- Wear decent footwear, watch the weather forecast, perhaps wear some kind of buoyancy aid plus do all you can to stay safe – but at the end of the day fishing on the coastline when you are close to the sea is a pursuit that is inherently beset with a certain degree of risk. It’s the way it is and all the health and safety, risk assessment garbage will never take away from the fact that fishing isn’t sitting indoors wasting your life on computer games – check a recent blog post here for example. The sea is unpredictable at best, but we do what we can to minimise the risk – at the end of the day though, if you want to catch certain fish then sometimes you (choose to) put yourself in a situation where there might be an increased risk.
- Bass fishing in Morocco from my limited experience of five days fishing there seems very much to be about getting right in amongst it if you want a shot at the big bass – and if the idea of fishing on the edge of what many people would deem “safe” does not appeal then I would implore you to not bother going bass fishing down there. I know that I said on Monday that the seas were too calm, but there was still a bit of swell rolling in, and from time to time a far larger set would come on in. We all got a decent soaking from time to time and one of the lads even wore a 3mm neoprene summer-type wetsuit (full length, no arms) – I nicknamed him the Human Mermaid because he so loved getting soaking wet all the time. But this is where you need to be to get your lures where the bass like to be, and wow did I learn a lot more about lure fishing out there.……………………
Nikon D3, 24-120mm f4 VR lens at 24mm, f8, 1/350th, ISO 200, -0.5 exp comp, polarising filter
Time - 12:15:39
- If you spend any time around the sea on a coastline that gets a proper swell (and bear in mind that swell on its own is different to rough or choppy) then you will know all about what some would term “rogue waves” – you think you’ve got the measure of the rise and fall, but from time to time that larger “rogue wave” or larger than average set rolls in. The photo above is hardly an award winner, but due to the shape of the rocks and the rollers coming in, I could not really get any different angle on Paul – yes, it’s a harsh midday sun and the contrast levels are all over the place, but I kinda like the depth that the foreground gives me as it leads to the angler (Paul) and then on to the cliffs behind which themselves a bit of a three dimensional look thanks to those lines of haze. I am also ok with that lone sunbeam shining down.
- Anyway, I rattled off a few shots, made sure not to get too stupidly close to the waves when I’ve got my camera around my neck (I’ve had some rather expensive camera and lens service bills this year because of spending so much time around saltwater), and then turned to put the camera back in my (waterproof) rucksack and get on with a bit of fishing. And then I hear that immortal, wonderfully descriptive English language phrase that tells you something is just about to go wrong – “oh, sh1t !!!” shouts Paul. Now my cameras (Nikon D3) are nearly always set in high speed shooting mode, and I think they rattle through RAW files at about 9 or 10 frames a second until the buffer is full. Why set them like this ? For many different reasons, with casting being one of them. We’re not paying for film these days so I see every reason to be in high speed mode for what I do. Photographing fishing is a lot about not much happening for a while but then being ready to spring into action (like a gazelle ? OK, possibly not) and capture what is happening almost immediately.
- I hear those two words from Paul, turn right around, focus on him, compose the shot(s) and press the shutter. The setting on my polarising filter is already set correctly for the portrait style format to the photo as I was shooting like that already as per the photo above, so it’s a case of very quickly locking on to Paul at the widest setting on the lens (24mm) and letting rip. Usually I would then edit a sequence of photos like this right down to say two or three which I might process and use for whatever purposes, but because that rogue wave that hit Paul looked so awesome as it went through, I thought it would be good to show you the whole sequence below. And yes, luckily Paul was ok, but he admitted that when the wave hit him he could feel his back leg about to go – and then who knows what would have happened. But it didn’t.
Time : 12:16:08
Time : 12:16:10 - less than two seconds for this sequence to unfold - how do you get out of the way of that ?
- Anyway, there you go – bass fishing in Morocco. The sea was too calm and too clear to get the really big fish out and about, and I would imagine that a fair bit of dancing around the rocks is required when the conditions are on. I don’t remotely want to “glorify” anything dangerous, but at the same time I don’t believe in shying away from how dramatic and exciting some kinds of fishing can look. I guess that a big appeal of this lure fishing thing to me is exactly this sort of stuff – excitement, adrenaline, movement, fluidity, the ocean, and yes, I can’t get away from it, that bit of danger that creeps in now and then.