You either get fishing or you don't. I understand perfectly why this sport simply does not do it for a lot of people, indeed sometimes I think fishing can actually be its own worst enemy - but I love fishing with a passion that simply refuses to diminish, but I also passionately believe that fishing needs to be "pushed" in the right way. Without new people coming into the sport, and without new ideas, new methods and techniques, what happens then ? You can see why I have so much time for the people within fishing who I believe are helping to (by various and personal means) promote fishing in the best possible light. I can only ever be as good as the people I am lucky enough to work with and around..............and the lads I have just worked with in Jersey are right up there as some of the most talented, forward-thinking and generous anglers I have ever met. What gives me perhaps the biggest kick is that all this thinking and driving forward is concerned with "our" fishing.
So where is saltwater fishing going these days ? It's exciting times if you ask me. A few years ago I was worried that the whole thing was stagnating a bit, but the more I get into lure fishing, the more I just feel so positive about the future. I have all the time in the world for the "traditional" approach of two beachcasters in a tripod kind of thing, indeed I am proud to come from that world as such, but you can't get away from the fact that a lot of it is now (sadly) about chasing fewer and fewer decent fish. And you have to ask the question - how far can "traditional" sea fishing in the UK be pushed forward ? But the chance for growth and development within saltwater and freshwater lure fishing strikes me as something wildly exciting.
OK, so if we put the chasing of bass on all manners of lures aside for the moment, what do we have ? I will tell you what really struck home to me on my Jersey trip - fun. The guys are just having huge fun chasing all manner of fish on different set ups, whatever the size of fish, and whatever lures they need to use. Honestly, much as a part of it is about pushing the boundaries and seeing what can happen, the main aim is simply to catch more fish. And by catching more fish, you can't help but learn more about how to get better and better. More fish equals a whole lot more fun, and catching fish with balanced tackle is one hell of a good way to promote our sport in the best possible light. Hence I give these kinds of anglers the credit they deserve. Look at the photo of Keith above - fun fishing on light gear. Balanced gear. Enjoying what is in front of you. Why not catch what is out there and have a load of fun doing so ?
What are the chances of wrasse becoming one of our saltwater species that we end up putting in the same category as say bass, pollack and mackerel ? In other words, that the wrasse becomes a species we think about catching on lures as commonly we we think of catching bass and pollack etc. I don't know. But why not ? I learnt a long time ago not to write anything off in fishing. We tend to have lots of them, and I am fast learning that smashing them on soft plastics is way more than some gimmick. It's huge fun, and they love lures !! I am at day zero on the learning curve, I have no problem admitting that, but I love the fact that fishing like this is always evolving. Who knows where it's all going ?
Light gear, travel lightly (if you aren't carrying camera gear !!), think on your feet, adapt all the time, experiment, try different things - fish with people, share information, help to drive things onwards and upwards. Think about how fast this stuff is moving. It wasn't that long ago that I was looking at spinning rods as no more than some kind of "add on" to my range of beachcasters. How different it all is now. I am the lucky one here, because through my work I get to fish and photograph with all kinds of people doing all kinds of fishing. Even if we just take UK, French and Irish bass and saltwater lure fishing, I am getting to see loads of it. I get to see how different anglers approach "their" waters. The more that this kind of information and knowledge travels around, the better. What I love is that there are no hard and fast rules here. My mind is whirring away with the methods that Keith and Kevin White used on "their" Jersey bass at night for example. Where else might this approach pay dividends ? Makes me think, and any sport that engages my brain as much as fishing does gets me in a big way. Let's keep at it and see where it goes...............
And talking more about excitement, I am heading over to Ireland next Wednesday for a week or so of bass fishing and photography - a bunch of us are going over and staying in a new area to us. Talk about looking forward to it. I have got plenty of bits and pieces of gear to take over and try out on the Irish bass, including rods, reels, lines, clothing and of course a few lures !! Loads to learn. Bring it on.