What awesome weather to get back to - summer is properly here now. Out come the shorts !! I love my trips overseas, but nothing beats getting home and seeing the family. I had a great trip to the Keys and I learnt more than I could possibly imagine - one of the real advantages to travelling for my work is the chance to see so many different kinds of fishing and fishing methods. I like to and need to keep learning all the time. This trip to the Keys has really made me think hard about the different kinds of rods and reels we use for our fishing, and especially the strength of modern spinning (fixed spool) reels. What we can do with these kinds of reels now is amazing, indeed here in the UK I reckon we have a lot to learn about where to use them.
Take the reels in the photo above. The new Fin-Nor Offshore Spinning reels are only around $160, yet they offer insane levels of power and huge line capacities. Plenty of guys use them for smashing huge tarpon and also various kinds of big fish sport both inshore and offshore. Don't get me wrong, I love using multipliers (called conventional reels in the US), but more so I am seeing just how stable and efficient it is to fight big fish with a decent spinning reel. The kinds of spinning and conventional inshore and offshore rods you can get in the US cover a huge range of fishing, from the largemouth bass up to and beyond species like amberjack and tuna. I reckon the Fin-Nor 65 Offshore reel is an incredible bit of kit for the money. Simple, strong, reliable and designed to beast big fish.
If I simply stood still and did the same things all the time, I would get nowhere with my working in fishing, and my own interest would begin to wane. I don't care if it happens to be on my doorstep or thousands of miles away - doing different things in fishing is vital to me and I am going to keep embracing change and adaptation as much as I can. Take the two guys I was out in Florida with, Scott and John - both of them think nothing of going bass fishing one day, then trout fishing the next, and then say barbel fishing after that. True all rounders, very good anglers as a result, and a complete blast to spend time with. I hear they have been catching some more big tarpon, Goliath groupers, wahoo and amberjack after I left, so well done guys. Rodney Goodship of Fish the Dream is a true gent and puts his clients over some outrageous fishing. Get out there as soon as you can. You would be surprised at just how cost effective this world class fishing can be.
Here is Rodney with that tarpon I photographed the other day. Words really can not do justice to how special these fish are, but you would be surprised at how relatively light you can fish for them. It is not only the power of the fish that tends to smash you up, rather the places you fish for them - big fish around bridges and structure are a handful, plain and simple. We were using mainly US style spinning rods, rated for lines up to 30lbs, with those Fin-Nor Offshore 65 spinning reels and 0.50mm/30lb line. Next time I am going to change over to 50lb braid for them - my dream would be to use a Shimano Stella 8000FA for this kind of fishing, but we shall see. I did meet a local guide who uses a Stella 5000 and a light kind of inshore spinning rod for his tarpon fishing, but he has been doing it all his life. I'm not quite there yet !!
And another good thing about going away is that I usually come back to a CD or two that I have ordered - if metal is your thing (and it should be !!), you seriously need to check out the new album from the Greek band Septic Flesh, called Communion. Listen to a few tracks here. This is awesome metal, nearly up to the standards of the other mighty Greek band, Rotting Christ - naturally you have noted that they released my favourite album of last year, see here.
If you have been into extreme metal for ages, you will have known all about an incredible old band called Exhorder - they released two outstanding albums, "Slaughter in the Vatican" and "The Law", and then promptly spilt up. I personally reckon Exhorder were a better band than Pantera ever were, so it is with great joy that I recently heard about Exhorder getting back together to tour and record. This is seriously exciting news. But not quite as monumental as the mighty Immortal reforming last year - you don't know how much I am looking forward to them releasing another CD, although how they could possibly better one of my top five albums of all time is going to be tough. "Sons of Northern Darkness" should be in every single metal fan's collection.
I have just heard that the winds have shifted around in Norway, and that has put the pike down a bit - if it all comes right, I head over to take photos, and if it doesn't, then there is always next year......