Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

Nantes bass show - second day report

There were one hell of a lot of French anglers at the Nantes show yesterday (Saturday) - I spoke to a few people I know here and they all reckoned that Saturday 2011 was way busier than the corresponding Saturday last year - and that can't be bad for times like these. To see these numbers of anglers coming to a show like this mainly because of their fascination with lure fishing is something very exciting to see I reckon. Are all anglers complete tackle tarts, or do some of us try and pretend not to be ? Not me of course..........

My personal highlight of the show has been the conversations I have had with the two guys over from DUO Japan that have been based on the Ultimate Fishing stand, and it's been especially good because one of them grew up in Australia and therefore speaks perfect English. My French is passable, but my Japanese is sadly non-existent. The DUO guy I am talking about was showing me a photograph of an 8kg (roughly 17lb) Japanese sea bass that he caught last Monday just before be flew over to France for this show - and believe it or not, he took it on a DUO lure !! I just wish that it was possible to spend more time talking to an angler and lure person like this. Poor bloke, I dread to think of the numbers of questions that I was asking him, but you can not believe how much I gathered in just the short times we spent speaking. Lure colours, actions, working and not working lures, casting, depths, lure rattles and no rattles, different DUO lures and how to fish with them, etc., honestly, my head is fit to burst with all this extra stuff to take away and mentally digest. It was also fascinating to talk with him about Japanese sea bass fishing and how they tend to go about it. Very, very interesting, and he was saying how awesome the fishing is out in Japan when the conditions are right. I know that Mick from Mr. Fish over in Jersey also managed to spend time talking with the same guy, and as a retailer of the DUO lures it must have been so useful to actually glean info from the guys who design, test, fish with, and then sell those lures.

I also went back onto the huge Sakura stand to wiggle those Shinjin rods again to try and make sure that I was right in how I initially felt about them, and to perfectly honest they felt even nicer the longer I played around with them. Plus the other few rods from their different ranges that seem to have applications for a lot of our lure fishing. Exciting times ahead it strikes me - more and more lure gear at sensible prices.

You would not believe the amount of soft plastics on display here - yes, there are any number of hard lures around, but it is incredible how much the French are into their plastics fishing. They also use them big time in fresh water for black/largemouth bass and pike. It's really interesting to start getting a slant on how the Japanese sea bass anglers go about their fishing in comparison to the French for example. I was speaking a little with a French bass skipper who charters out of Belle Ile where Ultimate Fishing is based, and he was telling me how they have no choice but to keep on developing better and more efficient ways of getting their soft lures down deeper for those times when their fish are under real pressure - commercial fishing aside, there are a lot more bass anglers in France than in the UK. I have no facts or figures to back this up at all, but come to a show like this and you will see what I mean. One of the really successful French ways to boat fish for their bass is fishing down fairly deep with paddletails and some fairly big and heavy jig heads, and then they sweep the rod up really high and then allow the paddetail (shad) to drop back down so that tail really goes mad. Bass and pollack got mad for it. One thing they do not do is to fish a flying collar rig with a trace as long as the earth is round that tangles with each and every other angler on the boat !!

Anyway, it's nearly time to go and get a bit of breakfast. It's my third year in a row at this show and it's even more fun than the last time. We've got a good bunch of guys out from the UK and Ireland, and what is awesome is that there is a big Tourism Ireland stand at this Nantes show - they are saying that the interest levels from the French anglers in the Irish fishing is just huge. I have also met and spoken at length with a few people on that Ireland stand, and of course we have various plans afoot to fish and photograph some really interesting fishing. Sleep is not really an option. I am heading back to St. Malo with the Jersey contingent later on today, and I then fly back home on Monday morning - with my head full of so much information that it's fit to burst. More to come.........