Posted 06:10, 27 April 2011
- I so hope that all of you reading this blog had some of that simply awesome weather over the Easter weekend. Is it just a British thing to be somewhat obsessed with the weather, or is this level of “interest” to be found all over the place ? Much as a part of me would love to see lots and lots of the kind of weather we have been having, I can’t help but feel that perhaps it’s the rubbish days we often get that allows us to fully appreciate it when a run of such glorious weather comes along. Or once again, is that the stoical Brit in me coming out ? But when England is like it has been recently, there is nowhere I would rather be on this earth………..except for Ireland perhaps, because all the reports I am getting are that it is fishing very, very well for bass at the moment. Check out this blog report here for starters.
- I was in the Isle of Wight with my family over Easter, and no fishing gear went with me at all. I know it should have, but these days I have to say that I really appreciate a little bit of time away from all things fishing. Don’t get me wrong, I consider myself extremely fortunate to live and breathe fishing as a part of my everyday life, but then I do find myself these days needing that little bit of space away from it. I reckon it helps me think more clearly and also to remain inspired and buzzed up. If you had asked me say ten years ago if I could have ever imagined a situation like this I would have laughed at you, but I guess it’s just a natural progression to want to get away from things sometimes. Plus a lot of it very simply boils down to me both wanting to and also getting huge pleasure out of spending time with my family. Hearing my girls laughing and having fun to my ears has to be about the best sound in the world……….
- It does seem that this spell of warm and relatively settled weather has really kick started a lot of fishing. Keep an eye on Keith White’s blog from Jersey to get a handle on just how successfully those guys fish their stunning waters. I would guess that many anglers still doubt the validity of wrasse being a truly “lure-targetable” species, but you only need to see what these guys are doing to see just how much fun it can be. And I guess that is what it’s all about – fun. For all the gear, methods and chat, fishing to me is simply about having a blast, and in whatever way you choose to go about it.
- Anyway, back to this weather we have been having. I read that it reached 27°C in London over the weekend – now I can not think of a place that I would less want to spend time in when it gets warm, but I reckon it was close to that on the Isle of Wight on Saturday, and I heard it was not a lot less here in the westcountry. It has been that warm and bright that I am already developing a proper set of panda eyes, and it’s only April !! The Brit in me of course worries that this might well be our summer, but I am going to remain hopeful that this recent weather is merely a precursor to a fantastic year…………or is that the kiss of death ??!! If we had good weather most of the time then a Bank Holiday weekend like that might not have meant so much to us all. The thrill at wearing shorts and t-shirts and spending so much time on the beach is something I guess will never lessen if you live in the UK and have so much rubbish weather to contend with through the course of a year !! Hopefully the weather will stay decent for the royal wedding. Am I going to watch it ? Nope, not a chance, but I hope they are happy together – who on earth would want to be a royal and have your whole life continually observed and scrutinised like that ? My wife and girls have a load of mates coming around on Friday for a royal wedding bash – time for me to make myself scarce.
Posted 07:05, 21 April 2011
- As I said on my blog post from Tuesday, fishing is about the people. Most of you here will not know who Michael Bourke was, but to me he was one of the finest people I have ever had the luck to meet in fishing, and yesterday I received the sad news that he died a few days ago. My heart goes out to his wife, children and close family. Too young to go, and I will always remember how Michael went out of his way to be so kind, welcoming and helpful to me when I spent time on the Clare coastline (west) over in Ireland……..
- Sometimes you come across people in my line of work that just leave one feeling humbled. My first ever trip to Ireland was to the Clare coastline some years ago now, but I did not meet Michael until I headed back there on another photo trip along with another wonderful person called Bill Ryan. We spent a few days charging around fishing and photographing, and Michael simply did all he could to make those few days as memorable as possible for me. These people have no obligation to help me out, and that is something that I always try to remember as I push them to fish longer, walk further, sleep less, and also smile into the array of lenses I thrust at them !! But Michael kept on smiling.
- We then went back to the Clare coastline to film a programme for one of my “Wild Fishing” series. What people see on these programmes is Henry Gilbey doing what he does. But what they never get to see or hear about are the collection of people behind the cameras and behind the scenes who both create the shows and also make the shows possible. We simply could never have made that programme without the kindness of Michael Bourke going completely out of his way to help us achieve what we needed to. I am forever in his debt, and I am just so sad that he has gone. I will always remember him asking me about my two girls back home – Michael then went and pulled down a couple of wetsuits from the shelf in his shop and insisted that I take them home for my girls to wear on the beach. He would not take any kind of payment from me, and I have never forgotten it. And those wetsuits are still going strong, indeed my wife and I spoke about where they came from just the other day when we were heading off to the beach with the girls. Thank you Michael. Fishing will miss you. It is people like you who make fishing what it is.
- You all have a good Easter break, and I hope the weather continues to stay as perfectly wonderful as it has been recently. Catch some fish, spend time with your families, or if you are working, sneak off as soon as possible and head for the water. We can but hope that this might be the start of a wonderful summer. Or is that asking for trouble ?
Posted 08:55, 19 April 2011
- I got back yesterday evening from the most awesome few days over in Jersey – talk about the sun shining on the righteous !! Three days of perfect weather, albeit with a rolling swell that put a load of their marks out of reach. I still have to pinch myself that I get to see all these different places and such a variety of fishing as part of my job, but once again it’s the people that really make it. A trip like this one just goes and reinforces my opinion that there are no better people around than anglers, and I would like to say a massive thank you to the four guys who worked so kindly with me over in Jersey – Keith White, his brother Kevin White, Dave Watson and Stephen Olsen. It continually humbles me to my boots that anglers like this go out of their way to aid me getting the photos and material I need. Fishing is all about so many different experiences, but it’s always the people that leave the most lasting impression. And of course I have a real thing for Jersey – angler who is not inspired by all that water, current and coastline needs their head examined. That south east corner is surely some of the most unique and exciting ground around. Being able to walk out of the Shakespeare Hotel where I was staying and soak in all that terrain gives me a buzz every single time.
- Anyway, I got the ferry over to Jersey last Friday. One of the main aims of the trip was to get plenty of photos of these five new Century HPR rods in action over different terrains. I am not going to spoil the stuff I will put out in Sea Angler magazine about these new lure rods, but I can at least tell you that I think they are something very, very special indeed. The amount of thought, design, work, testing and actual fishing time that has gone into them is quite possibly unique in itself, and that’s before you come to the new materials used in the blanks. Lucky for me the five specific rods we played around with on the trip were not actually for sale otherwise I might have come back with a rather large dent in my bank balance !! Five new rods ? Yes, my problem is still very prevalent.
- The guys have got this lure fishing for wrasse completely wired, indeed it’s incredible to watch them at it. The fact that such a traditionally “target with bait” species like the wrasse has become a truly viable lure quarry amazes me. I think back to all those times I spent at places like Trevose Head having a blast catching wrasse on bait, and now there are increasing numbers of anglers not even taking a scrap of bait with them when they go wrasse fishing. I still almost can’t believe how willingly these fish will jump on soft plastics. Nothing like breaking down the barriers, and I give loads of credit to the anglers who go out of their way to unselfishly help other anglers out. Also remember that they often pick up bass when chasing wrasse like this. Simply outstanding, and it gives me a huge kick to be around fishing like this. If you want to know more about this wrassing on plastics, then make sure to spend some time reading this online magazine right here. Plus keep checking in Sea Angler.
- Aside from playing around with the different Century HPR lure rods, I did eventually pick up one of them and have a proper go at the wrasse on plastics. I have caught plenty of them by mistake when deep-spinning for pollack, but this was the first time I actually nailed a couple on plastics fished like this. OK, so I missed plenty of bites in my fast increasing state of complete overexcitement, but I got a couple. Very, very pleased. Honestly, you would not believe how much you can “feel” when you fish with the right gear, and also how quickly you can start to tune in to the lure moving across the bottom. And these guys fish some of the roughest ground I have ever seen, yet they lose very little end gear. I might be talking utter garbage, but I remember one bite that I was utterly convinced I was “feeling” so well that I could have sworn the wrasse was merely trying to pull the tail of the lure away from me. Does that make sense ? Yes, of course I struck to see if I might sneak a look at it, but in my heart I knew the fish was not on the hook. Whatever the case, the whole thing about this style of fishing is that it’s just a huge amount of fun. Fishing to smile about. Sunshine, a place as special as Jersey, some massively kind and skilful anglers to show the rods off, and another great few days to go in my memory bank. Thanks so much guys. And well done to Keith White and the people at Century for having the balls to design and build some British lure rods that in my humble opinion can go up against anything out there. Hang on, how did that new rod find its way into my car ?