The first ever competition on this blog - with a fantastic prize

I have never run a competition on this blog before, but I have been thinking about doing one for a while now. Now that we are near Christmas, I thought this was the right time to do it. I am going to run a photo competition. The idea might go down like a lead balloon, I accept that, but I want to give it a go - and the prize is just awesome. This blog keeps on growing and I hugely appreciate all the comments and feedback I get from you guys. This is a way of saying thanks.

I have spoken to Veals Mail Order, the people doing the fantastic new Grauvell Teklon Concept Spin rods that I referred to as Rod "X" while I played around with them. And as I suspected, the more I play around with the slightly lighter 8' model, the 802ML, the more I am really liking it for all round bass lure work - hard lures, both surface and sub-surface, and soft plastics, jigs etc.). Anyway, Veals Mail Order are donating one of these rods as the first prize for the photo competition. How cool is that ?

Here's what we are going to do - I want to see your best (European sea) bass fishing photo. It can be anything to do with bass fishing, I don't really care, but I want to see some good stuff - it really can be anything connected with bass fishing, as long as it's in focus, properly exposed, and it grabs my eye. I mean anything - the fish, the people, the places, the lures, boats, seascapes, baits, you name it, I want to see it.

These are the rules for entering - please submit only one photo. Do it via email from the "Contact Me" page on this blog - in the subject line of the email, put your first and last name and photo competition in there, like this "Joe Bloggs, photo competition". Make sure to put your full postal address in that email in case you win - then the rod can be posted out to you. Your address will go no further than me and then Veals Mail Order if you end up winning. Tell me which one of the two rods you would like to get if you were to win - either the 8'3'' 15-50g or the 8' 10-40g version (see my thoughts here). Decisions, decisions !!

Now the really important part, as I do not want to have massive photos coming into my inbox that clog it up and give me grief. It is vital that you resize your photos to specific dimensions - anything that falls outside of these requirements will be automatically rejected. Any problems with resizing, either search around online for various (free) ways to do it, or check out these two links here that will provide a bit of help (here and here) Resize your photo via these instructions :

Longest side dimension (width or height) to be no more than 640 pixels (same size as the photos you see here).

The photo resolution must be no more than 72dpi.

Give the photo a title, no more than ten words - put this in the email.

Attach your resized photo as a JPEG to the email and then send it to me.

I have to ask this purely on trust, but I would appreciate it if nobody who works in fishing enters this. I want to see photos from fishermen who have no feet in the trade so to speak, and I want the rod to go to somebody to whom a brand new, modern-style bass plugging rod will really make a difference.

I hope that all makes sense - the closing date for entries is Thursday 31st December, and I will then pick and announce the winner at the start of 2010. The winning photo will be posted up on this blog and I will give my reasons as to why I chose it. In essence I am the judge, jury and executioner all rolled into one !! Your chosen rod will then be sent to you direct from Veals Mail Order. By emailing me your photos, you are agreeing to me showing some of them on this blog - what I would like to do is to put the odd one up here as the competition unfolds. My side of the bargain is that the photos emailed to me will go nowhere else other than this blog. Best of luck, and please start those entries rolling in.....

The guy who helped us out with the shore fishing in Norway when we filmed around Saltstraumen has just started a blog about his exploits (check out the Element Fishing - Norway blog on the right side of this page), and if you want to get an idea about how insane the fishing can be over there, then check this post out here. Eirik took a 50lb cod off the shore a couple of days ago - yes, you read that right, 50lbs !!! Now that is a proper fish. Check out the halibut he is taking off the shore as well. Such a nice guy, a hugely talented angler, and he has very recently become a father for the first time. Nice one !! Plus he listens to proper music as well.............

Anyway, I am off to Ireland tomorrow morning. Andy and I are taking the StenaLine ferry from Fishguard to Rosslare as per usual, and if all goes according to plan we will be out fishing early on Sunday morning. As to what the weather allows us to do, time will tell, but whatever happens, it's always awesome to go over to Ireland. Going bass fishing at this time of year is always a gamble with the weather, but the biggest fish do tend to come out during the colder, stormier months. If you don't give it a go then you'll never stand a chance. Taking lots of waterproof and thermal clothing !!