Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

Is it wrong to admit when you're scared ?

There was a point yesterday when Nick and I turned to each other, smiled bravely, and both admitted to being scared witless. Is that wrong ? Do men admit to being scared ? Was it wrong to hold hands in our moment of distress ? (ok, we didn't really hold hands, but it was close !!). I would be amazed if anybody who has never been in the middle of the seething maelstrom that we were in at one point yesterday did not get the fear, and I have no problem admitting to my fear - fishing never ceases to amaze me. It's impossible to really put across what we are seeing out at sea into a photograph, but hopefully in the one above you can get a slight sense why for a while yesterday Nick and I were "a little scared"/terrified. I never for one second thought I would ever be out in water like that, but holy cow does this Fiiish designer Matt know what he's doing in a boat, and holy cow are these RIBs some amazing boats. What a place...............

So far we have not caught any large bass, say up to around the 5lb mark, but the waters around here are literally crawling with pollack of all sizes - I have been told of fish up around the 30lb mark that have been taken on lures, and there are some proper bass around sometimes - perhaps today ? It's hardly rocket science to say that these Black Minnows are hammering the fish in serious numbers, but far more than that for me it's my first chance to see how some of these French lure anglers go about their boat fishing, and also how stark raving mad these waters are around Ouessant as it's most commonly called. It's November and there has hardly been a breath of wind, but I have not seen swells this large since the first time I ever went to Ireland and stood in wonder at the sheer volume of water moving up and down off the coast of Clare. Honestly, this experience is up there for me near the top of the list. There can be few coastlines as awesomely brutal and rugged as the one that wraps around this island, and to watch the currents pour through like rivers and the swell crash and smash over the rocks, islands, lighthouses is to be taken back and reminded just how we ain't ever even close to taming nature. It's gloriously humbling. To drop down and smash a heap of fish amongst this kind of stuff is a proper thrill - if on a few occasions a little disconcerting to be honest with you, although at the same time I know we have a skipper who is at one with his boat and with reading the water, and who knows when to gun the throttle and get the hell out of a wave that is starting to break almost overhead behind you !!

As with so much boat fishing that I have done in the past, it's the skipper who is the skilful one. Nick and I are simply fishing these lures how Matt is, and of course it's Matt who is handling the boat, putting us on the fish and getting us the hell out of dodge when required. If there is one thing I am going to do it's to get back here to Ouessant for some big winter storms with my camera gear because I reckon it must be about as impressive as nature gets. Many of you I am sure have seen that famous photo of the lighthouse with the lighthouse keeper outside the door while a huge wave is breaking around the structure (shot from a helicopter I must presume) - well we were hammering pollack around that lighthouse yesterday and even then there were serious waves breaking around it. Can you imagine how awesome it would be to be inside that lighthouse when a proper gale builds up ?

Nick and I also got a brief look at the new Fiiish prototype lure when we were hammering fish off the north west coastline yesterday morning, and to give Matt his dues he dropped down and nailed a pollack straight away on it. More than that though was the chance to see the new lure "swim" in the water - really, Nick and I didn't get all excited !! If the Fiiish guys bring this to market in the way that they are talking about then I reckon they could be on to another winner. Sure, I bet the fish out there on Ouessant would jump all over any number of different lures, but the fact is that this is a work trip for me which is concentrating on the Black Minnow line-up and it's great to get photos of them in action. The little fish in the middle of the two lures above was spewed up by a pollack yesterday morning and I guess you can see where Matt got a lot of his inspiration for when it came to the Black Minnow. Anyway, I had better get my gear sorted and be ready to venture out once more and wear gloves in case Nick tries to hold my hand again in moments of terror................apparently it's ok when you're away from home and on a boat ?

Henry Gilbey10 Comments