Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

Fishing on islands

I have always had a thing for fishing on islands - I am not sure why this is the case, but I guess the idea of being slightly cut off and even further away from what we might call "civilisation" appeals to me. I will never forget spending a day over on Dursey island on the west coast of Ireland for a TV show we made a while back. I don't remember any particularly big fish, but I do always remember the sense of adventure at getting that ropey cable car over there and then walking until we found somewhere that looked worth fishing. If you want to fish this part of the world, I would seriously recommend reading this photo essay here on my website, and then contacting the people whose details I have put in there.

How about the insane cod and coalfish fishing we filmed off the coast of Norway on the tiny island of Rost ? See what I mean ? A long way from lots of people and the fishing was off the scale it was so good. Check out a load of photos here if you don't believe me.

The photo you can see above was shot early one morning last year on the Minquiers, a huge reef system that lies a few miles off the coast of Jersey. I have been in love with the different Channel Islands for years now, and there are plenty of smaller islands around them that can be accessed and fished if you know what you are doing or go with experienced people (if you have seen me trying to navigate a boat, you will know why I choose the latter option !!). I have dreamed of going to the Minquiers for ages, and it was a huge thrill to spend a night out there. Check out how good that water looks for bass fishing - it was tough when we were out there, but anybody with half a brain is going to get excited about tide, reefs, islands, rips and eddies when it comes to bass fishing.

Above is Jersey bass-freak Trevor Sangan fishing a popper off the back of the little island we stayed on at the Minquiers. What a perfect morning. There is also the famous Ecrehous reef system that lies off Jersey, plus numerous others. The bass guys over there have got access to such a vast area of fishable waters. I know that they guys here are always happy to help out with local advice, and they stock the rods, reels and lures that smash the bass big time.

It just so happens that this exploratory French bass fishing/photography trip of mine that I am in the process of planning will most likely be based around an island or two. Perhaps the fact that islands get me going to much is partly down to the fact that you have to cross water to get to them, and that crossing of water always gives me that slightly increased sense of adventure. I don't care if it involves a boat, a ferry, a plane, a kayak or even a bit of a swim (preferably not), that crossing from the mainland over to an island always increases the heart rate. Fishing is an exciting thing to do in my book.

I can't talk about islands without mentioning one of the most stunning places on earth - the Isles of Scilly. OK, so they don't have bass fishing, but they have insane shore fishing for species like mullet (monsters), pollack, huss, wrasse, conger etc. Accessing the different islands out there is like entering a new world every day. It's been too long......

And on a different note, I watched a programme last night about the English 2003 Rugby World Cup campaign - mainly to remind myself of how great we once were, and to try and rid myself of all this heartache at being an English rugby supporter at the moment. The emotion of those days came flooding back and I think my wife caught me wiping the odd tear from the corner of my eyes - "got a bit of dust in there". She thinks I'm mad, but those were the days were they not ? We were world beaters once, with a team full of awesome rugby players who could do what it took under the severest of pressure. Can we ever be like that again ?

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