Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

Such a fun show - so where's the UK version?

That was my second time at what tends to be known here in Ireland as the Swords fishing show, albeit I missed all but the end of Saturday because of various flight delays - we were cancelled out of Bristol on Friday evening (how brutal was that weather?) and Aer Lingus ended up taxiing us up to Birmingham where we spent the night in a hotel and then flew out of there to Dublin on Saturday - and that flight was also delayed, so we ended up departing Birmingham about 3.15pm and obviously I didn't get to do my talk and demo on that day. What can you do when the weather gives everybody a kicking, but if you want to know anything about Bristol or Birmingham airports then I'm yer man.

Sunday at the Swords show was outstanding. I set up to do a bit of a talk at midday and just before I started there was hardly anybody there - no worries Henry, you can can shout at yourself for half an hour!! Lo and behold though the place suddenly fills up and there are actually a bunch of people sitting and standing to listen to me talk, although I always do wonder if most of them are just sitting down to get off their feet for a bit. Nevertheless, I shouted away for half an hour with the aid of some photographs and the audience seemed to enjoy it. Thank you to anybody who came along. I love doing these talks, I really do, and if I can in some tiny way help get a few bods excited about fishing then I've done what I came to do.

I also did a bit of a demonstration in the fly casting pool, and again there were a few people there - do you think they noticed when I sent a lure down the casting pool but had forgotten to snap the bale arm over? Nice one Henry, professional to the last. I couldn't show that much because the pool is so shallow, but a few surface lures and soft plastics later and it seemed to go ok.

My stuff aside, these shows to me are about the people. Obviously I love coming to Ireland in the first place, and I love it when loads of different anglers and angling related people from all over the place get together. When fishing shows are done well they are just fantastic, and this Swords show is incredibly well run by good people. I hugely appreciate them asking me to come to the show.

You've got a country that is meant to be on its knees, but you'd never know it with the Irish people. The show was buzzing, the hotel was packed with people eating and drinking, it looked to me as if the stands at the show were selling plenty of gear, and overall it's just a great feeling to be a part of it. So where's the equivalent in the UK? Where's the UK fishing show where all kinds of anglers come together under one roof and mix, mingle, listen, learn, buy, and generally just be a part of a buzzing fishing based community for a weekend? There are of course various fishing events in the UK, but as far as I am aware there is nothing like this Ireland Swords show, and I think that's a real shame. Why can't we get it more together with the UK fishing industry and work more on inspiring, enthusing, informing and exciting UK anglers?

I got to see the new Simms Vapor wading boots at the show, and from the look and feel of them they could be ideal for saltwater lure fishing. They are by far the lightest Simms wading boots I have personally picked up and I really like how they look so much like a pair of hiking boots. The soles look very different to the ones on my Rivershed boots and I believe they have been completely redesigned. Time will tell how these boots might do for saltwater fishing, but knowing Simms I have high hopes for them, and they are also cheaper than the Rivershed ones as well.

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