Blanco fly fishing business featured in History channel program
'MonsterQuest' crew shot footage in August 2019 on river
FARMINGTON — A Blanco-based fly fishing operation based on the San Juan River continues to serve as a popular destination for filmmakers and television producers, as it recently was featured in a program on the History channel.
Jacob Chavez of Majestic Enchantment Fly Fishing on the San Juan River said a crew from History's "MonsterQuest" series spent a day last summer on his family's property on the river shooting footage for an episode called "Ancient MonsterQuest."
The History website states the episode examines "the controversial theory that the monster known as Bigfoot may have existed in history." The description says the episode is part of a series that evaluates evidence that monsters and other mythical creatures existed and may have gone extinct.
Chavez said the crew visited on Aug. 11, 2019, and was led by Dr. Christopher Dyer, a professor at the University of New Mexico's Gallup campus who has a doctorate in anthropology. The footage was used in the 59-minute "Ancient MonsterQuest" episode that originally aired on Jan. 25 and that will be broadcast again on the morning of Feb. 7 on History.
This is the third time Majestic Enchantment has been used as a setting for a Bigfoot-oriented TV program. In 2014, a crew from Animal Planet's "Finding Bigfoot" series visited the property to shoot a re-enactment of an alleged Bigfoot sighting on the river from the 1980s. And on Aug. 16, 2016, another crew from the series visited the property to shoot a re-enactment of a bigfoot sighting that was alleged to have taken place several years ago 100 miles downstream on the San Juan River in Utah, according to The Daily Times archives.
"MonsterQuest" takes a more scientific approach to the Bigfoot legend than the "Finding Bigfoot" series, Chavez said, explaining that the latter is based more on fantasy than hard evidence.
Majestic Enchantment also was featured in scenes from the Terrence Malick film "Voyage of Time," a documentary featuring narration by Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett that was released in 2017.
Chavez said many residents of the area and anglers on the river have shared stories with him that contribute to the legend of a local Bigfoot presence. Several anglers have described the sensation of feeling like they were being watched as they fished, but Chavez noted there is a variety of wildlife in the area.
"We've heard a few little things," he said, explaining he usually dismisses those incidents with a laugh. "We've had customers fishing who said they heard things in the trees, but we do have bears in this area."
Chavez said he has heard strange noises and screams in the area that he couldn't identify. A couple of years ago, he said, he was fishing and heard a growl in the brush behind him. Later, he said he heard what sounded like a large animal crashing through the trees, though he acknowledged the sound could have been made by a bear cub.
Chavez said he enjoys having TV and film production crews on his family's property and hopes those visits continue. He said Majestic Enchantment was visited last year by producers interested in shooting a music video on the property, and they told him they were pleased with what they saw and would be back in February. But he said he has not heard from those individuals, and he doesn't know which band or artist they represented.
San Juan County has seen an increase in recent years in film and TV production activity. As part of an effort to draw more business this way, the county secured $1 million in capital outlay funding in 2019 for a film production studio here. County officials have said they are still looking for a suitable location for that facility and perhaps a site where they would construct a backlot that could be used to shoot some scenes.
Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Support local journalism with a digital subscription: http://bit.ly/216TU0e