Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

How good did that feel! First cast after two weeks without fishing and I caught a bass……..

I drove all the way across Ireland and Wales on Sunday and then crawled into bed at 3am on Monday morning here in Cornwall, only to wake up at 6am thinking about fishing! I can function on not a lot of sleep, but what frustrated me the most was that I had checked the tides and conditions for here at home before I left Kerry and I was targeting a night session on Monday night - which went out of the window when I couldn’t stay away awake until it got nice and dark……………..


So last night was the night before the tides got too small for where I was thinking about. I absolutely love this guiding work I do over in Kerry with John Quinlan, but nothing has changed my opinion since I started working around professional guides with my cameras many moons ago now - guides don’t fish when they are guiding, indeed if I booked any kind of fishing guide and they fished with me then I wouldn’t pay them. It is the most profoundly satisfying thing to be able to help other anglers with their fishing and to catch a few fish, but fishing guides are not being paid to go fishing.

Which of course means that via my couple of weeks in the magical part of the world that is Kerry, I hadn’t actually done any fishing myself. I badly needed to go but I couldn’t stay awake for a session on Monday night, so it had to be Tuesday. I took my youngest girl over to a running session in Plymouth (nutter), got back home, packed up my gear, and then waited until it was both dark and high water to head out. Anticipation levels were high to put it mildly, but you know exactly what it’s like when you simply need to go fishing like an itch that needs to be scratched. Via my photography trips away when I don’t tend to fish it doesn’t stress me out at all watching our anglers catch fish when I am not, but I’m an angler and at the end of the day I do need to go fishing at some point in time.


More often than not I’d have clipped a white senko or a white DoLive Stick on first for where I went out fishing last night, but when I got there the swell was somewhat larger than I had anticipated and the logical lure to me was a needlefish which would get me right out there and deal with the conditions a bit better. I was standing on a part of the beach that has done well for me before, Storm was close by, and out went my first cast - damn this feels good!

These particular needlefish which I have been using a lot this year cast like a dream and have caught me plenty of fish, and blow me down if about ten turns into my first retrieve last night I didn’t feel a glorious tap, tap, bang through the rod and into my eager hands and arms. I lifted into the fish and those two weeks of not fishing melted away the moment my rod bent over and I felt that wonderfully familiar feeling all over again. Okay, so the bass was only a couple of pounds, but damn it felt good. I was fishing again, and some fishing god up there in the night sky was obviously giving me a bit of a break.

A while later I landed a bass perhaps nudging the 4lb mark, again as far out as I could put this particular needlefish, but then the thunder and lightning started - it was forecast but I went out fishing hoping it was wrong, as one does - and I am not really that keen on standing out there with a 9’ length of mighty fine Japanese carbon in my hands. Storm and I headed for home and I couldn’t get to sleep for ages because my head was churning away. I have been fishing now for thirty nine years and this thing we do is still coursing through my veins like the longest lasting high imaginable. Long may it continue………...

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