Morocco bound (managing expectations)
You can't help but have this vision that over time you will serenely choose the lures to take, pack your gear up without having to sit on your bag and squash it down to close it, head on up to (sodding) Gatwick, touch down in Morocco, get a good night's sleep and then hammer a load of monster bass from the off. If only life were like that !! I'm beating my head about stuff like what lures to take, the best rods for the job, and whether to tie some leaders on before we actually get to see the ground. One of my computers is refusing to open a vital bit of software that I need to use to get some images out to a client and yesterday morning my website went down. We've had some work done here at home and when they came to turn on the boiler it didn't work and they are still trying to mend it. You know that expression when it rains it pours ?
But this is all just part of life and we deal with it. How though do we deal with the excitement levels of heading down to a country that firstly I have never been to, and secondly has come on to my radar as a destination where they sometimes catch some huge bass from the shore. Can I use the word "huge" for a bass when you compare it to something like a tarpon ? OK, perhaps not on those terms, but the lads who are taking us out fishing in Morocco have landed bass (yes, "our" bass) to 25lbs this year, from the shore. Just think about that for a minute. When did you last see a double figure bass landed from the shore in the UK or Ireland ? Sure, it happens, but now think about when you might have seen say a 15lb bass landed. I have never seen a bass this big, yet where we are going there is the chance of landing or at least hooking a 20lb plus bass.
So how on earth do you stand a chance at managing the expectation levels when there is the potential for fish like this ? Well you do and you don't I suppose. I remember going to Namibia for the first time. I had seen a couple of photographs of guys with sharks they had landed from the beach and it seriously got to me. I was that really fidgety person on the flight to Namibia, the kind of passenger you dread sitting next to in steerage on a long flight. I was so buzzed with adrenaline that I slept not a wink the entire flight, in fact by the time I was actually standing on the Skeleton Coast with a shark rod in my hand I was a nervous wreck. And when that first shark did hit me I can remember almost passing out I was so excited. I had almost completely blown that first trip out of all proportion in my mind, but luckily the experiences were so ridiculously awesome that they lived up to my expectations and more.
OK, so I have done a big number of trips between then and now, and to be honest nearly all of them are and have to be work related. Some have been wildly exotic and out of the way and some are more "regular". I think that I have learnt to better manage my expectations and go with the attitude that yes, of course I want to see (and photograph) some awesome fishing, but that I need to have a realistic head on my shoulders and take what we get. You also need to take your chances and push as hard as you can to try and get the results that the destination has the potential to provide. If the weather kills you then that's life. If the big fish don't show then that's life as well. The trick is to make sure you are working/fishing with the right people on the ground and then to give them your hard work on the fishing (or photography) front so that you can come away whatever the results knowing that you gave it all you could. You don't want to be getting home and thinking I wish I had got up early that one morning or I could have walked that bit further on so and so day. You snooze you lose !!
But of course you can't help but get excited about a fishing (photography) trip away. I have been lucky enough to work in locations that the majority of people are simply never going to see, yet I woke up at 3.30am every single morning for a week once before heading over to Ireland on a trip because my brain was ticking so much. Hell, I was up at 4.30am this morning trying to work out what I can and can't take to Morocco. Plus of course there is the chance of seeing or catching a bass from the shore that is unlike anything I have ever experienced. What are the chances of a 20lb plus bass coming to our group next week ? Well that's just it. There's a chance. Fish that size have been caught this year so it can happen again. What about next week ? Who knows ? I am lucky in that I've caught enough properly "big" fish to sustain me in memories for the rest of my life, but it matters not a jot when from Monday we will be bashing lures out with just that slim chance we may hook a bass unlike any bass we have ever seen before.
Why go all the way to Morocco ? You know why by now. I love fishing and photographing locations that are new to me, and I also love meeting and working with different people who share this common passion that is fishing. I reckon I am pretty good these days at managing my expectations, and to be honest a lot of the work trips I do I am travelling somewhere on my own - so on that front I just hope that the lads coming with me from the UK at least get a taste of the bass fishing that Morocco is known for, and we can ask for no more than that. Sure, a heap of big bass and awesome light for me would be ideal thank you very much, but all I really hope for is to come away with a decent glimpse of what can go on down there - and anything else would be a bonus really.
Do any of you check out the GoPro website from time to time ? Holy cow there is some awesome stuff on there sometimes and yes, it really makes my brain tick with what a couple of people and a bunch of GoPro cameras/mounts/housings etc. might be able to do say with a bit of good looking bass fishing. I keep thinking about trying to do something and then I back off in my head because for the life of me I can't yet work out how to at least cover my time. I have zero experience of wielding a film camera but give me a bit of time and I reckon I am going to have no choice but to give it a bit of a go and see what I can come up with. I defy you not to watch the short film above and not find it incredibly emotional in places.
And then check out the short film above. Insane. But look at what can be done on what I reckon is a minimal budget. I know I don't really do "traditional" sea fishing these days, but I love it and I love that it's what defines us almost as UK sea anglers - but there is no getting away from the fact that a static form of fishing is not very easy to make look very impressive when you're filming. I know we struggled back in the day to make it look dynamic I suppose, and with this GoPro sort of internet based stuff it's all about dynamism, excitement, adrenaline and an element of risk I suppose. It's breaking my head what could be done with some kinds of lure fishing on the filming front and although I have little desire to get myself back on the TV, I can't help but want to find a way of doing something "cool" with fishing. I want fishing to look good because I reckon it's good for the future of our sport. Watch this space I suppose.
I have no idea about internet access while we are in Morocco next week, but if we get any then I will do my best to put a bit of stuff up here, and if we can't get online then I will tell you how we get on when I get back. Have a good weekend all of you and I now need to start packing up and cutting down my lures !! Do I really need as many as are sitting in the pile on my office floor ?