Ever consider what the love child of music, illustration and flyfishing would be?
From the first scene — when Cousin Joe Two Shacks, a cartoonist from southern Michigan, nets a 21-inch brown from a driftboat under the glare of a dim spotlight — this mini-edit by Robert Thompson at Thirdyearflyfisher is simply…intriguing. First of all, it offers a brief glimpse at the obsessive nature of those who chase big browns at night in Northern Michigan — whether on mouse flies or hexes. Second of all, it features Cousin Joe’s day job as a cartoonist (his website can be found here), which lends him an almost goofy vibe, one that makes him feel more like a close friend than a distant cousin. Finally, it offers original tunes by Joe himself, as he seeks to redefine his creative process through music.
Aside from the assemblage of oddly-specific hobbies that it highlights, this short film also provides a sort of all-encompassing view of night fishing in Northern Michigan, from navigating densely-wooded rivers in a handcrafted wooden drift boat to landing 20+ inch browns under a full moon. Add in the original music sung with a rawness that is distinctly Joe’s — not to mention the occasional off-the-wall animation — and you have the main ingredients for an edit that is at once universal and at the same time wildly quirky.
While you may come for the fish, you’ll sure as hell stay for the jams, if not for the animations and a look at the local fly scene. But if that’s not enough to pique your interest, at least have a look at the send off following the final credits. You won’t regret it, but you might want to turn the volume down.