Excitement levels are close to overload for a couple of reasons - tomorrow I am heading over to Ireland, and then a few days after I get back from that trip I am off to the famous Martha's Vineyard in the US to go chase some striped bass. For how long have I wanted to see a striped bass ? Have a guess !! Struggling with sleep at the moment because I am far too excited about the next few weeks......
But first things first. My two girls go back to school this morning, and for my youngest it's her first day at school. Where does time go these days ? I can still distinctly remember walking in the front door from a trip to India some years ago now to be told by my wife that she was pregnant with our first. I think I must have asked the obvious "how did that happen ?", but on that particular trip we were out of touch with the rest of the world and my wife had found out she was pregnant just after I left and had been keeping it to herself until I got back. Talk about a welcome home !! And look at it now. My youngest starts her first day at school. Any mother or father reading this blog knows all about how your feelings for one's children are so strong they can't really be put into words. I love my work, and I love the chances I get to see different parts of the world and meet so many good people, but I can not tell you how much I miss my family when I am away. Nothing on this earth beats my wife and girls throwing their arms around me when I get back from away.
So we head off to Ireland tomorrow on my most favourite ferry trip there is. I dig ferries as it is. My heart always misses a few beats as we approach Fishguard, and I really like the StenaLine Europe ship. Very civilised, nice and peaceful, and then of course that amazing feeling when you drive off the boat and onto Irish soil. The weather forecast is looking all over the place, but as ever we will take what we get and take it from there. Recent reports are of some really good bass fishing. There are a few of us on this trip and I would hazard a guess that there will be some seriously squirrel stuff coming out over the next ten days or so. There will be no piss-taking at all.........?
I then get back in time for my eldest daughter's birthday party. Five days at home I think and on a flight to Boston. The more I go to the US, the more I fall for the country. So many Brits think that the US is Florida. We hear this fact all the time that something like 60% of Americans don't even own a passport, but contemplate it a bit more and I start to think so what ? With a country that varied you could spend a lifetime travelling around and not even see most of it. The US has I believe some of the largest wilderness areas on this earth. Striped bass are of course a big pull for any saltwater angler remotely interested in the whole bass thing, and I can't wait to see what (if any) similarities there might be between the fish (stripers and "our" bass), the way they feed, how they bite, fight, what lures or baits they might take etc.
I don't expect to get remotely close to sussing the striped bass thing out in the short time we have over there, indeed I think a lot of anglers end up a little disappointed on trips overseas because they build up some unrealistic expectations. What I do want to try and do though is get a feel for the fishing (we are doing boat and shore, flies, lures, bait etc.) and meet some of the anglers connected with it. I need to start learning about striped bass fishing on the ground if that makes sense. For all the research you can do before you go, nothing beats spending time there, doing some fishing, and meeting fishermen. One thing I need to be careful of is not to build up the photographic thing in my head too much. Yes, it's a trip where the photography is the main thing for me, but I have all these mental images of how striped bass fishing might look with the right light, conditions, angles etc., and I need to remain realistic and make use of what we get. Anyway, best get the girls off to school and then think about packing some gear up for this Ireland trip. I will do all I can to keep this blog regularly updated with how we are getting on over there.