Henry Gilbey
Cape Cod - 1010.jpg


Henry Gilbey blog

I've never felt so under pressure to catch a fish in my life

Really needing to catch a fish for a TV programme or a magazine feature ? Easy when compared to yesterday. The proverbial walk in the park. Talk about a pressure situation out on the rocks yesterday, and I very badly needed to catch a wrasse or two. We're on St. Agnes, one of the off islands in the perfectly magical Isles of Scilly. I've headed off wrassing and landed a few, but my girls were back on the beach and never saw me actually catch them. When they turned up on the rocks for a picnic lunch, me saying "girls, Dad caught a few before you turned up" simply doesn't cut it. They need to see the proof, and the proof was returned. Del and his mate Neil from Bryher (another of the islands and another wrasse heaven) then found us on the rocks and we all trundled off to do a bit more fishing.

So almost immediately Neil and then Del are into some wrasse. While I'm not. My girls help the lads to net the fish and of course it's "Dad, why aren't you catching any fish ?" I literally then got smashed on the strike, but yet again, that simply doesn't cut it in front of the kids. "Nearly girls, very nearly, but I got broken up there". "But why are Del and Neil catching fish and you're not Dad ?" Answer that !! The pressure is now starting to build on me like you would not believe. I simply have to save face in front of my girls and avoid an afternoon that could be all about "Dad, why didn't you catch any fish when Deal and Neil did ?". Starting to sweat a bit now, and especially when Neil latches into another one and my eldest girl rather skilfully nets the wrasse for him. We've got to get off the rock and move back a bit before we get cut off, and I'm getting a good bite which I then miss. The pressure's getting to me now and I'm fishing like a tit. My youngest even said, and I swear this is true, "Dad's got all the gear and no idea". Cue Del and Neil almost collapsing with laughter.........kids eh ?

We move back from the sea a bit and now neither Del or Neil are getting any bites. But I am. Oh yes, I am and they're not. I am not remotely a competitive angler, but sorry lads, I need a fish here. Dad needs to catch a fish to show his girls that he can actually do this fishing thing. My rod tip rattles unmistakably and I strike it hard. Fish on. Starting to breathe again, but I need to land it. I call my eldest girl over with the net because this might well be a historic moment when my family sees me land a fish and look like a conquering hero. Up pops the wrasse on the surface and I pull it over the net, turn to my girls and say something along the lines of "wow, look girls, I think Dad's caught by far the biggest fish of the day". Which it wasn't, but my girls are still young enough to be that bit gullible and believe their Dad when he says something. Yes, I know that won't last for much longer, but in an instant I am once again their hero, their Dad who catches fish when the other lads aren't. Pressure off. Phew, things were getting tight there.............