Back home from South Africa

I landed at Heathrow at about 6am on Monday morning, still dressed in shorts and a t-shirt, so it was somewhat of a shock to step out into a temperature of 6 degrees !! And then on Monday night we had a proper storm come in here in Plymouth, with really strong winds and torrential rain - another lovely welcome home as I took my dog Jess for a walk at 7am Tuesday morning, fully kitted out in waterproofs. All that after having not worn more than shorts and t-shirts or tropical shirts for nearly two weeks. I know you are feeling real sympathy for me, because I am getting none here !!

But today it is beautiful, a properly crisp, early autumn morning, with big blue skies and light winds. It is such fun to be back home with my family, for it has been a seriously hectic few weeks of being away - but this is the life we have chosen and somehow it seems to work just fine. But now that I am back, I need to spend serious time in my office and get a load of photos sorted out for magazine features. Usually I never have a load of photos stacked up, but right now I have Canada, Ireland and South Africa material waiting to be processed, and I am just beginning to shift the Irish bass fishing stuff I shot the other day. I really like being away from what I have shot for a while, and then coming back to it with a refreshed and clinical eye - we nailed some awesome stuff over there, but I can only do this because I work with good people.

Look carefully through the spray above and you will see my mate Graham Hill banging a bass lure out. Note that he is wearing some seriously good waterproofs, the Greys Apollo stuff, check here. They have a lot of new gear out at the moment, and it is really worth taking a look at these waterproofs - we tend to need them in the UK. This is the kind of photo that you hope people are really going to pick up on, but at the same time I wonder if some people are also going to worry about it presenting fishing as being perhaps a little "extreme", when in reality Graham knows exactly what he is doing and would not put himself at risk. Well, perhaps a little bit, they are bass we are chasing after all.......

Above is Andy Bignell fishing just as the tide starts to drop, and right before I came down the rope to join him. It's a very simple composition, designed to work perhaps across two pages (a double page spread or DPS) with text laid on top of it. We shall see. You never quite know how various designers will work with your material.

Talking of good material, if you come across the US fishing and hunting magazine "Traveling Sportsman", check the current issue out - this magazine looks stunning and it is seriously going places. I am proud that a 10 page feature of mine is in there (pages 80 - 89), all about fly fishing for Africa's outstanding tigerfish (check some photos here), and have a look at the magazine's website right here. If you are into good looking fishing, shooting and hunting from around the world, get this magazine.

I have also been sent a copy of one of the most impressive fishing magazines that I have ever come across, called "Fishing Wild", hailing from Australia, and the brainchild of an outstanding Aussie photographer called Col Roberts. Have a look at their website here. Take it from me, this is a publication you want to track down, and how badly does it make me want to spend some proper time in Australia ? Thanks to Col for sending me a copy - when fishing is done properly it can look out of this world, but so few people really do it properly. Fishing Wild is done properly, like the Traveling Sportsman.

Check out a cod fishing feature of mine in the current issue of Sea Angler, on pages 50 - 55. I shot this out of Poole this summer with some great guys who seriously know their stuff on the boats.

Here is Graham with a bass that he nailed on a soft plastic lure out in Ireland, the MegaBass XLayer - you can get them here. I have a feeling that we have so much to learn over here about using soft plastics for our fishing, and I don't mean simply dropping down various lures over wrecks and reefs for cod and pollack. I mean potentially catching some really good bass, wrasse and pollack from the shore on a wide range of soft plastic lures.

I was speaking with Nick from Bass Lures yesterday, and he was telling me how well they had been doing recently on the Lucky Craft Wander - they caught some really good bass recently up in North Wales, and it seems to me that very few of us over here have any real experience of this particular lure. Nick was saying that it is designed to be fished at virtually any depth you want, and that you can even walk the dog with it under the water, as you would with a Sammy or GunFish on the surface. It sinks slowly and is easy to control, either with a kind of fluttering motion, or as a sub-surface kind of slider, and you can still use it over very shallow ground without fear of snagging it up. Plenty of anglers in the US rave about this lure, see here. The Bass Lures guys are all fanatical bass anglers themselves and I take what they say very seriously indeed - so yes, you guessed it, I have found another lure I am going to have to add to my ever expanding collection. I can't wait to give it a proper go. Anyway, back to the stack of photos to process.......