Henry Gilbey
Cape Cod - 1010.jpg


Henry Gilbey blog

Heading over to France this evening

When I was at the T&G show last month, Nick Roberts of Top Water Lures and I hatched a cunning plan with the thoroughly nice guys from Fiiish, the French company that has designed and produced the Black Minnow soft plastic lures - we would try to get over to them in Brest before the end of the year to fish/photograph. Well this is it. Tonight Nick and I are jumping on the Brittany Ferries 10pm sailing from Plymouth to Roscoff, and when we arrive tomorrow morning in Roscoff we'll grab a café au lait and a croissant (gotta love France, what a wonderful country) and then head off to Brest in north west Brittany to meet up with the Fiiish guys and then take it from there. This is one of those times that living in the south west actually makes for an easier journey. And yes, I am a little bit excited !! Not sure if Nick has slept all week either............

You know that I travel a fair amount for my work, and while I find flying the most incredible thing (still gets me for example that you can depart Heathrow in the evening, have a somewhat cramped bite of something pretty disgusting to eat, pop a sleeping pill and wake up with more cramp a few hours before touching down in South Africa), there's no getting away from the fact that cattle class travel is no more than a way of getting to your destination as cheaply and quickly as possible - you endure it. But I still tend to get pretty excited about travelling on ferries, and especially if they are really good ones like the StenaLine Fishguard to Rosslare ferry and of course the Brittany Ferries Plymouth to Roscoff ferry that I have been on before. I should probably be all clinical and detached about travelling on a ferry, but I can't help but love it. So civilised compared to flying, and it still gives me a thrill that I can pack my car with as much gear as I want and not have to worry about airline restrictions and whether my bags even turn up the other end or not.

Anyway, enough of my peculiar travel likes and dislikes. If the weather lets us, the plan is to head over on the Fiiish boat to the small island of Ile D'Ouessant which lies off the north west corner of Brittany. At this time of year and with the big spring tides building there is every chance we hear of some pretty serious bass fishing. Obviously the lads will be concentrating on using the various sizes of the killer Black Minnows, and of course I am hoping we might get a sneak preview of the next Fiiish products coming out. I have never photographed the way the French anglers tend to approach a lot of their boat fishing for bass and indeed some big pollack as well (akin to a kind of slower vertical jigging I believe), so I'll be on a big learning curve for sure. I have seen some photos of the kinds of waters we might end up fishing/photographing and it looks like some pretty serious currents, rips and terrain. If the weather misbehaves the Fiiish guys have loads of backup options to tuck away if needs be all around the Brittany coastline, and whatever happens it's always pretty cool to head over to France and spend a bit of time there. I love the country and I love meeting new people and learning about different kinds of fishing - what's not to like about doing different stuff ?

I have no idea about internet access where we are going, but if I can get wi-fi then I will try and keep the blog updated. Nick and I are heading back to Plymouth on the Friday afternoon Brittany Ferries sailing from Roscoff, so if you don't hear from me this week then I got no internet access and I'll get some stuff up on my return. It's a huge punt going over to photograph at this time of year, but what can you do but take a gamble and hope it works out ok. As much as the trip will be based primarily around boat fishing, I am also hoping to learn a bit more about the whole French shore fishing thing. Surely islands like Ile D'Oeussant and Ile de Sein further south must have some pretty cool shore fishing at certain times of the year ? I really enjoyed visiting Belle Ile a few years ago and I feel that there has to be a load of lure fishing in France that we could be finding out about. I keep in touch with a thoroughly nice Welsh lure nut who has moved to France for a while with his equally fishing mad son and I see they are catching some awesome bass from time to time. I know that so much of the bass fishing in France is done from the boats, but does this mean that there is potentially a load of shore fishing around that perhaps is not being fully explored, or am I barking up the wrong tree ? We shall see, but I had best get on and pack my bags...............