macro lens. The solution that I came up with was magnification lens filters. These handy little things are essentially a magnifying glass that screws right into the threads on the end of your compatible camera lens. I ended up buying a set of them that included filters for 1x, 2x, 4x, and 10x magnification for around $20. I prefer using a combination of the 2x and 4x filters (total of 6x magnification) to film fly tying videos and they seem to work very well. One thing that I found when playing around with them though was that it helped tremendously to shoot in manual focus and at a fairly closed aperture (high f-stop) to get a wider depth of focus.

This magnifier screws right into my Sony 55-210mm lens and works great for fly tying videos.

I have also found these lens filters helpful in shooting videos of bugs. As part of our Backyard Hatches video series, I've been trying to collect as much b-roll footage as possible of various insects that are relevant to fly fishing. While the filters work great, trying to get these specimens to stay still is another story...

A cooperative October caddis that stayed still long enough for a few pictures and short video clip.

There are a few other things that we use to film with that are worth mentioning - a GoPro and smart phone. While we don't use these very frequently, they are invaluable to have in certain situations. I find myself using my smartphone more and more these days just due to the fact that I always have it one me. With each generation of phone that releases, the cameras seem to get better and better. As for the GoPro, we first started Backyard Angling filming with one of these things. As we grew and our gear arsenal has expanded we tended to leave the GoPro's at home. Recently however, I have started getting creating with various angles that can probably only be accomplished with an action camera. These creative angles and unique shots can add a lot to a video so I intend to start bringing the GoPro back into my filming toolbox.

After watching the first video of Brian Wise's Fly Fishing YouTubers video series, I think that Joe Cermele put it best: "what you are teaching, how you present it, how you present yourself, and how you tell the story is what makes a video great, not necessarily what you are using to shoot it." I couldn't agree more with this and truly believe that a good story trumps good camera gear any day. The list of gear that I detailed in the paragraphs above is not something that I accumulated over night, but is ten years worth of acquisitions that I saved up for over time. So if you are thinking about starting a fly fishing YouTube channel, I encourage you to do so and hope that these closing statements give you the confidence you need to take that first step.

Tight lines,


If you enjoyed this article or are thinking of starting your own YouTube Channel, I would encourage you to check out Brian's video on the Fly Fishing the Ozarks YouTube Channel.

The links embedded through the article above are Amazon Affiliate links. By purchasing through these links we earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. If you are interested in the gear and decide to buy through these links, it helps to support our channel which is much appreciated! Thank you for your support!

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page