As I said on my blog post from Tuesday, fishing is about the people. Most of you here will not know who Michael Bourke was, but to me he was one of the finest people I have ever had the luck to meet in fishing, and yesterday I received the sad news that he died a few days ago. My heart goes out to his wife, children and close family. Too young to go, and I will always remember how Michael went out of his way to be so kind, welcoming and helpful to me when I spent time on the Clare coastline (west) over in Ireland........
Sometimes you come across people in my line of work that just leave one feeling humbled. My first ever trip to Ireland was to the Clare coastline some years ago now, but I did not meet Michael until I headed back there on another photo trip along with another wonderful person called Bill Ryan. We spent a few days charging around fishing and photographing, and Michael simply did all he could to make those few days as memorable as possible for me. These people have no obligation to help me out, and that is something that I always try to remember as I push them to fish longer, walk further, sleep less, and also smile into the array of lenses I thrust at them !! But Michael kept on smiling.
We then went back to the Clare coastline to film a programme for one of my "Wild Fishing" series. What people see on these programmes is Henry Gilbey doing what he does. But what they never get to see or hear about are the collection of people behind the cameras and behind the scenes who both create the shows and also make the shows possible. We simply could never have made that programme without the kindness of Michael Bourke going completely out of his way to help us achieve what we needed to. I am forever in his debt, and I am just so sad that he has gone. I will always remember him asking me about my two girls back home - Michael then went and pulled down a couple of wetsuits from the shelf in his shop and insisted that I take them home for my girls to wear on the beach. He would not take any kind of payment from me, and I have never forgotten it. And those wetsuits are still going strong, indeed my wife and I spoke about where they came from just the other day when we were heading off to the beach with the girls. Thank you Michael. Fishing will miss you. It is people like you who make fishing what it is.
You all have a good Easter break, and I hope the weather continues to stay as perfectly wonderful as it has been recently. Catch some fish, spend time with your families, or if you are working, sneak off as soon as possible and head for the water. We can but hope that this might be the start of a wonderful summer. Or is that asking for trouble ?