Henry Gilbey
Cape Cod - 1010.jpg


Henry Gilbey blog

Wild fishing stirs the soul

I guess if you sat a random sample of anglers down and asked them why they go fishing you would end up with a stack of different answers. If you fish you "get it", or at least the vast majority of anglers do. Those anglers who leave old hooks, line and bait packets around don't deserve to be called anglers, but that aside I guess you could all look within yourselves to try and decipher what it is about trying to catch fish that so does it for you. And me. Fishing is of course about trying to catch fish. Trying your best to outwit nature. Doing your utmost to convince a fish to eat your bait, lure or fly. But how about stirring your soul ?

I am not a religious person and I don't believe in any kind of afterlife, but I do believe that fishing can stir something deep within. I love fishing with mates and I like fishing a wide variety of places, but it's those times when you almost feel that you could be standing at the edge of the earth - that's when fishing to be becomes almost an out of body experience. Imagine many years ago when people looked out across the sea and thought you could fall off the edge of the horizon. I love to think like that when I am standing on a rock somewhere a bit more remote. The sky, the ocean, and sounds of the birds and the sheer splendour of where I am can sometimes cause a kind of constriction in my chest as I struggle to take it all in and process it into something tangible (it could be a bit of trapped wind of course). Sometimes it all feels so special to me that I can't imagine how anything could be any better or more simple. I do what I can with photographs and words, but at heart I know that there is no way you can capture what it feels like to be a part of something so simple yet so profoundly infectious as the quieter and more out of the way places of this wonderful world we live in.

I think a lot of people don't realise how off the beaten track you can get in countries like the UK and Ireland. I seriously dig the fact that places like the west coast of Ireland and large parts of Scotland for example can give almost anybody that sense of being "out there". Put me somewhere like the outrageously beautiful Beara peninsular in south west Ireland and I get the same kinds of feelings as I might in the wilds of BC. OK, so I am not running the risk of getting attacked by a bear on the Beara, but somewhere so majestic and under-populated like that is one of those places where I can stand on a rock and feel like this is it. This is the edge of the earth and out there is just this vast blue ocean and nothing else. I guess that for all the technology and home comforts we have these days, from time to time some of us just need to feel a bit "out there".

I am not talking about communicating with the plants and getting all spiritual. I am simply talking about that feeling you get when life sort of feels "right" for a while, and I tend to get that when I am outside and away from lots of people. Some people I know like the hustle and bustle of cities and towns, but what fishing can give us is this sense of getting out there a bit. Fishing is not an escape for me, but I do need my fix of wildness. Sure, there is wild and there is wild, but it's not that hard to get yourself off the beaten track to a place where you can sit and look out at the sea and feel that yes, this is about all one really needs to feel whole again.