Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

If this isn’t what fishing is all about then I don’t know what is, or how do you show how happy fishing can make people feel?

For all the beautiful places and wonderful light that fishing can put us right in the middle of, I often wonder how one goes about quite simply showing the sheer joy and happiness that fishing can give to people? For sure a particularly big fish tends to bring about a few beaming smiles, and for me fishing is always going to be so much about a mix of location, light, people and fish, but how do you go about showing the actual joy of fishing? The thrill, the excitement, the happiness and those heart pumping moments when you’re right in the middle of actually fishing and not simply cradling the piscatorial result of a particularly good session for example?

Now if there is one thing I very rarely if ever do is crop my photos, save for straightening the odd wonky horizon if needs be (what, surely not?!) and then cropping down to lose the dead edges as such. I shoot what I am trying to show rather than shoot deliberately to crop if that makes sense. But I was fishing on Saturday morning up on the north coast of Cornwall and we had a few nice fish in some conditions that were about as good as you could ever hope to see for where we were fishing - which then made Sunday blowing up so bloody hard as it did all the more frustrating…………


Anyway, so I’m lined up on Charlie above, shooting a few photos at 200mm and f4, and for three specific reasons - firstly it’s not one of those days when the light screams shoot big and wide, secondly I have to be careful not to shoot certain landmarks and thus divulge where we were fishing for any number of reasons, and thirdly I want to show Charlie the angler off as the main subject of the photo more than the location and/or the light. Sure, I want to put him in the middle of some rather lovely tumbling sea conditions, but I’m trying to shoot a pure fishing photo rather than a mix of angler in the middle of the landscape kind of thing.


And then Charlie goes and hooks a fish, as per the photo above. I don’t own a lens longer than my Fuji 50-140mm f2.8 (70-200mm equivalent) - it’s an amazing lens and I can’t ever imagine being without a 70-200 lens, but I don’t really need anything much longer, or if I do, it’s very rarely and I don’t want to be carrying more camera gear than I already am when I go out fishing. I can’t actually get much closer to Charlie than I already am and to be honest I am more than happy with the simple photo above from Sunday morning - angler genuinely into a bass, nice bend in the rod, I love the wintry looking colour of the water, and I like the fact that there’s a bit of a wave crashing into Charlie as he plays the bass which he had just hooked on a Fiiish Black Minnow (which he is rather good at fishing over shallow reefs).

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Anyway, I was editing my photos from Sunday morning and checking that the subject here (Charlie) was pin sharp, and as I was zoomed in at 100% to do this I noticed the look on his face as per above. As I said, I don’t crop my photos, but Charlie’s face was such a picture of pure joy and happiness and thrill and excitement that I thought it would be fun to crop right in and give you a better look at it for the purposes of this blog post. For all that I love to shoot anglers in good looking places with a lovely bit of light, I wonder if Charlie’s face in fact says it all - the pure joy and happiness that fishing can give to an angler.

I am sure as an angler you often get asked why on earth you love fishing so much, and any angler of course knows that it’s a kind of an impossible question to answer - so I wonder if Charlie’s face at hooking into that rather nice bass as per below is quite simply the reason why I go fishing? Is there much more that needs to be said about how special going fishing really is?