Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

You bleed with your clients

If we landed every fish we hooked then the saying goes that it would be called catching and not fishing, but it’s something kinda unique to be working with your clients and of course not actually fishing yourself, and then watch as they lose the potential fish of a lifetime - and it hurts. Both of us. We’ve all lost good fish, indeed I would doubt there’s a serious angler out there who hasn’t suffered nightmares over certain fish that were not landed for whatever reason, but it’s some kind of feeling to share that loss with another angler - when they are the person who lost the fish, and in reality the guide is a mere witness that wants for nothing more than his client to land the fish, but of course can do nothing but cross fingers and hope that all goes to plan………

Which being fishing and a fish like bass on a lure in shallow water with plenty of current, weed and rocks, of course things don’t always go to plan. The bass fishing has been pretty tough for our first bunch of clients (where’s the wind when you need it?), but at the end of last week John made the call to go for a bit of a drive and try somewhere very different. I had been there before earlier in the year and it’s some classic bass ground where you don’t get a huge amount of fishing time due to a rapidly flooding tide, but that comparatively little bit of time can be worth it of course if things go to plan - which they so nearly did. I walked for a while with Tim and Richard and got them in position, and as that current really started to move I couldn’t help but feel rather confident that we would see a bit of action.

I won’t bore you with all the details save for the fact that Richard eventually hooked up to a proper bass. I got a good look at the fish and it was a bass we seriously wanted to land, put it that way. I like to think that I err on the cautious side when it comes to estimating fish, but it would have been his best bass ever and Richard did everything right that I could think of. He knows exactly what he’s doing and save for me showing them roughly where to stand and picking that killer cotton candy IMA Komomo SF125 out of my lure box (this colour just gives me so much confidence over shallow rough ground when the sky is bright), I can do no more than remain around the guys, let them get on with their fishing, and help where required. There was a lot of weed in front of us and I am of the opinion that Richard’s bass hit that weed and then the lure hinged around and ruined the hookhold. The bass came out of the weed and then came off, but I can still see it kiting against the strong current and banging the rod tip down.

So I’ve got an angler who is quite frankly distraught, and me the “guide” is absolutely bloody gutted. We haven’t got much longer on the mark and Richard keeps fishing away, and of course we talk back and forth about what happened. I did my best to convince him that he didn’t do anything wrong, and yes, I truly feel that, but of course when we are connected to a good fish that then gets off, we blame ourselves in some way. We’re buzzed up because there were obviously some good fish around, but at the same time we are both bleeding that a proper bass wasn’t quite landed. I am tearing my brain apart with what I as the person who is there to help could have done better, but aside from diving in and locating that swine fish, I am pretty sure I did my job as best I could - some fish ain’t meant to be landed, and for all those good fish we might or might not have caught, surely it strikes you how those ones that get away are what linger the longest. Richard ended up taking a nice bass off the top on the IMA Salt Skimmer at a different spot, and whilst it was a little consolation for the one that wasn’t to be, I think he knows that we bleed together!! More to come from out here in Kerry. I so love this place and I absolutely love this work that I am doing with John Quinlan and Thatch Cottage Ireland.