Am I allowed to call this work?
First day's bass guiding done and dusted, although to be fair I am learning from a truly "proper" bass guide (John Quinlan), and I am working with some thoroughly nice lads (clients) who can all fish very well indeed. I am obviously joking in the blog title, but when you are in a place as special as this with a good bunch of people and the weather starts really behaving, I must of course question whether I am actually allowed to call this sort of stuff "work".......
Now to be fair the actual fishing was tough today. A heap of bass crawling up the line would have been pretty cool, but when Denis (a freshwater angler from Dublin) catches his first ever bass at 5.5lbs on a weightless soft plastic fished nice and tight to the rocks, you have to ask if it can actually get any better. Talk about one happy angler!!
Not fishing is the easy part for me, because on most of these big photo trip I do overseas I am essentially never fishing. I am there as a photographer and therefore I am watching clients catch fish all the time. It doesn't bother me at all and never really has done to be fair - but what's it like not fishing when you are also trying to help people out with their own fishing? Remarkably similar in some respects, as in the not fishing part simply isn't an issue.
I am not about to claim that I guided Mark onto this bass above, but I can't help feeling a certain amount of satisfaction that before Mark had a quick kip in the sunshine after lunch, I'd made the call to change his lure over to the IMA Komomo 2 in that killer Asanago flashing plate colour which really catches the light on a slow straight retrieve - and it was this lure he took his bass on, as well as hitting another couple of fish without connecting properly. As much as it's a lot about soft plastics around here at the moment, I can't not be carrying a lure like that for this sort of shallow, reefy ground. It's a bit of a different one for me to be making calls on lure changes when it's not me fishing them, but I suppose that's a part of guiding.
Fishing is obviously about catching fish, but I am sure the guys would agree that it's also about the place and the people, and the place was showing off today. We got some awesome light early on and then around lunchtime the sun really came out and we got those big, blue, endless skies, together with the outrageous framing that is Ballinskelligs Bay. Kerry is as truly special as I remember it being and I am having to pinch myself that I am actually here in the middle of it all and it's my work.
I am really enjoying trying to help these guys out and the idea of standing back and not actually fishing but at the same time trying to think like you are if that makes sense is something pretty interesting. Anyway, one day done, a few more to go, and the clients are still talking to me which makes me think I haven't yet driven them over the edge. Awesome as always to be here in Ireland, and I met a Welsh guy today who lives out here - he caught a 15lb plus bass on March 5th 2012 on a soft plastic. Holy frigging cow, or words to that effect.