Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

Can anything fry your brain like fishing ?

I love fishing, you love it, we all love it. We go fishing for most likely a hundred different reasons yet most of us I am sure would struggle to really answer why we actually do it. I have always stood by the fact that fishing is either a part of you or it isn't, but if you stop and think about the flipside for a while, is there anything else out there that can mess with your head as much as fishing can ? They say that there is a fine line between love and hate, and while of course I have never come close to hating fishing, sometimes I think that this thing I do that I so love is one day going to cause my head to boil over..........

The more I fall for the whole bass fishing "vibe", the more I am coming to believe that it's a quest for perfection, and that because we are dealing with nature and its very unpredictability, it is of course going to get the better of us on plenty of occasions. When I talk about perfection though, I am not for one second talking about our techniques or tackle, rather that we are always on the hunt for every single thing to come together in such a way that our brains don't get fried.

Take my recent trip over to Ireland. I am seeking a set of perfect weather and sea conditions to coincide with the spring tides that then hopefully coincide with a bunch of bigger bass being around and about and on the hunt for food. All I can do is to set aside the tides, sort out my travel and accommodation, and then hope that most of these factors come together to give us the kind of bass fishing that I know Ireland can and does produce. Sometimes we get really lucky and every single thing seems to come together and you clean up to such an extent that you're left pretty shell-shocked at how awesome it can be. Sometimes various factors come together well enough to produce what could still be termed pretty awesome fishing, but you know inside that there are still those "out there" days which happen from time to time. And sometimes of course you get very few factors coming together at all and you struggle to do well. Yes, it fries my brain, but not remotely because I think I deserve anything, rather because I accept completely that we are at the mercy of the force that is nature, yet at the same time I know how good the fishing can be when nature looks kindly upon us.

You fish these spots that you have seen fire and it breaks my balls that in your head are these vivid memories of what has happened before - but of course it's the way it is and we hope eternally because we are anglers. I dread to think how badly Del's brain was fried with all the stories of what has happened bass wise from the many different locations we went to. We fished for six days over in Ireland and to be honest I would have only fished for bass with lures on one of them if I was living over there - but as I said the other day, we are visitors on a fishing trip and we're trying all we can to get one up on nature and not fry our brains at the same time. We caught a few fish in some pretty ordinary conditions which I must admit gives me a certain amount of satisfaction, and bear in mind also that I am after interesting light for my photography - either it's double brain frying or else it's so much excitement combined that my head's going to burst anyway !!

Del stayed with us on Wednesday night before heading back to the Isles of Scilly yesterday afternoon, and yesterday morning at breakfast he admitted that he had dreamt about the fish he lost the other morning, only in his dream the bass went left instead of right and all ended happily. Now that kind of stuff fries my brain like you would believe. I used to obsess with trying to land a big conger eel from the shore, and when I lost a huge fish on the surface one night I remember being haunted in my dreams for at least six months afterwards. I then had the hook pull on another monster when we were filming a TV programme out in Alderney and my head nearly came off my shoulders with the frustration. I feel for Del like you would not believe, but he knows what fishing's all about and although I know he is beating himself up inside and frying his brain with what he might have done differently, at the end of the day I do firmly believe that some things are just not meant to be. I don't mind admitting when I have messed up on a fish, and I was right there when Del hooked the bass and I can not think of one single thing that I might have done differently - as if I am any better qualified anyway, but it's only natural to look at a situation and think how you yourself might have approached it. If fishing is the pursuit of perfection, then by perfection's nature there has to be a strong element of luck, and sometimes luck just ain't on your side. And then of course there's sod's law and the fact that Ger and Eric smashed the bass the day Del and I were travelling back to the UK, and Ger was torn up by a fish that he just could not stop - bearing in mind that the bloke has most likely had more big bass in his lifetime than bass of any size that I have personally caught. Another perfectly good way to fry my brain knowing that we were travelling back when that kind of bass fishing was going on - but holy cow does it keep my desire burning strong. Love and hate. Fishing and brain frying. Does anything keep you coming back for more like this thing we do ?