Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

The Friday rant - 06.05.11

What with all the recent Bank Holidays, Easter and of course the Royal Wedding, it's been a while since I posted one of these Friday rants. I could of course have a rant about the royal family, but personally I think that the whole wedding thing did the country proud. OK, so I went for a long cliff-top walk when it was on the box last week, but I still think that nobody does all the pomp and ceremony like we do, and they look like a happy couple to me. Brave girl I reckon, marrying into that family !! My thing today is trolling, otherwise known as one of the only times that I would rather watch paint dry than go fishing. I accept 100% that my inability to derive any pleasure at all from trolling for my fishing is my own weakness, and I also know that me not enjoying it one single bit closes me off to certain experiences that I really should be more open to, but the simple fact is that I just can't handle it.

I often get asked if I have been marlin fishing for example. Now I would kill to see some of these magnificent fish, of course I would, and I love seeing really good photography of these incredible creatures on the front of Marlin mag for example. I could look to go and spend time around it if I really pushed it as part of my work, but the simple fact is that the idea of trolling up and down the ocean on the hunt for them fills me with dread. Give me the instant fix of being hooked up to one and I would be just fine, but that is hardly very realistic is it ? Having to troll lures up and down for hours on end I suppose makes me feel very much detached from the actual fishing part, in that I can't do much except wait while the lures do their things. And anybody who knows me will I am sure attest to how useless I am at waiting around. I need to go and get the fish if that makes sense. Or at least try to........

But yes, I have the utmost respect for the big game skippers who put their clients on fish like this. Take nothing away from the remarkable skill levels involved with finding big game species, but for it's that up and down, up and down, rods out, nothing else to do that finishes me. When I first went to Vancouver Island in Canada I was shooting a couple of chapters for my first book, and a large part of the fishing revolved around trolling for the different Pacific salmon species. We caught a stack of them, and the actual hook up and fighting part was mental, but I still could not help but dislike the actual trolling up and down bit. Being in such a special place more than made up for sitting there and waiting for the rod to release from the downrigger, but what floated my boat the most was getting on the rivers and doing it myself. Much harder fishing, and I remember taking a while to get to grips with trotting that wool down river for the salmon and steelhead, but it was just so involving. Much as I will always listen to and take on board all that my guide says, I am not personally into taking a rod off a guide with a fish on the end. I want to do it myself - under their tutelage of course, but the fact that I have cast and struck myself means everything to me. And trolling takes that part out of the equation for me.

By no means am I having a rant against trolling as such, or indeed anglers who love nothing more than doing it themselves. My rant instead is more against my own inability to enjoy doing it, and the fact that I know this does not help me to be a more rounded or complete angler. I thrive on different fishing experiences in different places, but I would honestly rather service my own reels (yawn) or be forced to sit and watch my own TV programmes (please, no.....) than have to go trolling. So is there any way I might better myself as an angler and get into it ? Do any of you have trolling experience that you think might do it for me ? I would so love to see sailfish for example, or perhaps nail some of those monster lake trout in the Yukon. Imagine a monster black marlin coming up on the teasers or a wild ferox trout on a wild Scottish loch. All are kinds of fishing that I know I should be looking to experience - but if only I could work out a way to love trolling up and down.......