Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

Being comprehensively outfished doesn’t bother me one bit if I come away from the experience a better angler

And I would suggest that yesterday was a classic example of this. I caught the one bass and a lump of a wrasse, whereas Nick must have landed at least eight bass, but holy cow did I learn a lot of new stuff, and without a doubt I have come away a better overall bass angler. Nothing floats my boat more in my work than meeting and spending time with highly skilled anglers from all around the world and then learning about their fishing and understanding what makes them tick………….


I left my house at 4.30am yesterday morning to head for a stretch of the north Cornish coastline that I don’t know at all, and this lad Nick fishes a bunch of spots that seem to very rarely see other anglers - perhaps because most of these places he treks down to are properly difficult to access, and I make no bones about it, I got a serious case of the fear when we were coming back up and out of the first spot, and oh how I wish I could have four legs like my sheepdog Storm who was having a blast! Nothing yet has changed my opinion that most people don’t like a good yomp for their fishing, and I guess that saves a lot of our coastline for those of us who welcome a trek.


Anyway, to cut a long story short, I learnt a lot yesterday about a lot of bass related lure fishing, and I find it absolutely fascinating to be around good anglers who are so knowledgeable about their local area and have essentially had no choice but to adapt their gear and general lure fishing techniques to better suit their local fishing. I am not talking about a radically different approach, rather it’s a mix of obviously having really thought about things, and then understanding that every day is different and being able to adapt to it - as Nick did so well yesterday.

I found out very quickly for example that however much I might love and obsess over the 6’’ OSP DoLive Stick, yesterday the bass were feeding that bit deeper down, and with the side wind plus swell I simply could not get a soft plastic rigged weedless and weightless down to the fish and fish it there for any meaningful length of time. I changed over to a 120mm Fiiish Black Minnow with that lovely new 18g “Search” jig head and pretty quickly got a hit on the drop and then saw a proper bass turn on the lure right on top of a set of light coloured rocks. I think I might have dropped a little bit of bad language at that precise moment!


A lure that I know works for a number of lure anglers but I simply have hardly ever used is the Savage Gear Sandeel, and yesterday Nick gave me a masterclass in how to fish this lure over the sort of ground and conditions he faces. Fishing new places and meeting other anglers to me is so much about watching how these guys fish, and whilst you can of course whack a lure like the Savage Gear Sandeel out and crank it straight back in, it’s how Nick was systematically searching the ground and the water column and changing lure body colour until he found the fish that really got me thinking and learning. Purchasing is required on my behalf.


Whilst no really big bass were landed yesterday, I have seen the photos of the many lumps that Nick has landed from his stretch of coastline, and we are talking about some serious bass from some serious ground that stays delightfully quiet and untouched. I have seen some photos of some 10lb plus bass, put it that way. Nick and I were talking about various hard lures that he might use when required, and he was raving about how many of the killer IMA Sasuke lures he owns and uses and catches on, so I clipped on an IMA Sasuke 120 that I had with me and caught a bass around the 4lb mark from some fizzed up water in amongst some seriously gnarly ground that simply had to have had a fish or two nosing around. I then thought I’d try and search more of the water column and put that 120mm/18g Search head Fiiish Black Minnow combination on and hooked that lump of a wrasse above instead. Thanks Nick for grabbing it in that swell.


Yesterday for me was about learning more about lure fishing via my comprehensively being outfished by a highly skilled angler who knows far more than me about this particular style of bass fishing. I get the sense it really bothers some anglers if they are outfished on the day, and whilst I am by nature a competitive person, for some reason fishing just doesn’t bring out that side of me at all. If there’s a few fish about and I can get the photos I need plus I come away having learnt more about this glorious pastime that so many of obsess about, then how on earth could I remotely worry about somebody catching more fish than me? Thanks so much Nick for the most awesome day.

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