Some trip to come down from
I am not about to try and pretend that through the course of my work I am doing anything remotely important such as a nurse, teacher or doctor does day to day. I do no more than photograph and write about fishing, work within the tackle industry a bit, and a few years ago I was making some TV programmes for a pretty obscure satellite channel that I can't exactly imagine were ever watched by many people. But I love my work and I passionately believe in doing all I can to make fishing look appealing - and if you don't like what I do then so be it.
When the Tight Lines lot asked me to come up with some ideas for some more short fishing films after we did that stuff before Xmas in the Isles of Scilly, I proposed a filming trip over to Ireland to see if we could nail a bit of lure fishing for bass on camera. It's not as if there is heaps of budget flying around, but I reckoned that with some hard work from a number of people we could at least give ourselves a decent chance at getting some footage. As we all know though, fishing is incredibly unpredictable and for all the planning we do, so much is then down to luck.
If we had gone to Ireland and had not a sniff of a bass and/or a few days of rain and gales then at the end of the day one could argue that it wouldn't really matter. The world would keep turning without us catching some our fish, we could have made a couple of short films regardless (albeit with no fish), and I would still be paid for presenting them. But it matters hugely to me. I have been asked to do something, I am getting paid to do it, and this means that people are trusting in me to deliver as much as I can. Yes, I have a lot of "professional pride". But whatever I put into it, I can't make the fish hang themselves on our lures.
So when it does go well it's a huge buzz. Although as I said it's nothing remotely important in the grand scheme of life, to me it's my work and I want to do a good job - and when it all comes together there is a mixture of elation, relief, satisfaction and sheer excitement. None of the stuff I yap to the camera is scripted and I have no idea how I come across other than I know it's me, and what you see is what you get with me - take it or leave it of course.
We go fishing to catch fish, and because we collectively caught a bunch of decent bass for the filming, I can't help but hope that in some small way we are doing something good by getting some quality bass fishing up on the small screen (and yes, I know that a few keyboard warriors will pick holes in how we fish, the lengths of our rods, etc., but that's like water of a duck's back to me). How many people watch Tight Lines ? I have no idea, but I am passionate about this lure fishing thing and in some small way I have to believe that increased exposure of it can only be a good thing. And yes, I want to try and show a bit of why Ireland is such a special place.
If there is one thing I absolutely hate it's watching myself on the box. I just despise it and it makes me cringe. I haven't seen any of my old shows since before they were transmitted for the first time when I would have watched a rough-cut, provided a bit of feedback, and then watched the final thing once and once only - and I won't be watching any of them ever again if I get my way. I have to say though that I am really looking forward to seeing how these short bass fishing films end up coming across. I so want to see if all the stuff that came together so well translates to the small screen. We shall see.........
From a purely fishing point of view, it really struck home to me after the crew left that the fish we landed on camera were all caught from within Dungarvan Bay and not out on the open coast - Ger's double and Nick's lost monster from the evening I was travelling over were also taken from the bay (here). I am aware that a number of visiting anglers have gone over to the south coast of Ireland this year and struggled, but I would hope that the week we had last week helps prove yet again that bass fishing in Ireland is not all about the open coast. When the coast is firing it's electric, but when it's not ?
Go exploring the other options. So much water, so much ground, and such a fantastic bunch of people. What we achieved over there last week could simply not have happened without a lot of incredibly kind help and to those people I would like to say a big thank you again. It might end up being mostly me on the screen in those short Tight Lines films (and I have no say over the editing), but filming is such a collaborative effort and the people you don't see deserve some proper credit.
But why did I not propose making these short bass fishing films around where I live in Cornwall ? For the same reason as I go over to Ireland to take photographs of bass fishing - because I trust the place to throw up a better stamp of bass fishing. Sure, Ireland is like anywhere in that it is never going to fire all of the time, but as much as I love where I live, in pure bass fishing terms I know that I can get more bang for my buck over in Ireland. I wanted to film shore fishing because this is what I love, and with limited time and budget I just feel more confident across the water.
I have just heard that the first bass fishing short film we made will be shown at 7pm on Tight Lines, Sky Sports 4 on Friday 23rd August.