Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

If you’re fishing the Cornish Lure Festival this weekend, please take serious care out on the rocks especially - big swell forecast……….

I’m not coming over all health and safety here, but you know my stance on lifejackets these days and what we as anglers can do to improve our chances of not getting into serious trouble out on the rocks especially. I was talking to a friend the other day who is both a very good angler as well as a dedicated surfer, and when a guy like this says holy cow there’s a serious swell on its way, you sit up and take notice…………

Now weather forecasts are what they are, and there’s a lot of talk about the precise track that Hurricane Lorenzo is going to take, but it does seem that there’s a serious swell coming in most likely Thursday evening and into Friday. As my friend pointed out, even if you take MSW’s forecast (Magic Seaweed) and cut it in half because they do tend to exaggerate the true swell and waves sizes, it’s when you’ve got these long swell periods that things can get really hairy out there on the north coast rocks especially.

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Look at Magic Seaweed’s forecast from this morning for Friday at Fistral beach in Newquay, and as I said, even if you go with half or two thirds of their projected Primary Swell, it’s those swell periods (the 19s which stands for seconds, 17s, 15s numbers) that are most alarming. When the sea is rough and messed up and relatively consistent is when you can at least allow for what is going on because you can see it all the time. When you get those long (swell) periods between such a potentially high rise and fall, as my friend said to me - that’s when things can get really dangerous out on the coastline. You think it’s okayish to be fishing close to the water and then suddenly you’ve got a wall of water coming at you because you’ve been lulled into a false sense of security with the long periods between that big rise and fall.

By no means am I pleading with you not to go out fishing in Cornwall from say Thursday evening onwards, rather I am asking that you simply use common sense and don’t be a macho tit just because the excellent Cornish Lure Festival is going on (run by the Art of Fishing tackle shop). Cornwall is a peninsular and there should be somewhere safe to go fishing if you go looking, but if I was thinking about going lure fishing on Friday, would I be planning a session up on the north coast especially? Not a bloody chance, not on that forecast. For sure there are anglers out there who know where to tuck away and do their thing, but I do worry about visiting anglers who do their lure fishing in parts of the country that don’t really get swell as such. Forecasts can of course be wrong and what’s the harm in having a look, but that is a proper lump of swell that’s meant to be coming in.


Please wear a lifejacket if you are out on the rocks especially, and I refer back to a blog post from a while back about a place in Rock where you can hire them for peanuts. If that forecast does turn out to be correct then I would suggest that being out on the north coast especially is beyond foolish whatever you’re wearing, but with how easy these modern auto-inflate lifejackets are to wear I see little point in not wearing one for a lot of our lure fishing anyway.


You will note that I have been talking about rock fishing so far, for there are of course numerous beaches around Cornwall that either do fish in surf conditions, or are waiting to be “discovered” by lure anglers. On some beaches it is perfectly possible to fish some rough conditions if you know the place well, but as with the rocks, when you’ve got a forecast like that with such a big swell period, please believe me that you need to take just as much care when going surf fishing. It’s great to be out there in amongst all that fizzy white water, but a knee deep to waist deep surge can be alarming at the best of times if you are not used to it - and if the forecast is correct then the surges on some of the beaches could be way, way more than that. When you’re out in the water anyway, your chances of running away from the surge are about zero.

If none of these forecasts come true then so be it, but I’d rather try and let those of you who don’t know Cornwall and/or swell forecasts very well what might happen over the next few days. I hope that those of you who are fishing the Cornish Lure Festival have a blast and catch some good bass. Please take it easy out there and feel free to come back on here next week and give it out to me if the forecast was completely wrong and the coastline was instead becalmed! I’d rather have said what I have said this morning and err on the side of caution here…………….