Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

Nothing brings you back down to earth as fast as fishing

Aside from various fishing/photo trips away from home and when I think that a bit of the fishing I do around here might warrant a mention, I have little interest in this blog being simply a "I went fishing and caught so and so" kind of thing. It's not my style really and there's too much going in my head that I almost have to pour forth unto this blog for it ever to be no more than that, and I can but hope that what I do here resonates with enough people to make it worthwhile..................

Sometimes the actual going fishing is worth a bit of yap though, and for me it's back to what I believe fishing is absolutely the best thing in the world at doing - and that's bringing one back down to earth at great speed from whatever lofty perch we may have briefly clambered onto. The moment you think you've got a decent handle on it and this rather fantastic sport has an almost unparalleled ability to remind you that for all you think you might know, you're so far away from knowing it all that it's like looking at Everest and thinking you might take an afternoon stroll up its icy slopes.

For various reasons my time for fishing has been somewhat curtailed recently, but it's not as if I exactly bounce up and down with east winds and neap tides around here anyway - but Tuesday was forecast to move from due east to south east 4 gusting 5, and there was a slight jump in the afternoon high tide size from 4.5m the day before to 4.8m. Interesting. I had a brief window to get out and give it a go and to be honest I rather fancied my chances.

To cut a long story short, I landed I think six bass on surface lures (IMA Salt Skimmer and then the Lucky Craft Gun Fish as conditions got rougher) plus a couple of mackerel. I would love to say that the bass were monsters, but the biggest might have gone 3lb, although for a while I had slashes from fish nearly every single cast. Huge fun. Do you find that bass and indeed mackerel tend to miss your surface lure a lot when conditions are on the lively side ? Anyway, you know the score. You've thought about things, you've computed the various options through your brain and you've come up with a solution - a certain spot at a certain time, and then you go and catch some fish. How satisfying is that ?

I managed to catch this spot before it could potentially weed up and lose clarity with the winds. Sure, it lamped it down the entire time, but that's what we spend decent money on waterproofs for is it not ? I love lure fishing in all its different ways, but nothing for me beats taking fish off the top, and especially when you can almost "lead" bass on as they slash repeatedly at your lure and then either hook up or not. OK, so I'm feeling pretty chuffed with myself that I picked my window, computed my options and caught a few fish. God I love it.

So the wind is forecast to go due south for Wednesday, blowing 4/5 and then 6 by the afternoon. There is a rather nice jump from an afternoon high of 4.8m on the Tuesday to 5.1m and now I'm getting really excited. Once again I put the info through my brain and come up with a solution - my theory is that where I fished the previous day stands a pretty good chance now of being blown out, but I've got a stunning little spot further along the coast that I know can take a lot of sea and the chances are that conditions are going to be pretty stunning. There can also be some good bass around there at times, and this definitely feels like one of those times.

Confidence levels are good. I make a couple of calls and three of us meet up before HW and trek out to the spot. Conditions are absolutely awesome. The sea is absolutely bouncing, with great clarity, very little weed, and when John hooks and then loses a bass after only a few casts I am as good as pogo-sticking over the rocks with what might happen. I should add that where John hooked the fish is some great ground, but there are these horrible ledges that on the one hand scream bass at you, but on the other you've got to have some degree of luck on your side not to have a fish grab your lure and disappear behind the ledges almost before you can react. Savage ground is what it is - perfect for bass but a challenge for us to get them out of there. What was that I heard floating on the breeze ? Dodgy knots ? Stop it !!

Any second and one of us is going to hook a decent fish. We can all feel it. It's just too awesome looking not to nail a few. I caught the previous afternoon and I'm damn well going to catch today. I got it right yesterday so I'm pretty confident about getting it right again right now. But whatever lure I whack out there comes back resolutely without any bass hanging on the end. I turn around to see Mark into a fish but it's only a small pollack. Come on, any second, one of us is going to feel that glorious thump and tighten as a spiked warrior crunches into your lure. And yes, I chucked a few out there.....................

How many times did I feel that thump ? Well let's just say that it was less than once. Not a frigging sniff. We're definitely getting a decent bit of rain that we are owed after such a fantastic summer, but once again fishing has done what it is so good at - it's given me my rewards the day before and allowed me to think for a brief window that I'm not actually too rubbish at trying to catch a few fish, but then fishing has reared its head, decided that I need pegging back down and with such consummate ease has humbled me back to what I am - a human being who knows a little bit about how to "predict" nature, but in truth is so far away from mastering it that it's pretty damn ominous in fact. And as per usual I actually find that kinda comforting.

Sure, I wanted to see some fish landed. Sure, I felt very confident with the location, the tide, the time of the tide and the conditions, and sure, partly it bugged the hell out of me that two small pollack to Mark aside we blanked. I am an angler and I want to succeed, and succeeding of course means catching fish. But we didn't. If we had gone somewhere else, would we have caught ? Ah, the eternal dilemma that fishing is. Choosing where to go and when and then breaking your head with computing where else you might have gone when you blank. Do you know of any other sport that has so perfected the art of humbling its participants (us) when required ? Our inability to control so much of what happens in fishing and our "quest" to try and do better next time is surely fundamental to why so many of us obsess about it ? Have a good weekend and may fishing treat you kindly the next time you head out..............

Henry Gilbey3 Comments