Henry Gilbey
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At 79cms long and in seriously good condition, I feel entirely confident that yesterday afternoon I landed my first 10lb+ bass from the shore

I wasn’t sure whether to write this blog post because if there one thing I despise in life it’s any form of boasting, and not for one second did I want to boast about the fact that yesterday afternoon I hooked and landed a bass that was 79cms long, in fantastic condition as you can see from the various photos here, and in my mind was therefore my first 10lb+ bass that I have landed from the shore. But damn I am one happy angler and I trust that you kind people will take this blog post exactly as it’s meant to be……………

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I need to say a serious thanks to my mate Mark for so kindly holding the fish for a few photos, and before anybody asks where the photos are of me with this fish, well there are none. I don’t need photos of me with fish and it’s not why I go fishing or shoot photos of fishing. I am obviously over the moon at catching a bass like that, and I am so glad we were fishing together yesterday because to me it’s so much more fun to share something special like this with a mate rather than on my own. 

I caught this bass off the top in a bit of current, and it was one of those big, lazy swirls on my surface lure that I reckon tends to mean it’s at least a decent fish. I was still berating myself after fishing like a complete tit the day before and literally pulling my surface lure right out of the mouth of a bass before it could properly take it, so you can imagine how determined I was to wait for my rod to properly bang over this time around! I knew the fish was big the moment I bent into, but I can’t pretend that I had any idea it was a double.

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Now I know that I am prone to banging on about fishing with a properly tight drag, fighting fish hard, and of course using barbless hooks, but I do at least practise what I preach - and thankfully it worked yesterday! The barbs were crushed flat on the two treble hooks on my surface lure and because I have fished completely barbless for bass for so long now, well I just don’t worry about it when I am into a fish. As I said, we were fishing in a bit of current and my drag was set so that the bass could have taken line if it really needed to - I pulled the living hell out of the fish to get it away from a bit of structure and not one inch of line came off my spinning reel during the short but intense fight. I trust my gear and I am confident with how hard I can pull fish on the sort of lure gear that so many of us fish with. 

Anyway, I got the fish in quickly and then secured my fish-grip thing to its bottom jaw so that I could turn the bass over to Mark while I grabbed my camera. We kept it in the water while Mark got his BASS tape out and took a measurement for me at 79cms. I don’t carry scales so I will never know the exact weight - and to be perfectly honest I couldn’t care less - but at 79cms long and in outstanding condition, as per the title of this blog post I am entirely confident that I had just landed my first 10lb+ plus bass from the shore. As much as I love Ireland with a passion, I am kinda chuffed that I caught this fish in UK waters, and also for a number of other reasons that I won’t divulge to protect where we were fishing.

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As for the gear I caught the fish on, well the successful surface lure was this increasingly lethal Whiplash Factory Spittin’ Wire (95mm, 15.5g) in the S06PLG Ayu Ghost as per the photo above. I obviously can’t say whether this bass would have taken another surface lure or not because I can only fish with one lure at a time, but I have had enough nice bass on this Spittin’ Wire now to firmly believe that is is something seriously special - and I owe a big thanks to this Spanish angler here for so kindly putting me onto it. They are not cheap lures and they are not easy to track down, but I have got mine from here if that helps at all.

I was fishing with what is by a margin the best 9’ lure rod I have ever used, this outrageously good Shimano Exsence Infinity S900ML/RF 9’ 5-32g - review here, and whilst it’s not a cheap rod at all, I have found a place in Europe that is now listing them. From day one with this rod I have used a Shimano Twin Power XD C3000HG spinning reel on it (review here), and it was loaded up with the consistently brilliant and has never, ever let me down Sufix 832 braid in the 20lb/0.15mm breaking strain. My leader was 16lb YGK Nitlon DFC fluorocarbon, of course secured to my braid by an FG knot, and on the end of all this was a little Breakaway Mini Link lure clip. So simple, but utterly reliable. I have caught plenty of bass on this Shimano Exsence Infinity S900ML/RF 9’ 5-32g lure rod now, but it did feel good to horse a properly big bass on it and see it bend properly in the most delightful curve.

So there you go. I am seriously happy and I know what a bass like this means to those of us who obsess about these fine fish so much. I am doubly glad that Mark and I were fishing together yesterday, because I know what I’m like - if I had been on my own I’d have slipped the hooks out of that bass and eased her back without measuring or weighing or photographing her. I have zero interest in setting up self-timer shots of me with fish, I won’t photograph bass lying flat on tape measures and out of the water like that, and for the most part I don’t carry scales but probably should when I am fishing on my own come to think of it! Perhaps things are simply meant to be sometimes? That bass could just as easily have taken Mark’s lure yesterday afternoon, but for whatever reason it hit mine, and that’s it really. Right place, right time and all that, but luck plays such a big part in a fish like that - and for whatever reason lady luck was on my side yesterday………...

By far my favourite moment of the whole experience yesterday

By far my favourite moment of the whole experience yesterday

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