Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

What do you do when you've got a lot of hungry fish in front of you ?

We've had a few times fairly recently around where I live when there have been a lot of bass in some very tidy conditions. I would love to say that they were all monster fish trying their best to crawl up our lines, but for the most part they were not big bass - but then I weigh up their lack of size against having a bit of fun catching a few fish. Now we could just as easily be talking about any kind of fish here, but I am interested in what you might or might not do in those situations when you quickly work out that there are potentially a lot of fish to be caught............

Do you fill your boots, catch as many as possible and perhaps keep count for example ? I can quite understand wanting to catch all the fish you can if they are there in front of you and very hungry. Some anglers like to keep a tally of the numbers or sizes of the fish they catch and some don't - horses for courses again and this is categorically not a blog post that aims to question the rights or wrongs of how you go about your own fishing. Catching lots of fish can be huge fun, of course it can, but since there are many different ways to skin a cat, I'm going to tell you what I tend to do. And please note the phrase "tend to". I am not at all against filling my boots from time to time. A memory bank that is closer to full than empty gets me through the lean times that bit better !!

In general, numbers of fish means little to me. It probably used to, but not anymore really. Perhaps it stems from my photography in that I can't photograph masses and masses of fish/grip and grins, and also because I have travelled a lot for work and have seen all kinds of fishing for all kinds of fish and this maybe gives me a different perspective on things. Sure, I love to catch a few of whatever fish I am chasing, but fishing for me is always about the whole experience - fish, place, people, methods etc. I don't fish competitions and I have no interest in trying to catch more or bigger fish than the people I fish with. I am competitive by nature yet I never feel remotely competitive about my fishing. Go figure...........

For the most part those situations where you could end up catching a lot of fish are for me predominantly a time to experiment. I don't have a lifetime's worth of lure fishing experience to fall back on and I am doing what I can to get better at it, and therefore so much of my lure fishing is about confidence. All I need to do is to catch a fish on a certain lure or by using a specific technique/method and that gives me all the confidence I need to do it again. I now know that the lure or method catches fish for me and I now have complete confidence that it works - not always of course, but I have proved to myself that it's worth doing again. So my whole thing behind experimenting when there are a lot of fish around is because I reckon I can try some different stuff out on some hungry, willing fish and give myself a fresh jolt of confidence. Sure, I could easily stick with the same lure or method that is working and hauling in numbers of fish, but because numbers are not really my thing I tend to stop using what I know is working and try some different stuff out. Earlier this year for example I caught my first ever bass on a metal vibration lure (the IMA Koume 90). This does not suddenly make me the world's leading authority on bass fishing with vibration lures, but for me personally I have now caught bass with this kind of lure and when I clip one on again I have that confidence level of knowing that it has worked for me already (and yes, I have used them a little bit for pollack and done ok). See what I mean ? There was nothing remotely technical about me putting a vibration lure on that particular evening. I had one in my lure box, there were stacks of hungry (smallish) bass out on front of us, and I used that as an excuse for trying out some new lures. I could have just as easily kept on smashing bass on surface lures for example and perhaps caught plenty more in the process, but my way tends to be to try some different stuff out. On the flipside then, when the fishing is tough, what do you do ? Chop and change lures and/or methods or stick with a lure or method that you have supreme confidence in ?