Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

Huge fun or bloody stupid? (sort of a Friday Rant)

Watch the above short fishing video and then sit back and think about it - what is your first reaction? Wow I love the look of that stuff and I would kill to do it, or crumbs those guys are stupid to be doing that stuff, let alone videoing it and putting it up on YouTube...........

Well my opinion is holy frigging cow that fishing looks awesome and how much would I give to see, do and photograph some of that!! It's how fishing should be to me - fun, adventurous, risky, potentially a bit dangerous, addictive, in your face even, hell, I take my hat off to those nutters for doing what they do, videoing it, cutting it, and getting it out there for the world to see. Outstanding stuff if you ask me and I wish we saw more of it in fishing.

But I have seen various other reactions to this video, more along the lines of stupid people who should know better etc. Now I understand this point of view completely even if I categorically disagree with it, and for me it comes down to the modern obsession with health and safety and trying to remove any kind of risk from anything that we might do, together with this strange urge to then try to damn those people who delight in living their lives a little more on the edge.

Did any of them get hurt making that video/doing that sort of fishing? I would expect so, but so what? It's up to them. They look like some pretty hardcore anglers who are loving what they are doing, and the sort of fishing they are doing in that video is surely what any keen lure angler would want to be doing - strong, powerful fish that pull proper string. OK, so I don't personally want to start jumping in to land my fish, but it bothers me not for one second that they are doing it, and good on them I reckon for making fishing look more edgy.

Hang on though, isn't it terribly irresponsible to make fishing videos that show something potentially dangerous going on? Well the health and safely police would probably say yes. Hell, if we had gone by the book when we were filming we would not have been able to do half of what we ended up doing - and of course that was somewhat tame in comparison with this video. But do you care that what these nutters are doing might be putting the "wrong" message across? Is it "wrong" to take risks? They have chosen to target those big fish, they look like some young lads, and they look like they are having plenty of fun doing what they are doing. Why not shout out to the world about it and at the same time trust that there is just about enough intelligence out there to make up your own mind about what you choose to do or not do? I used to love watching some of the Jackass stuff, but did I then want to go inserting a plastic toy up my rectum?

Never for one second will I ever understand this obsession with trying to remove all risk (fun) from life. When we go to the beach as a family and one of my girls falls off a rock she is trying to climb up for example, do I then need to rush over and make the situation worse by fussing over her? No way - unless she is properly hurt of course, but kids are actually pretty resilient are they not? I would lay down my life for my girls, but I firmly believe in them learning to play without parental fussing (I believe it's called helicopter parenting?), having loads of rough and tumble sort of fun, taking some risks, picking themselves back up again, and of course as a result, learning from their mistakes. If we do it all for them, how do they ever learn? And yes, I have had "the look" from other disapproving parents!! And yes, it makes me proud that my youngest girl runs away from the dreaded First Aid at school because it takes away from her playtime. My eldest was smacked in the face by the boom when she was out sailing after school the other evening and she just got on with finishing the course. It's what kids are meant to do isn't it?

In my position as a fishing journalist, should I be the one to say how irresponsible those lads are in the video? Should I hell. I celebrate what they are doing because I think it makes fishing look exciting, and I am just not going to stand there tutting away and trying to stop people doing what they want to do. I believe that we make our own decisions and we stand or fall by them. If you watch that video and next time you go lure fishing you decide to jump in and get into all kinds of trouble, well one must be blunt and ask why on earth you went and did it. I don't want people getting hurt, but on the other hand I passionately believe in fronting up, making your own decisions, and then not blaming others if something goes wrong that was your doing. Come on, tell me you don't want a piece of that fishing..................