Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

The magic of the Minquiers

Our brief visit out to the vast Minquiers reef system was one of the most magical things I have ever done in my life. I love heading out to remote places, and to be able to fish these wild waters and then spend the night out there was seriously special. I want to say a huge thanks to the guys concerned before I go any further - it was a blast. The photo above is of some of the huts overlooking the moorings out there at first light this morning. What a view to wake up to, even if you are sharing a room with somebody who snores - no names shall be mentioned, but the clue is that he caught the sun big time yesterday. Check for the red face !! He might have a tackle shop that sells rather nice red rods and bass lures.......

The fishing was tough, but we saw a few bass and also some nice wrasse on the plugs. Mick and Simon did better on their RIB, and had a fair few bass up to about 4lbs. Below is Steve with one of the fish from yesterday that he took on a dark-backed silver Tackle House Feed Shallow. You can get these killers here. Steve lost a proper bass first thing this morning off the rocks. What awesome looking bass ground, kind of like you would want to show everybody as being completely typical of where bass like to be.

OK, so it would have been very cool if the fishing had been firing big time, but to be perfectly honest I was just happy to be seeing the Minquiers for the first time. It was a proper adventure, and I can't believe that somewhere like this exists so close to the UK. We arrived yesterday around the high water, and apart from a few big lumps of rock sticking out of the water, it looked fairly innocuous. But when that tide began to ebb, it was simply incredible what was uncovered - acres and acres of vicious rocks, sandbanks, gullies and serious tide tips. When this place fishes for bass it goes off big time. Yes, I will be back of course. Just being back in Jersey has got me seriously going again.

We fired up a barbecue last night and cooked up a proper feast, and then ate it under the stars with the sound of the sea for company. That is my kind of thing and I loved every single second of the experience. Sometimes a trip is a lot more than just the fishing, and this brief expedition was just that to me. A great bunch of guys, a magical place, perfect light and a few fish to boot. What more can one want ? Any more would just be greed (ok, so a 10lb plus bass would not go amiss).

Above is a shot of Trevor about to enter the most southerly loo in the UK. Yes, this particular throne is somewhat famous as being the last bastion for a decent evacuation before you hit the French mainland, and I had to get a few photos. Imagine needing to go during a proper winter storm !!

This is the style of bass fishing around much of Jersey - using small, mobile boats to get in really close to the rocks, gullies, gutters and tide rips, and then casting your plugs right in amongst it all. It is wildly exciting stuff and the gear the guys are using these days is a far cry from many years ago. There are some incredibly talented anglers over here.

I got the chance to play with a stunning new red rod from Tenryu that is purpose built for boat and kayak fishing with lures. Called the "Top Water", it is about 7' long and is incredibly powerful but eerily light and responsive to fish with. The tip is just stunning for fishing with both surface and sub-surface lures, and it works them with serious ease. Honestly, the efficiency with which you can work lures with this weapon is just staggering. If I was to get into specialist boat fishing for bass in a big way, I would be getting one of these rods straight away. Give Mick a shout here, and ask him about it. Once again, I am blown away by these red rods - everywhere I look I am seeing them over here.

Here is one of the lures that has been working well for the bass, the Duo Tide Minnow SLD-F. It casts incredibly well, fishes fairly shallow, and has a fantastic, fast wobbling/rocking action. It has a degree of holographic silver colour to the flank which I really like as well. A lot of the Jersey boys have been raving about this lure for a while now. Check here for where you ca get them. I think a few of these might find their way into my lure box for the journey home.

We met up with some guys out at sea earlier on (it's a small world out here), including Bob who was in Ireland with us a few weeks back, and they had done really well early this morning on the bass close to Jersey, so we are heading back out to fish later this afternoon. I can't get enough of this bassing over here. There is a even a Jersey bass festival in mid-October that is shore fishing only, and it is usually won by a big double figure fish. When I get hold of the details I will post them up here. I know my mate Graham is coming over from Ireland to fish it, and the guys here are ready to take him out for a proper bait collecting session that they assure me will leave him knackered, before they even start fishing for nearly forty eight hours solid !! After a decent karaoke session of course....

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