Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

Do we tend to default to fishing the same spots with the same lures because it’s worked before, but could a change work better?

Monday’s blog post really got me thinking, and not just because Charlie landed that fine fish before the end of March. As his mate Jody said to me on Facebook, he could literally hear my brain buzzing away! I am endlessly fascinated by how different anglers approach different locations, and whilst there are of course endless ways to skin the proverbial cat in lure fishing for bass, surely you’re in the same boat as me here in that you can’t help but often default to the lures and methods that have worked at so and so place before……….

But is that always the best approach? Just because so and so lure or technique has worked there in the past, does it mean that it’s going to this time around? It might well of course, but then how often are you either blanking or the fishing isn’t nearly as good as conditions suggest and a change of method goes and produces the goods? If I had been fishing with Charlie and Jody when he caught that bass the other day, how would I have been fishing and would it have worked? If there is one thing fishing throws up it’s questions, and I love thinking about the various answers and potential solutions to the eternal conundrums.


And because Charlie happened to catch his fine fish on a Fiiish Black Minnow, it takes me back to an earlyish season session three of us had around here in south east Cornwall a few years back. You know me well enough by now I hope to know that I have less than zero interest in boasting about the fish I might (or might not!) catch, but this one session has always stuck in my head for a number of reasons. At the time Nikon UK had loaned me a new DSLR camera to see if I liked it, the sea conditions were stunning, the light was kinda harsh but it worked with the swell and crashing white water rolling in, and you could literally smell the bass - but the bloody things were resolutely not playing ball, and with the photos of the lads fishing it was frying my brain that I didn’t have a grip and grin of angler plus bass to tie it all in.

Now this particular spot is a bit of rock running out to mainly sandy ground, but when there’s a bit of bounce on it can sometimes fish well with the rip currents that are created. In the past we have done well here on your regular sort of hard lures that get out there and grip in - Hound Glides, Tide Minnows, Sasukes etc., I know Mark has done well with this beloved Feed Shallow, and so on. It’s a classic place to punch regular diving minnows out there and swim them back in, but on this particular day with all that good stuff coming together for me and my photos the sodding fish weren’t having it at all.


Bear in mind that I haven’t fished yet. I get as much of a kick from photographing fishing as I do actually fishing, and if there’s a bass or two swimming around then I trust the guys who are fishing will nail them. I had my fishing gear with me, but messing around with a new camera when there’s lovely white water crashing around and it’s hard for me to put the photography gear down and pick up my fishing rod.

But still no bass, and whilst a blank session is always a possibility, from previous days around “our” coastline we knew there were fish around, and with the tides and conditions we had there simply have to be at least a bass in front of us - but the guys weren’t connecting. Out went those hard lures that we’d usually fish on this mark, but not a frigging sniff.

So it gets to the stage when I can’t not fish because it’s perplexing me so much! As I said earlier, in no way am I trying to tell you how my managing to catch a bass makes me a hero, rather it would have been somewhat daft for me to put down my camera gear, pick up my lure rod, and whack out the same kind of lure that the other two were fishing with when those lures obviously weren’t working today for whatever reason. By photographing fishing I get the benefit of watching anglers fish, and whilst it’s very easy to get almost stuck in the moment and persist with lures or techniques because they have worked here before, my detachment if you like on that particular day told me to try something different to at least see if I could get a sniff of a fish.

Now I’d like to say I picked out a 12g/120mm Fiiish Black Minnow because I had thought all about wind, tide, current and light conditions, but in truth I had a box full of diving minnows, a couple of surface lures no doubt, and then a few Black Minnows happened to be my something a bit different - and I can remember the new at the time Khaki Glitter colour and really wanting to try it. On it went.


So out it goes, and I am sure you can guess what happens next. I feel the Black Minnow hit the sandy bottom and I start that controlled sort of sink and draw retrieve - and sod’s bloody law on that first cast I go and get nailed by a nice bass which I manage to land and Mark is kind enough to hold the fish for a few photos. We only got the one fish that session, but it’s always stuck out to me as a simple example of doing something different to how you’d have usually done it which went and worked on that occasion. I had the benefit if you like of watching/photographing two good anglers not catching and thus showing me the way if you like, so me changing my approach was a no-brainer and I am not remotely claiming any kind of victory! But how often does standing back and then changing things up go and produce some fish?

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