Posted 11:28, 24 November 2010
- I am just clearing some work before flying down to Mauritius tomorrow – when that mothership leaves for St. Brandon’s on Saturday morning, we will be away from any kind of internet or phone access, so unless something miraculous happens, this blog will be quiet for a couple of weeks. Thanks to all of you for continuing to read and support it, I can’t wait to get back and put some photos up here of big blue skies and huge bonefish. And then get back out fishing myself and see if I can’t manage a few nice bass before Christmas. It’s that time of year right now when there is every chance………
- As per usual on my trips, I will be entering the aeroplanes and turning right !! Steerage class here we come. I bet you are all like me and look longingly at the those great big business class seats/beds as we are herded past on our way to the back of the plane, and I always wonder what on earth First Class actually looks like. I am sure we have all had this dream that we get to the (steerage) check-in desk one day, only to be informed that “Mr. So and So, we have made a terrible mistake and have had to upgrade you to First Class for your whole journey. We are so sorry for the inconvenience !!” Dream on eh ?
- Joking aside, I am pretty good at this steerage class travelling thing, and it tends to revolve around sleeping pills and ear plugs, iPod, laptop, noise-cancelling headphones and a good book. Hanging around in airports is always a far more manageable experience if I can say get on with writing articles on my laptop while my iPod and headphones cocoon me in a black metal blanket.
- Anyway, you all have a good couple of weeks. I hope this cold snap does not last too long (my heart bleeds !!). Catch plenty of fish, and let’s hope that England beats South Africa in the rugby on Saturday (hopefully the score will come in on the sat phone) – I believe that all the clients and guides on this trip are South Africans, so can you imagine the grief I will get if we go and lose the rugby ? But think about the beaming smile I can walk around with if we go and smash them. Like Scotland did last weekend, and I know they are bleeding about that one really badly. Not that I would dream of bringing it up or anything like that. And then the Ashes starts in a couple of days. Gutted about missing the first test. Come on England, we really could beat Australia in their backyard this time around……….
Posted 09:14, 22 November 2010
- On Thursday I am heading off on a photo job down to the remote St. Brandon’s atoll in the Indian Ocean – the principal species will be lots of big bonefish on the flats (thirty over 10lbs the other week), plus some Indo Pacific permit and the odd big GT that comes wandering on to the flats. Giant trevally are insane, but bonefish are just sublime, and the FlyCastaway lads down in South Africa have done it once again when it comes to remote and awesome saltwater fisheries. I am not aware of another destination that offers such unspoilt and consistent fly fishing opportunities for big bonefish………..
- I start of on Thursday by flying from Heathrow to Dubai (one big shopping mall of an airport, completely soulless, but it seems to work), spend a few hours there, and then catch another flight down to Mauritius. I am due to arrive on the island early Friday morning, then spend the day having a look around, and then on Saturday morning the mothership will leave Mauritius and sail some thirty hours or so to St. Brandon’s atoll. Talk about adventure fishing – and yes, I will be looking to shoot a big feature for the next issue of Adventure Fishing magazine. I have not photographed flats fishing for a while now, but if you get those huge blue skies and rushing white clouds then little compares to it. Watching big bonefish chowing flies almost off the end of the rod tip is something so special that I have to pinch myself that I get to call it my job. These photos here were from an incredible day I witnessed on the equally remote Providence atoll many miles away from the Seychelles.
- I do think that some fish were almost purpose designed for their environment, to the point where I don’t reckon the best designer could ever hope to have come close to bettering nature’s awesome work. Look at the bonefish. The perfect species for thriving on shallow saltwater flats. It takes a while to almost “tune” your eyes back into seeing them sneak around the flats, but when you are seeing things properly then it’s just incredible to watch them almost shuffle with delight on to a fly, and then race off when hooked. I have seen a few double figure bonefish, and they are one impressive fish to take from such shallow water.
- It’s always a bit strange (but lovely !!) to leave a UK winter and fly down to what is essentially a tropical paradise. But fishing is surely the best thing in the world exactly because we get to spend time in such special places – look at how I feel about Ireland for example. Each and every time I go there I am literally shaking with adrenaline for a week beforehand. I am still not quite sure how somebody like me gets to go and photograph fishing like the stuff on St. Brandon’s for their work, but I will get nowhere if I sit around and don’t push what I do. A trip like this is an incredible experience, but the simple fact is that I have to make it pay. I am not going as an angler. There are paying clients on the trip who are going as anglers. I am heading down there as a photographer, but getting to photograph fishing like this is a big a thrill to me as actually catching the fish themselves.
Posted 06:51, 19 November 2010
- Believe me, as a lure angler/addict, I am still fighting a continual battle to stop cranking the living daylights out of the lures I hurl in the general direction of a bass or two. You would have thought that a grown-up (??) father of two would not still be struggling with this almost primeval urge, but I am. At least I’m honest about my problem.
- And I think that soft plastics could end up being my saviour. They make me slow down, indeed I have even caught fish by doing nothing to them. Makes me feel good about myself that does. But as for lure lust, let’s face the fact that opening a packet of plastics is never half as exciting as slowly extracting a nice, shiny new hard bass lure from its intricate packaging. Look at those two plastics above – do they “grab” you like say a Gataride or a Tide Minnow does ? Thought not. But they work…..
- I talked the other day on here about how these Mann’s Hard Nose 5’’ Freefall Worms did so well on the pollack, but they also work for the bass. By sometimes doing nothing, and I really mean nothing. Casting them out, allowing them to hit the bottom (via that Owner jig head), and then letting them literally trundle down the tide in an estuary. Czech-nymphing with a lure, indeed just one single situation where a plastic can kill. Tap, tap, bang, bass on. Gives me such a kick. I suppose that in reality I am feeling a whole lot more comfortable these days with choosing various hard lures for different situations, but in all honesty I don’t even think I have started up the ladder when it comes to the plastics. I know I should fish them more as well. With jig heads, without jig heads, you name it, it’s all a part of lure fishing. The inner finesse.
- Granted, there are times when a plastic simply will not cut it for various reasons, but there are also plenty of times when I know that I should be turning to them for my fishing. Look at what Keith and Kevin White do over in Jersey for example – ok, so they are taking it to a level which I am simply never going to get to, but anglers like this deserve huge credit for forging ahead and refusing to stand still (check Keith’s blog here). And I know that plastics play a huge part in their own bass fishing, plus of course for wrasse etc. Confidence. Having the confidence to fish slowly and deliberately. Truly trusting that a lure can work effectively when the angler I suppose sets it in place and then lets it do its thing. Without cranking the living daylights out of it. Me ? Never……..