And the winner of the photo competition is......

The winner of the photo competition I ran at the end of 2009 is Tony Jones from Kent with this entry you can see below - my congratulations to Tony for this photo and I hope you enjoy the new rod when it turns up at your house. It will be on its way when the weather relents a bit and things get back to normal. I hope you enjoy using the rod as much as I am (see here) - it's a stunning bit of kit.

Atlantic surf bass fishing - Tony Jones

I wanted to say thanks and well done to all of you who submitted your best photos to me - it is always very cool to see bass fishing done in a variety of different ways, and there were a few stand out images that really "jumped" at me. I did not realise how hard it would be to have to pick a winner, but I did, and I chose Tony's photo for various reasons.......

Bass fishing is all about excitement to me, and that is the first thought that came to mind when Tony's entry came in via email - there are any number of ways to photograph bass fishing, of course there are, but when a photo makes me want to almost leap into the picture and get in amongst the action myself, then I know it is doing its job. And that is to inspire. There were a few photos that came in and made me think long and hard them as potential winners, but I guess Tony's photo has just grabbed the kind of moment we all like to be in. Crashing water, good conditions, pumping heart, big blue sky and a possible soaking down the front of the wading jacket. Excitement, excitement, that is what it is all about to me.

That is the first competition I have ever run on this blog, and in due course I will look to running another one. The response was fantastic, in fact I was really surprised at how many entries came in. I guess that most people out there carry some kind of camera with them when they go out fishing, so keep on snapping away. It does not take a mass of heavy camera gear like the stuff I carry to take decent photos that get people going. I need to say a big thanks to Veals Mail Order for being so incredibly kind when I rang up and asked if they might sponsor this competition - thanks guys.

I guess that Nathan's 9lb Cornish bass that I photographed earlier this week really struck a big chord with you guys - as indeed it did for me. A fantastic response via the comments, thanks for this, I love reading them and I always try to respond if I can. A fish like that at this time of year really seems to have fired a lot of people up, and what I hope is that perhaps a few of you will head out yourselves and see what happens. I will be - lots !!

Now I am not one for any kind of this modern health and safety garbage that the authorities keep throwing at us, indeed if we took proper notice of all the warnings that keep coming our way then I reckon we would never do anything at all. We would merely sit there slowly turning into lethargic vegetables in our centrally heated homes. But I took my sheepdog Jess for a walk at 6.30 this morning and I simply can't remember such lethal conditions underfoot - big time ice, and that's in and around Plymouth. I dread to think what other parts of the country are like this morning, so if you are heading out and about, please take huge care and play it safe. Leave the rough and tumble for your next fishing trip.......