Was that summer ?

Canon 1D MK11, 16-35mm f2.8L lens (at 31mm), ISO 200, f9, 1/100, polarising filter

OK, it's a bit premature to start moaning about the end of summer, but it certainly felt like it yesterday. I arrived back from a grey, windy Newcastle into Bristol airport last night (wearing shorts and t-shirt of course, how sensible is that ?), to be met by howling winds and torrential rain. I feel really sorry for all the people at Glastonbury for the weekend, including a good friend of mine - why is it that it seems to always rain there ? There is no way that we can have a summer like last year's is there ?

To take myself away from the gloom of an overcast morning, above is a photo of a nice big bass that my mate Graham caught last autumn over in Ireland. I wish I could show you a photo of my latest, greatest capture, but with work and travel recently, my own fishing efforts have been zero. That is going to change from this weekend though, for I have a few days over in Cornwall with my family to look forward to. I have packed the alarm clock for a few early morning plugging sessions.........

I have a few really interesting new bass lures here to try out, including some that I have yet to see anywhere in the UK. Some of them look lethally effective, so I will give them a go and see how they do - watch this space. All in the name of "work related research" I assure you. Not that I like playing with new toys or anything like that.

I sent a bunch of these US soft plastic Slug-Go lures over to a couple of mates in Ireland recently, and I am hearing sketchy reports that they are working really well for the bass. When I say sketchy, what I really mean is that I think the guys have really begun to nail fish big time on these Slug-Go lures and are trying to keep it quiet from me !! But I have my sources.............you would not believe the action these soft plastic lures have when they are fished properly, indeed I have yet to see a lure like it. Check here for where you can get hold of them in the UK. Don't get me wrong, hard plastic lures are great for bass fishing, but there is a quiet revolution going on with soft plastics - just take a look at the French bass anglers for a start. You are going to hear a lot more about them over the next few years I am sure.

One thing I really notice about travelling in the US is the welcome you receive - shops, restaurants, hotels, you name it, most of the time you are met with a beaming smile and an offer of help. I really like this attitude. Manners cost nothing in life, and it is something my wife and I are working hard to instill in our two girls. On Wednesday evening, I checked into a hotel just over the road from Newcastle airport at about 11pm, to be met by a surly, sour excuse for a receptionist who hardly had the good grace to look me in the eye and say anything more than a mumble of "this is what you need to pay before you can have your room". Nothing approaching "welcome, how are you ?" or "enjoy your stay" or "what can we do to help ?". Nothing of the sort. I should have said something, but in truth I could not trust myself to remain calm. A lack of manners really winds me up. My rant for Friday morning is now over !!

If you get The Field magazine, check out a really good looking feature of mine on the insane golden dorado fishing I photographed earlier this year out in Argentina (check here for a stack of photos). Look on pages 86, 87, 88 and 89 - I really like the fact that they have used one of my fish jumping shots as a whole page image on page 87. My thanks to the designer for picking it out.

Remember to have a look through my Montana photo gallery which I have put online - check here for a selection of photographs from one of the most special places I have ever been on this earth. I am still dreaming about it.

Gerhard from FlyCastaway emailed to tell me of a 16.5lb tigerfish that one of their clients caught on Monday, on a fly of course, at a new camp they are using in Mozambique. That is some fish on the fly, but then not much surprises me with the FlyCastaway lot - in my mind one of the top guiding outfits on the planet, and I do not say that lightly. Speak to Aardvark McLeod about booking trips to fish with them - and for Argentina and Montana. You can see a bunch of my tigerfish photos here. Tigerfish are deeply impressive fish to be around. It has been too long since I have been to Africa, so I can't wait for my South Africa trip at the end of September. Nowhere feels like Africa.

Anyway, I am off on holiday for a few days later on today, but I will do my best to keep this blog updated - hopefully with a few reports of a few nice bass. You don't know how much I am looking forward to getting back over to Ireland in July.