Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

The right place at the right time - is there anything more important ?

You have probably gathered by now that I am an angler who does happen to be fascinated with lure fishing tackle as well as fishing itself - bearing in mind that for so many years the bulk of my fishing revolved around 13' long 4-6oz beachcasters and multiplier reels (mullet fishing aside), it never ceases to amaze me how much fun it is to fish with all this lighter gear. I love learning about it. But for all my fishing tackle obsessions, I am sure that all of us at heart want to know as much as we can about the whole "right place at the right time" thing...............

Now the easiest way of course to get a crash course in watercraft is to pay for an insight by hiring a professional fishing guide. Whether this be GT fishing in the Seychelles or bass fishing in Ireland, there are various guides and guiding services out there that have one single business plan if you like - to put you, the angler, on fish, and never will I understand a client who does not listen and take on board what his or her guide says - presuming of course that there is some high quality guiding going on. What a chance to learn.

But for the most part we are all going out fishing and using our own knowledge and experiences to try and find the fish, or we fish with mates who (kindly) help to teach us - and then we swap back and forth. This is what fishing is all about is it not ? Heading out to try and outwit nature and fool a fish or two into taking our baits or lures. Sure, I love messing around with the tackle side of things, but first and foremost I am doing all I can to keep on learning about fishing the right places at the right times. Sometimes we get it right and sometimes we are way off, but while this whole watercraft thing to me is on the one hand the most important thing in fishing, on the other hand the single most difficult thing to write about and put across.

But why ? Well watercraft, or the right place at the right time, is far from an exact science as we all know, and whilst certain tides, conditions etc. might be perfect for me and where I fish, there is a high chance that these factors may have no relevance to where you yourself are fishing. I used to fish a few spots on the north coast of Cornwall for winter codling and generally I would never head up there unless it was blowing at least a south west gale. I would imagine though that a south west gale on somewhere like Chesil Beach is going to be unfishable for example, and I must guess that anglers up in the north east want big east winds to kick their seas up, whereas I would almost weep when we got east winds in the cod season. So then, what is the right place at the right time for cod fishing ? Kinda depends does it not ?

The whole right place at the right time to me is also a very visual thing that perhaps does not always translate that well via the written word. Many of us in the fishing journalism business do our best to get various bits of information across via words and photos, but how best could you describe the word "fizz" for example ? By taking the angler to the spot when it's fizzing of course and showing them what it's all about, which is somewhat unrealistic I grant you - video perhaps is another way, and with so many magazines now producing iPad versions it does make one think about different methods of getting information across......................

Now if the right place at the right time is tricky to write about, then casting is even harder. When I used to do demonstrations at the CLA Game Fair I would sometimes get an audience member to come onto the platform and have a go, because I reckon that with a bit of coaching that almost anybody can be taught the basic fundamentals of casting say a lure within about ten seconds (fly casting is another ball game entirely !!). Pendulum casting is of course another step up, but nothing on this front will ever beat either watching somebody casting, getting some coaching, or at least watching decent video footage. Now though think about how tricky it is to really get across these casting techniques via the written word - for all those many thousands of words and hundreds of photos spent diligently trying to describe to people what to do, you know that nothing will ever beat seeing it in real life. As with seeing the right place at the right time in real life.............

I think it is vital to remember when you are reading magazines, books, blogs and forums that every single angler is always going to be on a learning curve, and as such I will always avoid the internet experts/keyboard warriors especially because I passionately believe in not trying to ram one's opinions down everybody else's throats like they are some kind of gospel that cannot and must not be deviated from. All of us want to know more about the right places at the right times, and some anglers know a lot more about it than others, but if there is one thing that can we can all get from this is that nothing on the watercraft front will ever beat actually being out and about and fishing - whether it's on your own, with some mates or with a guide.