2007 - what a year. Where on earth has it gone ? Does time go faster as you get older, or do we remember less and less ? Whatever happens, working in the world of recreational fishing still proves to be a dream come true. My work takes me all around the world for photographic, filming, writing and consultancy purposes, but wherever I go and whatever I see, still I love my home fishing. Give me a plugging rod and a lively sea and I am a happy man. How could anybody ever tire of being around our bass ? Meeting all kinds of people involved in fishing is always a thrill for me, and working with some hugely talented anglers is just plain awesome.
Below is about the most impressive fish I have seen this year - South African fly fisherman Rob Lewis with an estimated 40lb bumphead parrotfish taken on a turtle grass flat on the remote Seychelles atoll of Providence. I am still sure that I am the first professional fishing photographer to have witnessed and photographed these incredible fish being sight fished to and caught on the flats, on the fly - what a thing to see, and they have been catching these now on a fairly regular basis up to around 70lbs !! Science seems to say that this should not be happening, but it is. The South African guiding company FlyCastaway are the guys you need to fish with - book a trip through Aardvark McLeod. There are plenty of photographs all over my website, click here to see.
My favourite bit of kit that I bought this year was this outrageous looking fixed spool (spinning) reel pictured below - a Van Staal VSB150. Sealed, waterproof, horribly strong and just about perfect for so much of my fishing. My first fish on it was an Irish bass of about 6lbs. I caught a few GTs off the back of the boat in the Seychelles the other day, and the biggest perhaps was close to 50lbs - the reel was impeccable throughout. I have no affiliation with Van Staal, but I am more than happy to recommend a quality product. If you are trashing your fixed spool reels because you keep getting them soaking wet, then this reel is for you.
Being a complete music freak, how could I not tell you what I believe was the premier extreme metal release of the year ? A daft name for a band I know, but the album Theogonia (cover below) by the Greek group Rotting Christ was for me my number 1 release of the year. I have played this CD so many times that I can air drum to the whole thing !! It is awesome. There was stacks of good metal released this year and I look forward to spending too much money again next year on new CDs.
Work related travel has taken me to some very cool places this year - Venezuela, Florida, Colorado, Norway, Seychelles (twice), Ireland, and Canada. Nothing to me beats seeing different parts of the world, for fishing is a truly global sport. I have shot sea fishing, freshwater fishing and plenty of fly fishing, but still to me fishing is simply fishing, whatever way you choose to do it. Every day I photograph fishing is special in its own way, whether home or abroad. I don't really care if fish are big or small - as long as it looks good and the people involved are having a good time, that is all I want to see. Photographing fishing is my obsession and I have some exciting stuff lined up for next year. Watch this space to keep up to date with what is going on. There will be a few surprises I can guarantee you................
But the biggest single thing work wise for me this year was signing on to do a fishing book for the worldwide publishing house Dorling Kindersley, otherwise known as DK. It was a monumental project that took over my life for close to six months, but the results are worth it - see here for a look at the cover, and then click here to pre-order it. It is my second book for DK and I am really proud of what has been achieved. I passionately believe that the sport of fishing is an entirely logical and simple thing to do, and the flow of the book corresponds to my beliefs. Plus there are a stack of very cool fishing photos in there as well !!
Check out the DVD of my brothers' feature film, in shops now. Click here to buy the DVD of their awesome film "Rise of the Footsoldier". It is a big release and there is an excellent "making of" on the second disk. They are busy writing a new script with a view to filming next year.
On a more personal note, I am going to do all I can to give my family more of my time, for the book took up too much of it. Work is important of course, but nothing will ever beat spending time with my wife, two young daughters and of course, my sheepdog Jess.
A very Happy New Year to all of you, and may 2008 be a good one for all the right reasons.