Although the photo you can see above was shot in Jersey, in truth it could just as easily be over in France - a huge amount of French bass fishermen are fishing from fast, open boats with spinning rods and reels, doing the exact same thing you can see here. Tide, features, more tide, more features, bass love them all. Note the red Tenryu rod - these things are turning up everywhere, and this has to say something about how good they are. Starting to save up now for my Tenryu Super Mix 240..........
Therefore a lot of the development we see with "their" fishing is related to catching bass off a boat. Of course there is a lot of crossover between this more modern style light tackle bass fishing, but you also need to bear in mind that a rod and lure that has been developed for fishing say twenty to forty metres down in a fast tide is most likely going to be of little use to us for our shore fishing.
But I did spend a fair bit of time talking to various people at the Nantes show about the shore fishing opportunities in France. My spoken French is not nearly as strong as it once was, but I can get by. I love fishing from boats, and I hope to do plenty more of it in the future, but at heart I am most contented when I have to get out and walk serious miles. And I think I have come across some awesome shore fishing potential over in France for smashing proper numbers of bass and also wrasse on lures - I presume pollack as well, and those three species keep me more than happy.
When I asked one of the French guys whether they caught any wrasse off the shore on soft plastics, he laughed !! They catch stacks of them (100 in two days last year), and some monsters as well - wrasse to over 8lbs from the shore, on lures. Bring it on. Plus when conditions are right, big numbers of bass on hard and soft plastic lures. One angler was describing a particular technique to me where he was working a very small, 25g vertical jig rigged with assist hooks to fish a particular area of the shoreline in a very precise way, and in three consecutive casts he landed three bass over 9lbs. Insanity prevails. The exact places they are fishing are of course not heavily publicised, especially with the pressure the French fish receive from so many mad-keen anglers, but it seems that you can have some decent shore sport if you look around. We shall see......
As soon as time allows, I am going to try and head over to the west coast of France and begin to try and unravel more of what these guys are doing over there - and I really want to do a mixture of shore and boat fishing. It's perfect for me as I can just jump on the Plymouth-Roscoff ferry that departs about ten minutes from my front door. Seems to me that the open-minded, adventurous bass angler can find world class fishing in a lot of different places. Sure, it takes time, effort and money, but if you want to find the best fishing, it certainly ain't going to come to you. There is a part of me forever lost to the deserted coastlines of Ireland.
I shot a feature yesterday with Nick Hart, for Trout Fisherman magazine. We never saw the sun all day, but we had a fantastic time with some stunning rainbow trout in great surroundings. There was not a breath of wind and this allowed me to shoot the kind of photo that you can see above - Nick casting a perfect line with that awesome looking tree perfectly reflected on the flat calm surface of the lake. A modern digital camera tends to want to try and slightly over-expose a scene like this, and as a result a lot of the contrast and "punch" can be lost. In a situation like this I have deliberately dialled in a bit of minus exposure compensation to try and retain the overall look.
The trout that Nick caught were in fantastic condition, and this monster was the last one of the day. I lined this up as a cover-style photo, and in my head I could see the layout of the page already, but you never quite know what is going to actually end up on the front cover. We shall see what happens, but perhaps it is too far removed from "man plus fish" to make on to the front page. I really like how the guys at Trout Fisherman are making the magazine look, and I know how much hard work goes into it.