Your mate catches a serious fish - do you celebrate his or her success, but with a tinge of jealousy?

It interests me how anglers react when their mates catch a really good fish, and I wonder how often that human trait known as jealousy rears its ugly face? Do you jump for unfettered joy when your mate lands that special fish, or do you kinda jump for joy but inside you’re thinking lucky sod, and why the hell didn’t that particular fish come to me?

It was a very, very special experience to witness this fine bass being caught and then released.

It was a very, very special experience to witness this fine bass being caught and then released.

Through the course of going fishing and working around fishing I suppose I have seen and indeed caught a bunch of what I would class as pretty special fish, whether that be a what is now a fair few 10lb+ bass that I have seen landed from the shore - albeit I have not landed one myself yet - to numerous, more exotic foreign fish the likes of which the vast majority of anglers will never catch let alone see in their lifetimes. It’s obviously bass fishing which absolutely obsesses me these days, and obviously it’s a double figure bass which I suppose most anglers into this kind of fishing dream about catching from the shore especially. But as I said, I haven’t landed one yet from the shore, so when I either see one landed from the shore or hear about one that a mate has caught, does the fact that they have caught the magical 10lb+ bass and I haven’t yet make me jealous of their success?

I am convinced that it’s my obsession with photography as well as fishing which I believe removes any feelings of jealousy I might (reasonably?) have when a mate catches the fish of a lifetime. Sure, whilst I’d like to catch a 10lb+ bass from the shore, I guess it doesn’t bother me as much as some anglers - and that’s perhaps for two reasons. Firstly I’ve caught enough “special” fish around this glorious world to give me what I think is perhaps a different sense of perspective to those anglers who have not been as lucky as I have with my experience of sport fishing on a global and not just local scale, and secondly, it’s such a genuine pleasure to be able to take the photos of an angler cradling the fish of a lifetime. Hell, simply being there is enough for me.

I want the photos of such special fish and I’d sure love it if I caught a bass like that one day, but I don’t feel jealous. It’s just too damn special to see fish like that to feel jealous or envious, or at least that’s what I reckon. And nope, that doesn’t remotely make me a good person, rather it’s always going to be the whole fishing experience that does it for me, and whilst I am competitive by nature, for some reason fishing doesn’t bring that side out in me at all. Damn right I would like to catch a fish like that - and I might or indeed might not one day - but you can’t not be swept up in how happy it tends to make somebody feel to achieve a lifetime’s ambition. And as for anglers who don’t get excited about it? Well I would ask what’s the point in them going fishing in the first place?

One thing I will never understand is anything along the lines of so and so didn’t deserve to catch so and so fish because they haven’t been at it for more than a lifetime, haven’t paid their dues (whatever that crap actually means), or didn’t do their own homework and other rubbish like that. You hook that fish and you successfully land it, well I reckon it’s damn well done and you sure as hell “deserve” to beam with joy at catching it.

Like the bass in the photo above. From memory it was Michael’s second ever bass he caught (the bloke on the left), but he hooked it, he landed it, and he damn well “deserved” to be the proud captor. OK, so he was taken to the mark (as I had kindly been a few years previously), he was helped along with baiting up and where to cast etc., but does that then make his catching such a special fish any more or less “deserving” than say my mate Mark and the sheer, glorious joy that came across on the phone when he landed his bass of a lifetime in May last year? No, of course not. I was in Ireland at the time and the only tinge of regret I myself feel is that I wasn’t with him at home in Cornwall to share in the joy of the moment when he landed his first 10lb+ bass from the shore. No offence to our mate Andy, but I wish I had been there with my camera!

And here’s a look at my work in the new issue of Sea Angler magazine that will be in the shops very soon. Thanks Charlie for being so kind as to let me interrupt your fishing to shoot those photos. It will be fascinating to see if that particular spot will fish as well sometime this year as it did for us towards the end of last year………..