Henry Gilbey
Cape Cod - 1010.jpg


Henry Gilbey blog

It creatively breaks my heart when I need to shoot grip and grins like these, but what choice do we have?

Fishing and photography, photography and fishing - in some respects they are the same to me, as in I love fishing and photography with a passion that some would call an obsession. Taking photographs of fishing is a big part of my work, but my desire to show fishing off in the best possible light has always gone way beyond the financial need to pay the bills and look after my family. I am a self-taught photographer and nothing floats my boat more than when every single thing comes together and fishing looks as good as we all know it can…………


So if we take out my non-bass fishing photography and for the most part not really having to worry much about what I include in my photos, the simple fact is that we live on an island that really isn’t very big and we’ve got entirely too many people on it as it is - and it seems to me that there are more and more anglers getting into all kinds of lure fishing. This in turn means that there are more and more anglers looking for places to go fishing. Mix this with social media and how easy it is to share information these days and then the unavoidable issue that by divulging certain fishing spots we risk a number of things that don’t sit well with me. I would argue that never more so have we needed to try and protect where we go fishing.


Is it selfish to do this? In some respects perhaps it is, but then surely a big part of fishing is getting out there and exploring and experimenting and also meeting other like minded anglers and sometimes swapping tit bits of info and so on - instead of latching onto where a fish has already been caught. I personally don’t particularly want to end up lure fishing with a heap of other anglers for any number of reasons - and I happen to increasingly believe that in calmer conditions especially that too many lures hitting the water can and does spook the hell out of bass - but then I also continue to like how the majority of human beings seem to be pretty lazy and don’t like walking or scrambling very far.


And as much as shooting angler plus fish - the grip and grin - is a shot that I need to shoot for a bunch of different reasons, annoyingly I am so often looking around to check what I can and can’t get away with showing. The grip and grin photo often looks better shot with a wider angle lens, and a wider angle field of view shows more of the background off - and for the most part here in the UK and Ireland I am trying not to show where we are! I wish it didn’t need to be like this, but in my case I have also been entrusted with a lot of information on some places and I feel duty-bound to do my absolute best not to “blow” that mark. And yes, as you can guess I have had some unpleasant anglers give me some unpleasant grief over the years, but hey ho, so is life.


Now sometimes the angle of the light and where we are allows me to shoot a half-decent grip and grin like the photo above. It ain’t going to win any awards as such, but it’s showing the fish off in some nice light and it gives a sense of the kind of ground we are fishing - without showing where are actually fishing though, unless you actually fish there already and know those exact rocks!


And then sometimes the angle of the light and where we are kinda kills my options big time! You can rest assured that 99% of the time when you see a grip and grin like the shot above that I am very deliberately hiding all traces of where we are because I have no other options. For sure I can also get some nice close ups of the fish and so on, but when it comes to angler plus fish and the light and location I sometimes have very little choice but to shoot how you see above - and it breaks my heart! 


It’s actually a good way to shoot grip and grins when the light is poor (as per above) for a number of technical photography reasons, but when you’ve got a nice drop of light and a decent sky and you could be showing the fish off against all that glorious backdrop but you can’t for the reasons I have laid out - inside I am crying! I need to do it and I accept why, but creatively it kinda breaks my heart……..