Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

When the bass gods decide to kick you in the teeth

And there ain’t a damn thing you can do about it!! I feel gutted for our four clients - I know what it’s like to look forward to a fishing trip. I understand the expectation levels, I recognise that not everybody gets to go fishing that much, and having had it happen to me on numerous occasions, I then understand when it seems that everything has conspired against you. The bass gods can give us so much sometimes, but last week they peered down at us here in the heaven that is Kerry and decided that we needed a kicking……

Why did the bass behave so badly? Well I know that John and I will beat ourselves up about it until the cows come home, and as much as you can never really know, such a severe temperature drop from the last (and very productive) set of spring tides at a time of year when things are really starting to get going can’t exactly help that much. Bass ain’t robots, and for all the experience and knowledge that John has built up over the years, there are times when the bass are just either not feeding or are not around in good numbers.

We moved around and fished a bunch of different locations to cover the various tidal states. In some places the weather we got could have been a real problem, but around here in Ballinskelligs Bay there are countless options and John found some pretty serious bass fishing conditions. On the coldest day of the trip when the wind howled out of the east and you’d have thought the bass really would have got their heads down and sodded off somewhere else for a while, well that in fact was the day we had the most fish - as I always say, walk away from any angler who tells you they know it all!! Fishing “rules” as such are very much meant to be broken, and I suppose the great thing about taking clients out fishing is that for the most part you are going to try and head out regardless - and this doesn’t half ram it home to you that we ain’t even close to knowing what these fish we chase are really doing for much of the time.

OK, so the fishing was tough. Our clients landed a few bass to no great size, a few good fish were seen mooching around, and we fished hard - but isn’t fishing the best thing in the world? Four guys (clients) come together and you just have a blast with them. Anglers in my book are consistently the most fantastic bunch of people, and I am proud to call myself one - granted, there’s a few idiots around who are best avoided like the proverbial plague, but I just love how a group like this can arrive in Kerry, fish all day with John and I, and then sit around the dinner table, eating Lynn’s pretty serious food, and just yap away with such consummate ease. Laughter is so important, and don’t we anglers tend to have a good giggle together?

That was a tough few days, and although our clients aren’t coming away with tales of serious numbers of big bass crawling up their lines, I would hope that the overall experience makes up for the hard fishing. I loved my first co-guiding trip of the year here at Thatch Cottage Ireland, and I am wishing that time could go faster until I am due back here in August with some more clients. This guiding and helping people with their fishing work seriously floats my boat. I am off to Dungarvan for a few days now, and whilst the forecast is all over the place, as per usual we will put a bunch of hours in and see what we come away with at the end. I’ve spent enough time fishing and photographing away from home to become very realistic, yet every single time I cast a lure or a bait out into Irish waters I can’t help but dream. More to come.