Posted 06:32, 24 October 2014
- Scaremongering? Call it what you will, but nobody who sport fishes for bass around our coastline could deny that we ain’t exactly got a gloriously healthy fishery. Sure, on its day our bass fishing can be good, but how frequent are those days? I must assume you stand back sometimes and think about how good the bass fishing once was, and if there was ever a chance that we could get back to these days. Pie in the sky? Study the striped bass fishery in the US. It can happen. As the dominant species on this planet we are the ones who retain the ability to affect fish stocks for the positive or the negative, and there is a growing school of thought out there that “our” bass stocks are in very serious trouble and that some serious action needs to be taken to avoid a total collapse.
- I have been asked by a couple of BASS members if I might post a presentation that was made recently to a workshop they ran - how could I not do this? This blog that I so love doing is read by a lot of people now and I can but hope that some of you will take proper notice of this presentation and then perhaps get fired up and get involved with organisations such as BASS and The Angling Trust who are trying to do something to afford some proper protection for bass stocks. At the very least, please go here and sign this online petition, and check here for an example of what the Angling Trust has been up to recently with regards to bass stocks. Bury your heads all you want and hope that things might magically get back to whatever normal might actually be, or instead do something about it - at the very least please read the presentation below...................
- Remember, please sign this online petition here.
Posted 06:01, 22 October 2014
- Please bear in mind here that my technical knowledge of what is going on with carbon fibre during and just after the actual cast is at best limited, but via photographing lots and lots of casting with various digital SLRs over the years that are shooting at around eight to ten frames per second, you don’t half get to see a lot - and I was wondering if you had any idea what happened to your fishing rod at the end of a powerful cast?
- I would imagine that most of you assume you load up a fishing rod nice and sweetly, the bait, fly or lure then flies out there, and your rod “recovers” from that power curve to sit there nice and straight as you look out to see the bait or lure landing on the water - with absolutely no posing at all when it’s a particularly good cast!! Well it’s that recovery rate that I really notice via my photography, as in what happens to the fishing rod right after it unfolds from the cast and must eventually return to straight.
- Photographing casting in all kinds of fishing depends of course on what you are actually trying to show, together with how the location, light, angler, rod etc. might combine to assist you if that makes sense. It can be different trying to shoot a precise casting sequence that lays out the technical bits and pieces of an actual cast against trying say to make something look really creative. Something like the photo above does it for me and my creative side - great light (and no, there are no horrible orange filters involved), an angler who can cast very well putting a rod under load (the rather lovely Major Craft Skyroad Wind Custom 8’3’’ 7-21g, review here), loads of light which helps me with a very fast shutter speed to “stop” that rod in the perfect position (and even at ten frames a second you don’t always get a really good rod position), plus some water splashing up. The perfect casting shot? Obviously not, but I am rather proud of it.
- But what then happens to a fishing rod when it unwinds through a cast to help propel that bait, fly or lure out there? Check out the casting sequence above and you’ll notice how the (longer, slower) lure rod compresses, unwinds, and then goes a bit weird looking as it “recovers”, or returns to straight. This always happens, but various factors seem to determine how much that rod keeps going down and then sometimes back upright after the power curve. Faster rods, slower rods, the angle of release, weights of lures, baits and flies, where in the cast the angler is really hitting the rod etc.
- One thing you need to know about the above casting sequence is that I have not edited any frames out, as in what you are seeing is exactly what I photographed (bear in mind that this sequence happened in less than one second). For a one off casting photograph, I err towards either a compressed rod or else a straight rod at the end of the cast - photographing fly fishing can be so good because you have that line which can be so visible, and this often gives far more to a photograph. But then the recovery on a fly rod takes even longer because of that heavier line - the dip after the compression is often more pronounced, as it indeed it is with older style, floppier spinning rods that can really look quite alarming right after the compression bit. I don’t personally like the look of shots that show the strange bends in the rod as it recovers, and for the most part I will edit these out of a casting sequence as they aren’t serving much purpose other than to show how a fishing rod recovers back to straight - which is why I kept that particular sequence intact.
- If you knew nothing about how a rod has to recover at the end of cast, you might look at the two photos above and think it was perfectly normal so to speak - but what you wouldn’t know is that I edited out three frames between the bent rod and the straight rod at the end of the cast, because I didn’t (artistically) like the look of the rod recovering. Casting can look very different depending on what angle you photograph it from, and the angle here makes it look kinda horrible as the rod tip slams down after the cast and then makes it back to straight. Fishing rods have to do this, but it doesn’t mean that me as the photographer has to like it.
- But for all that I love lure fishing, from a pure photography point of view you’re never going to beat a good fly angler casting a full line in awesome light. Sure, bad fly casting can look just as bad as any other kind of casting, but that poetry in motion when a good fly angler goes through the motions is just something else if you ask me. I love it. My own fly casting leaves a lot to be desired, but I have spent enough time working around very good fly anglers to know what good and bad fly casting is - and still you’ll find that even the best casters can suffer from a good old dose of fish fever!!
Posted 08:57, 20 October 2014
- I managed to nip out for a couple of hours on Friday afternoon - ok, so the very small neap tide was hardly what I’d have preferred, but the conditions were fantastic. A proper bounce on the sea, great colour, an overcast sky, very little weed in the water, and it just smelt of bass. Now it was hardly an epic session, but I did manage to catch a well conditioned bass that might have touched 6lbs - I caught it on that long-casting Duel Lipless Minnow 120, indeed I had to have something very shallow on to keep me above some rocks that are usually covered up more with a larger tide.
- Saturday was a no-go for various reasons, but my mates Mark and Andy were up for a go over the HW yesterday - we decided on the same mark mainly because we fancied it to have enough clarity after Saturday’s strong S/SW winds, and of course there was a good chance of seeing some fish around. The tide was hardly epic, but it was a little larger than Friday, and although there was now a slightly milky tinge to the water, it was by no means too mucked up for lure fishing - confidence was pretty high…………
- But not a bloody sniff. You’ve got three anglers which at least means a load of different methods are being tried all over the mark - and there’s a fair bit of ground to cover there - yet we raised not even a hint of a bass. Conditions were lively but for most of the time we were there the sun was shining high and bright. We were on the same state of tide as I had been fishing only a couple of days previously, I preferred the slightly larger tide, the sea if anything was even bouncier, and still there was little if any weed about. But no fish.
- Frustrating yes, but at the same time another reminder that we are never going to come close to knowing it all, and yet again I reiterate my staying well away from “experts”. You’re looking forward to going fishing again even before you’ve finished fishing the last session, and it seems that the weather and conditions are in your favour - but we all know that in fishing you simply never get two days the same. Similar but with a few differences is how I could best describe the two days, yet because we are anglers and we can’t help but be eternal optimists, we hope that those slight differences might mean a whack load more fish - instead of the the opposite which is exactly what we got!!
- Now is the time though, or at least that is what I feel - with that winter we had and with how up and down it’s been this year, I can’t help but feel a sense of optimism about this period down here up until at least Xmas and possibly beyond if we don’t get either a serious cold snap or else the sudden brutality of last winter. Get it right and I reckon there’s a chance of some good bass fishing down here in Cornwall, but of course we are subject to a number of external factors which we the anglers must taken on board, compute through our brains, and then come up with solutions that we hope will put us onto a few fish. I can accept blanks because I am perfectly comfortable with where I am at both on the learning curve and also with respects to outwitting nature, but just sometimes you can’t help but scratch your head and wonder why on earth at least something didn’t jump on at least one of our lures…………..