Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

Wild fly fishing

I had a great day yesterday with Nick Hart, photographing a fly fishing feature for Trout Fisherman magazine - few fish are as pretty as a pure, wild brown trout from a gin clear stream. Small they may be, but they are perfectly formed little fish that offer a real challenge to lots of fly fishermen. I could photograph these things all day long. Many fly fishermen believe that chasing stocked trout on chalkstreams is what it is all about, but little in my mind can compare to the kind of thing we did yesterday. Each to their own though.

We were up on the remote Badgworthy Water, a tiny river that runs through a stunning part of Exmoor and then drains into the Lyn. We traipsed a few miles up this river until it began to open out as you can see above - what a breathtaking place, presumably virtually unfished, yet it costs only £5 to fish it for the day. Nick did really well in tricky conditions, and he nailed a fair few wild browns for my cameras. All went back unharmed. My sheepdog Jess had about the best day possible as well, so all in all it was just perfect. I love being able to call a day like yesterday my work. England in the early summer is great - when the sun is out that is.

Nick could not resist trying this pool out as we wandered back, and although we could see some nice trout moving about, they proved to be that little bit too wary - most likely not helped by me tramping around with my cameras, but needs must. I am never sure whether I really like these shots where the water takes on a blurred effect due to a small aperture and resultant slow shutter speed, but I had no choice - I wanted the scene to be sharp from front to back, and that required a tripod, f16 and of course a slower shutter speed. Hence the blurred water on the right of the shot. I like the overall composition and I am fairly sold on the water - I think !! What a stunning part of the south west though. So many different "looks" all within a few miles of each other and somewhere I would very much like to return.

Nick Hart has been rather more forthcoming than I was about the reasons for me not photographing pike on the fly earlier this week, and for that I say well done. Nick's thoughts are on his blog, check here. Fishing is a great sport and I love working in it, but fishing "politics" leave me cold. Adapt or die is a saying that I subscribe to completely in my business.......

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