Posted 21:30, 7 August 2014
- It’s not easy fishing out here at the moment, what with flat calm seas and a fair amount of floating weed around - but there’s been a few bass, the lads have had a bunch of pollack out on the boat, and I took a couple of lads wrassing on plastics and they smashed them good and proper over some stunning ground that I bet you nobody ever fishes.
- As for the guiding? Absolutely loving it. Every single second of it. What a buzz. Working with John Quinlan and helping him put these lads onto fish is just the most awesome thing - and it’s long, long hours. I honestly don’t know how John and his wife survive on the lack of sleep they have to deal with for large parts of the year, but working in fishing is what it is and it’s a passion thing. I have spent many photography trips not fishing, so not fishing out here bothers me not none bit, but it’s just a great feeling to help guys with various techniques and setups and then put them onto a few fish.
- I would love to have the time to write a load more, but a longer blog post is going to have to wait until I get a spare moment. In the meantime, here’s a few photos of the first couple of days here in south west Ireland - I don’t do religion, but this part of Kerry is surely some kind of heaven on earth. To be out there at 4am and watch as dawn breaks over the bay gets me every single time I see it. More to come, time to get a few hours kip………..
Posted 08:59, 1 August 2014
- On Monday morning I will leave my house here in south east Cornwall and make the long trek over to Kerry in south west Ireland - as per last time I did this journey earlier this year (photos here), if all goes to plan I should get there around 11pm after a fair few hours on the road and ferry. Sure, driving for many hours on your own is hardly the most exciting thing in the world, but I always take the attitude that if you want to get somewhere, just get on with the travelling side of things and don’t bother moaning - if you don’t like it, don’t do it.
- I will be doing a couple of four day trips with John Quinlan, as in John of course is the guy who knows his local waters backwards, and together I suppose we are offering a kind of joint package where the (lucky?) clients get the two of us working with them - plus of course I will work on photographing the guys on their fishing trip so that they come away with some proper memories of such a special part of the world. Am I looking forward to getting back to Kerry? What do you think? The only possible downside for me heading over there is another couple of weeks away from my family, but work is work and we tend to get on with things and try to even stuff out over time.
- I would imagine that if you asked any professional fishing guide anywhere on earth whether they can ever be the finished article, the answer would surely be no way, it’s always a big learning curve the same as actually going fishing. As for me as a “guide”, well of course I don’t have loads of experience, but working with a pro like John of course helps me to simply be myself and I hope aid in some way with giving our clients the sort of experience they signed up for. Of course I choose to ignore a few petty-minded, jealous individuals who can’t help but have a pop at what I am trying to do. Criticising from the comfort of a keyboard is far too easy to do these days, and I simply choose to get out there and do stuff that helps me keep working in fishing.
- As per usual, I will do my best to keep you updated with how we are getting on over in Kerry. We will be doing long hours but I will find some time to get photos and thoughts up here from time to time. John and I also need to sit down and start working on dates for 2015 with regards to more of these John Quinlan and Henry Gilbey Kerry bass fishing trips - in due course we will make these dates available and I hope we might see some of you in south west Ireland sometime next year. What a country.
- There was no blog post on Wednesday because I was 20 odd miles off the coast of Plymouth on a photo job for Sea Angler magazine. I haven’t photographed Uk shark fishing for a while now, and it was great to catch up with one of the finest charter skippers around, Malcolm Jones of the boat Sea Angler II. The day was about some of the guys from Shakespeare UK putting their Ugly Stik boat rods through their paces, and of course there were smiles all round when (thoroughly nice bloke) Mike Thrussell hooked and then landed a blue shark that on the tape measure came in at around the 85lb mark. I love seeing blue sharks in the water and for me there’s nothing better than getting what I need as quickly as possible and then seeing that magnificent creature swim away strongly after the release.
- Anyway, you all have a good weekend. Next time you hear from me I will be on the majestic south west coast of my favourite country on earth, and whilst guiding is not about the guides fishing, like last time it will be all I can do not to jump into the clients’ arms for sheer joy when they hook a bass (or pollack, wrasse, mullet, salmon, sea trout etc.).
Posted 07:54, 28 July 2014
- What exactly is fishing for you? I bet most of you can remember the first fish you ever caught, but what kind of angler are you there days? Do you chase “big” fish almost exclusively, are you hugely into competitive fishing, or is the simple act of just being out there on a waterway with fishing rod in hand (or on stand/pod etc.) what it’s all about?
- Maybe I’m lucky because via work I have managed to see and sometimes catch fish which many years ago were no more than a distant dream to an angler like me, but unlike say my uni days when the size of the fish meant almost everything, these days I have to say that for me the visual side of fishing these days arguably means far more to me than simply “big” fish - and especially considering that as much as we might love our fishing here in the UK and Ireland, we are not exactly overburdened with properly big fish when compared to some parts of the world.
- I used to obsess, and I mean seriously obsess about wreck fishing from charter boats. Hell, I nearly flunked my first year at uni because I did one of those Guernsey trips and completely forgot about an exam I had. I think that over time my love for shore fishing took over from this kind of fishing, and those long steams to and from wrecks eventually killed that particular obsession - but I also know deep down that as my love of photographing fishing became more and more ingrained in me, the visual side of something like long-distance wreck fishing was not floating my boat. I can’t help it and in no way am I saying that one kind of fishing is better than the other, it’s just me and how I am wired I suppose.
- Perhaps if I was not so obsessed with photographing fishing then I might still be spending a lot of time watching rod tips for bites, but I can’t help but think this falling for lure fishing was a natural progression as regards my interest levels and my need to be turned on visually. Although I am a terrible fly fisherman, I can’t help but love being around this kind of fishing with cameras in hand. OK, so a small stock-pond on a windswept moor with no background and atrocious light hardly does it for me, but more often than not the kinds of fly fishing I have been lucky to spend time around take place in some pretty cool locations which of course work for me and cameras, and it’s the continual movement of angler and rod that gives one so many options.
- And I see such parallels with lure fishing. Not only do increasing numbers of fly anglers find their way into chucking lures, but for me as a fishing photographer it’s the lure fishing side of saltwater fishing that gives me those options for my photography. Sure, a guy casting a big beachcaster in light like you see above is about as good as it gets for me, but that evening on Chesil literally every single thing came together to shoot good stuff. From the visual side of things, it’s the simple fact that a lure or indeed a fly angler tends to be moving around and of course casting a lot - and there’s no getting away from how lots of casting and moving combined with multiple backdrops gives me the photographer so many options to fill my memory cards with images that turn me on. Yes, I need to sell photographs to help make a living, but it’s always been way more than that for me, indeed if I was a half-decent business man I am sure I’d be making a far better living from this stuff!! Nope, I need to do it. I can’t help but indulge my passion for the visual side of fishing and I suppose hope that enough clients like my stuff and enable me to keep indulging my two obsessions - fishing and photography of course.
- It’s essentially one and the same to me. I never go out fishing without at least one DSLR, lens and a couple of filters, just as (obviously!!) I never go fishing without a rod and reel. It would do me in to miss the capture of a serious fish with my camera(s), but more so I think it would finish me off if I missed an awesome looking location bathed with awesome light. I am often asked to fish away on these big overseas trips I do, but on my shoulder sits this little demon who would never let me forgive myself if I missed something with my cameras. None of this is remotely my fault - it’s the way I am made, and as much as I used to love my boat fishing and of course still love those opportunities I get to do it, for the most part I simply need more of an interaction between angler (doing things like casting) and location, plus of course I love the walking and scrambling around.
- I am not so enamoured with myself to ever believe that for one second the giant world of fishing would miss my “contributions” to it, but holy cow would I miss my lifelong obsession with trying to make this great sport of ours look as downright impressive and as appealing as I try to. Look around you and love the simple interactions between anglers, locations and light, because sometimes these innocuous combinations can take your breath away. And then a big fish jumps on the end of someone’s line and it’s all you can do to avoid complete heart failure!!