Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

How can the one species of fish be so endlessly fascinating and absorbing?

I dread to think what the percentage is of my life that I spend thinking about fishing, and then because bass fishing has so utterly consumed me, a large part of my life is obviously spent obsessing about a single species of fish that firstly I used to catch by mistake and think little of it back in my mainly bait days, and secondly if you had told me even fifteen years ago that I’d be like I am now I would have refused to believe that this was possible………….


What the hell is it about bass then? It sure can’t be their sheer size when we have a number of saltwater species of fish that I would argue are somewhat easier to land in generally bigger sizes than a lot of bass we might catch, and as much as I love how bass often scrap, it’s not as if in our colder waters we are beset with plenty of species which might run us down to our backing with their sheer speed and power. So what on earth is it then? 

Well you can probably guess that I woke up nice and early this morning thinking about this, and my current thinking on this subject is that it’s an intoxicating mix of where and how that has allowed chasing bass to creep up on me to the point that I will often go for long periods of fishing for nothing else. 

Where and how, that’s the crux for me, and I wonder how many anglers are in a similar boat to me here - you know these fish are around, you sometimes catch them as a byproduct of chasing something else, but for whatever reason you start having a go at this whole lure fishing thing and then over time a whole new world of fishing opens up to you. Lure fishing in essence may well be simply putting artificial imitations in front of fish, but let’s be honest here and think back a bit in your fishing life and where lure fishing may have come into it - did you have even an inkling that there could be so much fun and interesting stuff involved in what at first looks like nothing more than chucking bits of plastic or metal out there?

Which in essence lure fishing is, but it’s how much there can be to it that I had no idea about when I first started to buzz about lure fishing for bass over in south east Ireland especially. Even if a few bass used to sometimes jump on my baits when I was targeting something else, I didn’t have a clue about how many different places you could go and target bass - and I am talking about different countries as well as different terrains here. I can distinctly remember being pretty amazed when I found out there bass fishing was big in countries such as France, Spain and Portugal for example, and I love thinking back to how we would chuck lures such as that killer Maria Chase BW from rock marks in south east Ireland, but change over to bait fishing when we targeted an estuary because we didn’t really know how to properly target that kind of water with lures.


Don’t get me wrong though, those times I spent running crab baits down an Irish estuary with Graham was some of the most glorious fishing I have ever been lucky enough to be a part of, but it was lure fishing that started to take over for me. I just had no idea that the one species of fish could demand such a variety of methods and techniques if you had an interest in targeting them from different locations and terrains (which I do) - and as much as I hope I have learnt a fair bit over the last few years about targeting bass on lures, what does it for me so much is how my brain is still buzzing with how much more stuff there is to learn and play around with.

If there is one thing that cabin fever does is it’s getting my brain ticking about how I might shake my own fishing up a bit, and then with the amount of often really good fishing “chat” online especially, how exciting it is to stumble upon different ways of doing things and then thinking about how you might incorporate such and such into your own fishing. I just love it. 


As a simple example, I can think of a few specific times last year when out and out distance did in fact pay off, and on a couple of occasions especially it was a simple metal (spinner, casting jig or whatever) that did the trick. Discussions get going online and because a lot of anglers are very generous with their own thoughts and info as regards techniques and methods, you can’t help but start thinking all over again about what a range of different metals could do for your fishing for example - I think about those technical slow jigs for example and how there are now a whole bunch now that are the right weights for shore fishing and I wonder if these might catch me some bass in certain situations where something else might not have in the past? And so on and so on.

As much as I like to think I have a lot of the bass fishing fairly well covered as such around where I live, in reality there is such a huge amount more to learn that I am left wondering where on earth the time is to do so. I think about such wonderful countries like Spain and Portugal and I know that I need to at least spend a little bit of time experiencing some of their bass fishing because it floats my boat so much to see different places, spend time with different anglers, and come away with new ideas and memories and plans - which in a way comes full circle with this species of fish we call bass. Isn’t it amazing how the one species can do all this to so many of us here? Can you imagine how much better it could be if we had a properly healthy fishery for bass as well?