Friday, 28 December 2007

My review of 2007

2007 - what a year. Where on earth has it gone ? Does time go faster as you get older, or do we remember less and less ? Whatever happens, working in the world of recreational fishing still proves to be a dream come true. My work takes me all around the world for photographic, filming, writing and consultancy purposes, but wherever I go and whatever I see, still I love my home fishing. Give me a plugging rod and a lively sea and I am a happy man. How could anybody ever tire of being around our bass ? Meeting all kinds of people involved in fishing is always a thrill for me, and working with some hugely talented anglers is just plain awesome.
Below is about the most impressive fish I have seen this year - South African fly fisherman Rob Lewis with an estimated 40lb bumphead parrotfish taken on a turtle grass flat on the remote Seychelles atoll of Providence. I am still sure that I am the first professional fishing photographer to have witnessed and photographed these incredible fish being sight fished to and caught on the flats, on the fly - what a thing to see, and they have been catching these now on a fairly regular basis up to around 70lbs !! Science seems to say that this should not be happening, but it is. The South African guiding company FlyCastaway are the guys you need to fish with - book a trip through Aardvark McLeod. There are plenty of photographs all over my website, click here to see.
My favourite bit of kit that I bought this year was this outrageous looking fixed spool (spinning) reel pictured below - a Van Staal VSB150. Sealed, waterproof, horribly strong and just about perfect for so much of my fishing. My first fish on it was an Irish bass of about 6lbs. I caught a few GTs off the back of the boat in the Seychelles the other day, and the biggest perhaps was close to 50lbs - the reel was impeccable throughout. I have no affiliation with Van Staal, but I am more than happy to recommend a quality product. If you are trashing your fixed spool reels because you keep getting them soaking wet, then this reel is for you.

Being a complete music freak, how could I not tell you what I believe was the premier extreme metal release of the year ? A daft name for a band I know, but the album Theogonia (cover below) by the Greek group Rotting Christ was for me my number 1 release of the year. I have played this CD so many times that I can air drum to the whole thing !! It is awesome. There was stacks of good metal released this year and I look forward to spending too much money again next year on new CDs.

Work related travel has taken me to some very cool places this year - Venezuela, Florida, Colorado, Norway, Seychelles (twice), Ireland, and Canada. Nothing to me beats seeing different parts of the world, for fishing is a truly global sport. I have shot sea fishing, freshwater fishing and plenty of fly fishing, but still to me fishing is simply fishing, whatever way you choose to do it. Every day I photograph fishing is special in its own way, whether home or abroad. I don't really care if fish are big or small - as long as it looks good and the people involved are having a good time, that is all I want to see. Photographing fishing is my obsession and I have some exciting stuff lined up for next year. Watch this space to keep up to date with what is going on. There will be a few surprises I can guarantee you................
But the biggest single thing work wise for me this year was signing on to do a fishing book for the worldwide publishing house Dorling Kindersley, otherwise known as DK. It was a monumental project that took over my life for close to six months, but the results are worth it - see here for a look at the cover, and then click here to pre-order it. It is my second book for DK and I am really proud of what has been achieved. I passionately believe that the sport of fishing is an entirely logical and simple thing to do, and the flow of the book corresponds to my beliefs. Plus there are a stack of very cool fishing photos in there as well !!
Check out the DVD of my brothers' feature film, in shops now. Click here to buy the DVD of their awesome film "Rise of the Footsoldier". It is a big release and there is an excellent "making of" on the second disk. They are busy writing a new script with a view to filming next year.
On a more personal note, I am going to do all I can to give my family more of my time, for the book took up too much of it. Work is important of course, but nothing will ever beat spending time with my wife, two young daughters and of course, my sheepdog Jess.
A very Happy New Year to all of you, and may 2008 be a good one for all the right reasons.

Monday, 24 December 2007

Happy Christmas

I hope you all have a fantastic Christmas and New Year, wherever you are and whatever you are doing. 2007 has been an awesome year here, and I hope it has been for you - here's to 2008. Always good to be busy with work, but next year I am determined to actually do more fishing myself.
I am hearing about some good fish around the south west - masses of big winter flounder, with plenty topping 3lbs, plus a few big cod from the Tamar, including one of over 22lbs the other night. The Tamar is something else - a place that can drive you mad over time with its many different moods, but you know that at any moment it could throw up a fish of a lifetime. Put some proper time in and next time it could be you landing a fish like this.
Above is a photo of top South African rock and surf angler John Crabb pushing his boss Gerhard Laubscher in at the end of our trip the other day. John is an awesome guide for FlyCastaway, plus you would not believe the fish he catches off the South African coastline, indeed we have made plans to meet up later in 2008 and fish/photograph together - watch this space. They catch monsters from the shore, including all kinds of sharks, sand sharks, kob, garrick, huge GTs, various reef species, plus monster honeycomb rays. Bring it on !!
Happy Christmas. I will post more in the New Year.........

Friday, 21 December 2007

Home sweet home.....

These remote atoll trips involve living on a mothership, and each day tenders run you to the nearby flats for the fishing - the boat we stayed on is anchored here just off Assumption atoll, where we picked up the boat and steamed overnight to Cosmoledo. I really like the whole dynamic of a trip like this. Assumption has a landing strip, hence us flying there from Mahe, and the fishing is fantastic - around the boat were masses of different fish, and I saw a manta ray swim past. Look how close we are to the shore !! GTs flock to the boat at night and spend much of the time smashing into hapless bait fish - the aggression levels of these fish is truly amazing. Anglers have caught sailfish, wahoo, GTs, yellowfin tuna, dogtooth tuna and bonefish around Assumption before even heading over to Cosmoledo. To spend time around such pristine waters is wildly exciting and every day I have to pinch myself that my job enables me to do things like this. I'll happily photograph most kinds of fishing in most kinds of places, but to walk on wild flats with perfect weather is something else entirely. And to see so many fish around is like being in your own private aquarium.

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

The milkfish man

The milkfish is a quite extraordinary flats fishing quarry, but their gentle looking nature belies a ferocious turn of speed when hooked. Arno Matthee (pictured above, one of the FlyCastaway guys, without doubt the most skilled and professional guiding outfit I have come across) is the guy who is credited with working out how to successfully catch milkfish on the fly, indeed the very fly has been generously named after him. Arno's Milky Dream is THE milkfish fly. You can not believe how hard these milkfish fight - Arno hooked this one on his first cast at a pod of feeding fish, but even then it took all his skill and perseverance to land it on a 10 weight fly outfit. The remote Seychelles atolls are among the few places on earth where you can target big, flats-based milkfish on the fly. FlyCastaway have been running another mothership operation over on Providence, a huge, virtually unfished atoll I have visited a couple of times - click here for photos. We crossed over with the Providence guides back in Mahe on our way home, and the stories were incredible - monster bonefish and GTs, plus good numbers of bumphead parrotfish to over 70lbs on the fly, on the flats !! I photographed these fish earlier in the year, but the guys are finding some really big fish and I was told that sometimes these extraordinary fish will poke their strange heads out of the water to take a look at you. They do take flies, so get yourself out there as soon as you can. This is cutting edge fly fishing. Speak to Pete at Aardvark McLeod and he will sort you out a trip.
Not long until Christmas now - where has 2007 gone ? I am really looking forward to taking some time off with my family, and then getting my head down to make 2008 an even better and more exciting year. Working in fishing for me is a dream come true, but most anglers would not believe what it takes to make it work.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

GT fever.....

Surely the most aggressive flats-based fish there is, the GT defies belief - to watch a 60lb plus predator rush at a fly with such aggression that half its back comes out of the water on the charge gets me very single time. Arno Matthee nailed this big GT on the first day of the trip, using a 12 weight outfit. I also saw my first big tiger shark later on that day, swimming close to us in a small depression on the flat. These remote atolls are truly wild places. Not much comes close to this Seychelles fishing.

We had perfect weather every single day, and the guys caught a stack of fish. I love it when the sun gets really high and bright, illuminating the clouds with a slight tinge of pink. I shot virtually the whole week with my 16-35 lens and a polarising filter - what a treat. I am in the middle of processing the shoot at the moment, and I will post more photos here in due course.

Monday, 17 December 2007

Awesome Seychelles

I have just got back from another mind-blowing trip to the remote Seychelles atoll of Cosmoledo - my third time out to this part of the world, and each time I am totally blown away by the insane fishing and the pristine nature of this these unique environments. A hard frost at Heathrow airport was a hell of a shock to arrive back to - and I know your hearts bleed for me !! We had perfect weather the whole time and I got some seriously cool photos.
Over the next few days I will tell you more about the trip, but in the meantime, above is a photos of one of the world's truly great fly fishing quarries - the milkfish. These fish fight so hard you would not believe, and they are seriously tough to hook, but what magnificent fish to see. There were huge GTs, bonefish and milkfish caught on the flats during the week we were there (plus many other species), and if you can you owe it to yourself to fish these pristine waters for yourself. The FlyCastaway guides are the best in the world, and you can book a trip there through Aardvark McLeod. The remote atolls offer arguably the finest saltwater fly fishing on this earth.

Monday, 3 December 2007

My new fishing book

Well here it is, the front cover to my new book that comes out around April next year. I have found a link to it already online, click here. This has been the single biggest project I have ever undertaken in my life and I have basically buried myself away for the last five months to work on it. Apart from the odd photography trip overseas and of course keeping up with my magazine and consultancy work, this book project has had a hold of me for nearly half of this year. It is amazing to see a thing like this come to life as your words and photos are made into virtual pages. Technology allowed me to photograph various last minute things we needed for the book when I was out in Canada, and then upload the required photos direct from my laptop when still on location. In fact I do not believe that such a visual book like this would have been possible without digital photography and high speed internet. I am hugely proud of the finished book and I am really looking forward to seeing it in print next year.
Here is what Amazon says about my new book : "This title covers everything you ever wanted to know about fishing: from tackle, baits, lures, species and techniques, to where to fish. Whether you're a newcomer to fishing, or an experienced angler brushing up your skills, this is your perfect companion to every aspect of the sport. Pick up essential techniques on how to cast, play and land your catch whether you're course fishing for trout, or landing marlin on the open sea. Get yourself properly equipped following expert advice on rods, reels, lines, baits, lures, as well as clothing and accessories. Plus, discover the best places to go fishing with a superb directory of marine and freshwater species covering where you can find them across the world. This is an exciting addition to "Eyewitness Companions"; the visual reference series covering favourite hobbies and pastimes from whisky and opera to horse riding."
Anyway, now I can get on with packing for my Seychelles trip. On Wednesday I fly to Paris and then connect straight down to Mahe, arriving on Thursday morning. Then on Friday we fly out to the middle of nowhere, to pick up the boat that will be our home for a week around the mighty Cosmoledo atoll. This trip could not be better timed for me - as I sign off the book, I can then head straight off to paradise to photograph the most awesome fishing on this earth. I am dreaming of those huge blue skies that work so well with wide angle photography, and of course, the incredible fish that the guys catch down there. Photographing with the FlyCastaway guides and their clients is just out of this world.
There will be no updates to this blog until I get back, for we are essentially fishing and photographing off the edge of the world. Internet access does not happen where we are heading !! I will start posting some photos and stories from the trip from 16th December. In the meantime, take a good look around my website at the masses of photos and photo essays.

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Proper storm

As I am doing some work here, it is raging outside with the first proper storm of the autumn (or is it now winter ?). These conditions are always impressive to witness, so above is a photo from the north coast of Cornwall, taken over the last New Year. If these aren't cod conditions, then I don't know what is !! We used to bang loads of codling out when it was like this, mainly from Newquay headland and the Camel estuary. I never had anything very big, but it was great fun. If you are out fishing, play it safe.
Best of luck today to the Plymouth anglers fishing in Clive's annual Christmas flounder competition, hope you've got the waterproofs packed. I am going to go and shoot some flounder fishing when I am back from the Seychelles - it is always really pretty when you get clear, icy conditions. These fish are a complete cult thing down here in the south west.

Friday, 30 November 2007

Still getting ready...

Work is not allowing me much time to really get everything together for this Seychelles trip next week, but I am flinging things in a bag as and when I think about it. I am seriously excited about going, but there is a lot of work to clear. As I said earlier in the week, this kind of remote, mothership/live aboard trip means we can only take limited gear, so from a photography point of view, this is what I will be taking :
  • two Canon 1D MK11 cameras
  • Canon 16-35mm f2.8L lens
  • Canon 70-200 f4L IS lens
  • undecided at the moment between Canon 15mm fisheye and Canon 24-105 f4L IS lens
  • Canon 580 EX11 Speedlite flashgun
  • Hoya polarising filters for the lenses, plus a back-up one for the 16-35 lens
  • my 10.6 inch Fujitsu laptop - this thing has done fantastically well for me, it is a real workhorse
  • Freecom portable external hard drive
  • Sandisk memory cards, cables, battery charger etc.

I am also going to sneak my new Van Staal reel in to my bag, with a travel-style heavy duty Greys spinning rod and a few lures. At night I can mess about a bit off the boat when we have done the flats fishing, there are always loads of GTs hanging around the boat, and big dogtooth tuna are there as well. If I hook a monster one of these I expect to be smoked !! Last year I had a reel emptied in about five seconds, I have never seen anything like it.

I shot a really good looking winter stillwater trout feature for Trout Fisherman magazine earlier this week. Nick Hart and I managed to get the material we needed before the rain came in. Really lovely little fishery called Valley Springs, and Nick did well to catch a few good conditioned rainbows with the size 10 Stalking Bug you can see in the photo above. The feature will be in Trout Fisherman sometime soon. These smaller stillwaters really make you work as a photographer, for their very nature somewhat limits what you can do creatively, especially when the skies are overcast. But I reckon this kind of shoot sorts the men from the boys !!

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Getting ready....

Between frantically checking the edits made to my book and writing/photographing magazine features, I am starting to get ready for a trip back to the Seychelles next week. I reckon the ultra-remote atolls that lie many hundreds of miles away from civilisation offer arguably the best saltwater fishing anywhere on this earth. Nowhere for starters can you sight fish the flats for such insane numbers of big GTs like the one above. I am heading out there for my third trip to photograph this extraordinary fishing. There is only one group of guides that I trust for this "out there" fishing and that is the FlyCastaway guys from South Africa. You can book trips out there through the fly fishing travel company Aardvark McLeod. This kind of fishing is expensive, but what price the best there is ? See a bunch of photos from my recent trips here and here.
What you can carry is limited by various factors - weight restrictions, the sheer physical nature of the fishing (lots of walking and wading in serious heat) and actually photographing on the flats. Being out all day means that I need to carry camera gear plus sufficient water (dehydration is bad news), and changing lenses while wading is really difficult. Using one lens for long periods is a great discipline, but big blue skies usually allow for a lot of wide-angle photography. It is about as exciting as fishing and fishing photography is ever going to get. I spend most of the time on a trip like this in a complete state of excitement and then just collapse on the plane journey home.
All my camera gear for this kind of flats trip goes in a Lowepro DryZone Rover. This is a great bag for walking miles and miles, and it has an inbuilt water bladder system that is invaluable. Polarised sunglasses are essential : use the Maui Jim ones and you will not go far wrong. I am taking the Lagoon model with the HCL lenses, and a spare pair for a backup. I wear all the usual tropical fishing clothing - shirts, shorts, flats boots, neoprene gravel guards, hat etc. I have yet to find a better suncream anywhere than the awesome BullFrog. Annoyingly we can not get it in the UK, so I always pick up a load when I am in the US. I use the factor 36 Quik Gel that remains waterproof for ages. I have never burnt with this stuff once.

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Record ray - returned

Huge congratulations to Welsh angler Mark Jones who caught this huge 15lb 11oz small-eyed ray last night - this stunning fish is over the British Record size. I am in awe of Mark for taking the decision to safely return this magnificent fish unharmed. He is a thoroughly nice guy and a very good angler, and I know how much this fish means to him - and I know he does not regret returning the fish one bit. Mark knows what he has accomplished, and a pointless dead fish is not going to prove it any further. Well done Mark, all credit. I wish I had been there to see a fish like this being caught, thanks for letting me use the photo here. Your time for a monster eel at Devil's will come I am sure......
If there is one thing in UK sea fishing that I really despise, it is the killing of fish purely for weighing purposes. I have done it in the past, I am sure we have all done it, but it is a farce and does our great sport no good at all. The sooner all UK sea anglers wise up to this the better. There is nothing wrong with taking the odd fish to eat, but anybody who takes fish purely for weighing is in my mind doing something that no angler can ever justify.
Well done Mark, great fish, and hats off to you for putting it back. Bet it was cold out on those rocks last night !!

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Spend time looking

I've always really liked this photo, and while it might not be much more than a pretty "angler standing in good light overlooking a beautiful coastline" kind of shot, to me it makes a valid point - all of us would be more successful in our fishing is we thought more about where the fish might actually be. I could bang on about watercraft until the end of time, but in my mind it is about the single most important element to a lot of fishing.
My mate Del rang me from his home in the stunning Isles of Scilly last night, to tell me that he is seeing stacks of big mullet around. It always amazes me that so few sea anglers head over there to fish, because it can be awesome. Such a great place, so many marks to fish and usually a stack of fish to catch, surrounded by breathtaking scenery. I fully expect Del to land a mullet over 10lbs over there sometime fairly soon. What about this winter ?

Monday, 19 November 2007

Stormy skies.....

I shot this photo earlier in the year, in June to be precise, but at the time I thought it looked far more like winter than summer - but then we did have the most dire weather for much of what might loosely described as "summer". It reminds me a bit of the weather at the moment, as winter tries to really set in, but autumn does not really want to budge. North Cornwall is a stunning part of the world, indeed I have spent holidays close to Trevose Head (in the background) all my life and I hope that my two young girls grow up to love it as much as I do. Who knows, they might even like fishing !!
There is a nice feature of mine out in Sea Angler magazine, about mullet fishing on Plymouth breakwater with some very good local anglers. Look right at the end of the magazine for the article. And it was a sunny day as well. Mullet are awesome fish, indeed I hope to manage a quick trip over to the channel island of Alderney in January if time and weather allows. The islands of Sark and Alderney have some of the best mullet fishing going, and the depths of winter are prime time for the big fish. Wrap up warm, think out of the box, and who knows what you'll hook.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Winter trout fishing

These increasingly cold days and nights might not give you cause for thinking much about trout fishing, but there are many smaller stillwaters that stay open right through the winter. I shot a nice feature with Nick Hart late last week on a stillwater near to Honiton, called Hollies Farm trout fishery - Nick caught some good fish in tricky conditions, and whilst these stillwaters are never going to rival pretty rivers and big lakes, they do keep the fly guys fishing. Above is one of the rainbows that Nick landed.
Nearing the end of this fishing book that I am working on, full details to follow in due course. It is going to look fantastic when it hits the shelves. Might even get a day off to go fishing when it is finished !!

Friday, 9 November 2007

Fish on Friday

I watched that new Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (is this the right spelling ?) programme last night and it was great fun to see guys out sea fishing and having such fun at the same time. Alderney and Guernsey are great places to go and fish, indeed I am always a little surprised that more anglers do not visit the Channel Islands. Did you see those tide rips last night ? Believe me, the waters over there are very exciting to fish...........I am thinking about a few trips back over there myself next year, principally for the winter mullet in Alderney and then some bass plugging later on.
Have a look in the latest issue of Trout Fisherman, I have a really nice saltwater fly fishing feature in there on the outstanding bonefishing at Los Roques. Look at the back of the mag, and the words are by Nick Hart. We went there earlier this year through the excellent Aardvark McLeod fly fishing travel company and I would advise you to get yourself out to Los Roques as soon as you can if bonefish are your thing. It is a perfect escape from a UK winter !!
My mate Graham Hill is the guy above with the bass, taken on a lure over in Ireland. All our fish were released, in fact they always are. He has recently told me that good numbers of cod are turning up and he has had a load to just under 10lbs. I feel a return trip is in order when I have completed work on this book.
There is an awesome new metal CD you have got to listen to - by a Ukrainian band called Drudkh, their new album is called Estrangement, and you can buy it here. This band is just fantastic.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

My apologies......

I am sorry to the people who have been emailing me through my website and have not been getting a reply from me - I do not like being unable to reply, but the simple fact is that I am just completely snowed under with working on a fishing book this end and I have very little time. Very close to deadlines and all my current efforts have to go on this (monster) project - I will give some proper details of this book in due course, it is going to look very cool indeed.
Above is a shot of my mate Graham plugging for bass the other week in Ireland - good conditions, perfect to get the 16-35 lens on and really get close in amongst the crashing water. I love this kind of fishing and photography, it is such fun to be a part of. The camera gear gets a bit of a soaking from time to time, but the pro Canon gear is as tough as it comes (touch wood !!). But for some reason we caught no bass that afternoon, when everything looked so good................fishing likes to bite you in the behind sometimes, to remind you who is the boss. Nature is never going to be beaten.
Anyway, back to the book, when really I just want to go fishing.

Saturday, 3 November 2007

A metal tragedy....

I was really sad to read that one of the most talented drummers in the extreme metal scene has just died - Witold 'Vitek' Kieltyka of the awesome Polish death metal band Decapitated was only 23 years old and tragically died after sustaining massive head injuries from a tour bus crash in Russia. Far too young.
Go and listen to their latest album "Organic Hallucinations" to see just how supremely talented this guy was.

Friday, 2 November 2007

Tight Lines

Just off to London to do the Tight Lines programme for Sky Sports.............thought you might like to see a good looking bass to get you through a Friday. Nailed this fish on the Maria Chase BW holographic silver lure, it is a killer of a plug and should be in everybody's tackle box. This was the fish that I nearly got washed off a rock for - was it worth it ? What do you think !!! Naturally the fish went back safely.
And what a joy it was to have a fully waterproof fixed spool reel to go bass fishing with. Now I can use my plugging rod as a wading staff without fear of trashing my reel. Expensive it might be, but you get what you pay for - the Van Staal VSB150 (silver colour) that I bought out in Denver really was all that I hoped it would be. Normally fishing tackle is no more than a necessary tool to me, but this reel is a serious bit of kit that I hope will last me for a lifetime of bassing, plus some trips overseas to play with bad boys like GTs, snappers and tuna. For bass fishing it is loaded up with 30lb Sufix Performance Braid and it casts like a dream - not one wind knot.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Classic surf fishing

There is something quite magical about standing thigh deep in the tumbling surf and fishing for bass. If plugging is the modern method, then touch ledgering in amongst the breakers is about as classical and traditional as our sea fishing gets - and I love it. Those bass have this incredible ability to home in on your baits right amongst the turbulent water and that bite is always unmistakable Don't get me wrong, we all miss a few because we get terribly overexcited, but the beauty of this fishing is in its simplicity. The real trick is reading the water and working out where to put your bait.
I have been using the Greys BZe 3-5oz rod for a couple of years now and I have to admit to seriously liking it for this kind of fishing. A 4oz plain lead and a good sized crab bait are perfect to get this rod working properly. As you can see, breathable chest waders are essential for bass fishing, whether in the surf or plugging from the rocks, and we used the new Greys G-series ones to great effect over in Ireland. Fairly cheap and they seem to be rugged enough to cope with it all.
A load of photographs from my recent Canada trip have been loaded onto my website, check them out here. Hover your cursor over the small thumbnail and a larger one will appear as if by magic !! This was one of the most special trips I have ever done, and there is also a load of stuff over at Aardvark McLeod's website on what to do, where to go and how. Get yourself out there, it really is that good. Talk to Pete, Charlotte or Jamie and they will get it moving.
I am off to London tomorrow to appear on the Sky Sports programme Tight Lines - done it a few times before and it is always a blast. The host Keith Arthur has a fishing encyclopedia in his head, he seriously knows his stuff and is always cool to talk to. Click here for transmission times.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

The king of fish

As my mate Graham Hill calls them, bass surely are the king of our European sea fish - what could be more impressive than this spiked predator ? I am in love with these fish, partly because I so enjoy the light tackle methods we use to fish for them, and partly because it feels to me to be such a pure form of fishing. No stupid rigs that take a day to tie, no heavy rods and reels and no crowds of anglers if you go to the right places. Standing waist deep in the surf and touch ledgering or perched precariously on some jagged rock edge casting lures, fishing for bass is simply wonderful. This fine fish was taken on a crab bait in south east Ireland last week, when Graham and I yet again had the coastline virtually to ourselves. If I had the money I would buy a house in this part of Ireland, for the fishing is sublime, and I do not say that lightly. Please give me more time to spend over there, but life has a habit of getting in the way of one's fishing does it not ? Already plotting my return trip..........
If black metal is your thing, check out the new CD from the Hungarian band Sear Bliss, called The Arcane Odyssey, it is outstanding. Their last album was immense, but this just might top it. Metal and bassing, what more does one need ?

Sunday, 28 October 2007

The killer lure.....

We managed a good plugging session yesterday before the worst of the weather came in and forced us off the rocks - I nearly got washed off a rock into the bargain, but when there are fish around you are naturally going to push it a bit to get at them. Managed a nice bass of about 6lbs on the killer lure that always seems to work for bass - the Maria Chase BW in holographic silver colour (get them here). You need to work it really fast to get it moving correctly, but I have yet to see this innocuous looking lure fail, it really seems to be that good. They are not very expensive either and if you go plugging with 30lb braid on your reel then you can wrench the lures out of most snags anyway. Awesome fish, it hit me about ten yards off my rod tip, I saw it come out the weed and smash into my lure just so hard - yet again it has been confirmed to me just how good the shore fishing in Ireland is and I am going to keep coming back as much as time allows. The bass fishing is about as good as it is anywhere I have ever heard of.
Will post some photos when I get home, I am working on a different laptop out here and I can not process my RAW files into a format that I can put up here.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Plenty of bass.

I can't put any photos up, will do when I get home, but as always it seems, the bass fishing here in SE Ireland is fantastic - first cast with a crab bait gave a nice fish on a stunning mark. Plenty more fish to baits and lures, weather is perfect at the moment, but due to change. Got some very cool photos, these fish are just in perfect condition.
Will post more when time allows...........fish to catch !!

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Off to Ireland....

All packed and ready to head over to south east Ireland today. I am really looking forward to this trip, it is always good to see some decent bass fishing and going to Ireland is always very special. Have not seen my mate Graham for a while (the guy on the right above), so it will be a blast to fish and photograph together for a few days. Apart from the bass, we might have a crack at some other species like cod, flounder etc. It is such a pretty coastline and I am sure that like always, we will see no other anglers all the time we are out fishing. Anybody who is really into their shore fishing owes it to themselves to check out the fishing in Ireland - there is plenty of info on my website, access it here.
Taking over a few bits and pieces to try, including my new Van Staal fixed spool reel that I picked up in Denver a few weeks ago. I did not mean to buy it, but it was so hard to resist - I got one of the VSB series in the silver colour. For ages I have been wanting a full waterproof fixed spool reel that does not mind being drowned when out bass fishing, and also being taken for the odd swim when fishing abroad. The reel I have got is for my bass fishing really, but it is tough enough to fish for GTs etc. with big poppers. There are plenty of great fixed spool reels on the market today, especially from Shimano, but not many take well to being drowned. I have also got a brand new headlamp to try that I got from Veals Mail Order. It looks fantastic - light, very powerful and unobtrusive. It is called the Silva LX 5 watt.
Will try and update this blog out there, but apologies in advance if it is not possible. This kind of trip is a big part of my job - heading out somewhere to take photos of good looking fishing that then form part of various magazine features that I produce, and I love it. Some people out there might know me from the TV programmes that I make, but the bulk of my work in fishing is actually photographing and writing about it.

Monday, 22 October 2007

Last minute, very affordable Florida fishing deal....

A friend who runs a guiding operation down in the Florida Keys has just emailed me to say that due to a last minute cancellation they have a very cheap week's fishing on offer - B&B, boat, guide, free car hire, all the fishing you could want etc. Great time of year for sharks, sailfish, tuna, cobia etc. Click here, or email Rodney for further details. I have fished with Rodney a few times now and will be back out there next year - a thoroughly nice guy and he really knows his fishing out there. The Keys are plain awesome !! (and very cheap and easy to get to, direct flights to Miami all the time, stock up on cheap fishing gear while you are out there as well)
Gutted about the rugby, but we have to be honest and admit that the best team won - sure that when I am living on a mother ship this December with a bunch of South Africans, hundreds of miles from the Seychelles, that they are going to give me a little bit of grief about the great win. Keep the World Cup warm boys, it's coming home in 2011..........
And of course, a huge congratulations to Nick and Sue Hart on the arrival of their baby girl.

Saturday, 20 October 2007

THE day is here.........

I still can not really believe that we are going to play in the final of the Rugby World Cup tonight, but the big day is finally here - so hoping that England can go on and win it for second time in a row. Imagine what kind of achievement what would be. Trying to also get organised for my photo trip to Ireland, but how can I possibly concentrate properly with all this rugby excitement going on today ?
Enjoy the game, let's hope we beat South Africa - I have a sneaking suspicion that the comeback story has one final chapter to play tonight and that Vickery will be lifting that trophy triumphantly. I know some guys who are actually going fishing tonight in the Plymouth Shore League competition - how on earth could the organisers have possibly planned for it to run this weekend ? Mad !!!
Not sure if the nerves can hold out...........

Thursday, 18 October 2007

It's getting very close.......

THE FINAL is getting very close now, hard to concentrate on much with all the building excitement going on. The 2003 final was emotional enough, so what is this one going to be like if we win ? (be confident, WHEN we win more like). Bring on Saturday evening.........
Also starting to get ready for my trip over to SE Ireland, leaving next Tuesday, will get the Rosslare-Fishguard Stena Line ferry and then drive to a hotel near to a good friend of mine. For four days I will get the chance to fish and photograph this wonderful part of Ireland again, and all recent reports are of some outstanding bass fishing, especially to surface poppers (the large blue backed Yo-Zuri Mag Popper lures are working well, as well as the tried and trusted holographic silver Maria Chase BW ones, get them here). No doubt the fish will also take crab baits at a few quiet marks that nobody else seems to ever fish. The west coast of Ireland is staggeringly beautiful, but most people just do not realise that they are leaving behind some of the finest bass fishing in Europe.
Trout Fisherman magazine has published a good looking couple of features this month that use my photos and Nick Hart's excellent words. One on casting and one on our recent monster coalfish adventure over to Norway, see here for some photos. That fishing was off the scale.
As autumn is very much on its way, here is a classic, "moody" steelhead fishing shot from a couple of weeks ago in the wilds of British Columbia. Mountains, autumn colours, mist, torrential rain, cold water and big wildlife - what more could one ask for ? (the angler in the photo has lost all feeling in his feet, but that's fishing)
COME ON ENGLAND !!!!!!!

Monday, 15 October 2007

Bring on THE FINAL

Much as I love fishing, the biggest thing this week is without doubt the monster game coming up on Saturday evening. Even if 20lb cod were crawling up the line and asking to be caught, nothing would give me cause to miss watching the biggest rugby match since the epic 2003 game. I simply can not believe that we are in the final again, never thought I would get back from Canada and be able to watch England in the semi-final, let alone THE FINAL. It is going to get rather emotional !!!! All credit to the players, to come back from where they have been is extraordinary - not sure if I can keep a lid on my high state of excitement this end. All credit to South Africa, they played a good game to reach the final, I thought that is where they would be at the start of the tournament. Rest assured that plenty of wind-up emails and texts are winging their way between me and the guys I know down there through fishing. May the best team win - England of course. On the fishing front, it really makes me happy to hear of some good early season cod fishing from the huge Chesil Beach; that is great news that a few fish are showing up. Hopefully this might give rise to a better winter's cod fishing throughout the UK - it can not get much worse than last winter.
In the middle of processing a stack of photos from Canada and here is one that I think sums up the steelhead fishing - imposing, snow-capped mountains, autumn colours, angler in the river fishing with a double-handed fly rod, waiting for one of the world's great fish to hit. Here for a couple of weeks and then a quick trip over to SE Ireland to go bass fishing and photographing on those big spring tides at the end of this month. Click here for some photos from previous trips.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

About as good as it gets

What a way to end the trip - surely one of the best steelhead fishing days that anybody could hope to experience. We were taken miles up an old logging trail and then hiked up and down a seriously brutal river valley two times to access a bunch of different pools and runs. And the fishing was just epic - steelhead up to 20lbs were landed from the most stunning, wild stretch of river that I am guessing is hardly ever fished due to the sheer physical effort required to get in there. The last fish of the trip fell to Pete and this 16lb steelhead really took off down the river, with Pete and our guide Dustin in hot pursuit. At one point Dustin had to literally grab Pete as they waded across a deep bit of the river to maintain contact with the fish. Trying to keep in touch with the camera was somewhat interesting, but we got it nailed. What a stunning fish to finish this trip on.
British Columbia has totally blown me away, as indeed did the east coast of Canada. It was more than I could have wished for before we set off and I am returning home with a stack of photos that I am confident do some kind of justice to the place. You owe it to yourself to come out here sometime soon and check out the east coast sight fishing for Atlantic salmon, and of course, this epic steelhead fishing amongst some of the most extraordinary landscapes you can possibly imagine. Get in touch with Pete McLeod at Aardvark McLeod and talk to him about some far out fly fishing trips as soon as you can.
We have had all kinds of weather out here, from a couple of relatively warm days on the east coast to some seriously cold and wet days out here in BC, plus everything in between. Decent wet weather gear and breathable chest waders are totally invaluable for this fishing, in fact I would say that they are more important than the gear you choose to fish with. I am really pleased that my Hardy EWS waders and wading boots have coped admirably with the living hell that I have put them through, and my Greys GRXi wading jacket has been the star of the show through some rather "interesting" rain !!
Anyway, time to pack the gear up now and get ready for the long journey home, arriving back at Heathrow midday on Thursday. Can't wait to see my wife and two girls, plus of course I am getting rather excited about England v France on Saturday. Bring it on.......

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Chrome coho

Sunday was without doubt the wettest day I have ever fished or photographed, in fact I had no idea that a sky could hold that much rain. We went up the stunning Kasiks river in a jet boat to fish for coho salmon, but with the high river levels, the fishing was pretty tough. The incredible scenery more than made up for it though, with huge snow-clad cliffs and mountains plunging right down to the river. Pete had this nice, fresh coho salmon on an #8 fly rod and it gave him a hell of a scrap in the fast water. Have a look at the rain coming down and you will see how glad I am that I had invested in a proper waterproof cover for my camera.
One more day's fishing left out here for Pete and I and then it's back to the UK, in time for the England v France rugby at the weekend. This BC trip has been quite something and I am already working out when to come back - what a country.

Sunday, 7 October 2007

End of the road - next stop Alaska

We went looking for a few coho salmon today, on the way down to Terrace - wound up in a small town called Stewart, right next to the Alaskan border. We saw a few black bears feeding on the side of the road as well which was seriously cool. We fished the freezing cold Bear river for a few hours. Pete managed to catch this pretty coho salmon on the edge of a good looking run, stripping the fly back right to the rod tip.
Currently here in Terrace and it is raining seriously hard, but hopefully it is going to stop and then tomorrow morning we can go chasing the steelhead and coho on the local rivers. A few more days here in Canada and then it's back home, with a stack of photos of some of the best looking fishing on earth. BC has blown me away, and we still have three more days of fishing and photography left.
And on the rugby front, wow !!!!! I am stunned that England beat Australia, and perhaps even more stunned that France turned over the All Blacks..................ouch, that must have hurt. Now it seems that the World Cup has suddenly opened right up. Going to be back home for the semi-finals and the final and I can't wait to see my family.

Saturday, 6 October 2007

The mighty steelhead

What a place - yesterday we had incredible blue skies and I was able to shoot with the snow-capped mountains surrounding us, just like I had always imagined BC to look like. Today we had cold, driving rain, howling winds and leaden skies all day, but this is what autumn steelhead fishing is all about. Saw a nice couple of fish today, including this stunner - the steelhead is a mighty fish, and I am fast learning why these creatures attract such die-hard dedication amongst fly fishermen. Today was a day for shooting with a fairly long lens and keeping nice and tight against the trees and mountains, but I managed to get some very cool, moody shots of the guys fishing. Had to really bump the ISO up at times to get usable speeds, but that is why digital is so brilliant for shooting fishing. It gives me complete control when I am battling the elements like I was today - with my waterproof cover for the camera and lens I was able to shoot all day without any great hassle.
We are moving on down to Terrace tomorrow to fish and photograph some different rivers for steelhead, and on the way we are going to try to fish the Bear river around Stewart for some coho salmon. Apparently it is a stunning area, but then it all seems like that around here - I am already planning a return trip, it really is that special. Going to look into photographing the fly fishing for the big chinook salmon that run the rivers in summer.
Too much to do, too little time in which to achieve it............

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Truly wild - British Columbia

We are deep into the wilds of British Columbia, about four hours north of Smithers, next stop the Alaskan border. On the drive up here we saw a black bear on the road, and on the way to fishing this morning we saw a few wolves crossing in front of us. The fishing guides all carry high-powered pepper spray to ward of "interested" bears !! This is how I imagined this place would be, and it is a total dream to be here photographing and fishing.....so few people, such a pristine environment and some of the most incredible scenery I have ever seen.
Wading big rivers for the magnificent steelhead and using big, graceful, double-handed fly rods is just awesome - put it with the kind of backdrop you see above and you will see why a place like this is so exciting to a fishing photographer. I am so excited all the time that I can hardly sleep. Moody light, snow-capped peaks, autumn (fall) colours on the trees and Spey casting - does it get any better ? I keep thinking that a great big grizzly bear is going to come and check me out, because they have seen a few recently, and the advice is to make as much noise as possible and under no circumstances should we run away. Easier said than done !! This steelhead fishing is just off the scale and I can't really believe that I am in such a special part of the world for my work. Much as I love the UK, it is quite something to fish and photograph in a a place that is so truly wild and under-populated.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Stunning fish

I thought you might like to see this awesome fish - Pete McLeod of Aardvark McLeod with a pristine Atlantic salmon. Shooting with a wide lens in a stunning river location like this was just incredible, especially when you can see the fish stacked up in the water. Anybody with any interest in salmon fishing really should check out this clear river, sight fishing on the Gaspe peninsula. Talk to Pete about it, I know he is really excited about offering this unique fishing to his clients.
We had a hell of a travel day yesterday - flew from Gaspe to Montreal, via Quebec, then Montreal to Vancouver, right across Canada, and finally from Vancouver up to Smithers. We are now about to drive another 200 miles further north to check out some steelhead fishing in the true wilds of British Columbia. There is snow forecast, plus very recent reports are of some excellent fishing, with plenty of fish coming into the various river systems. Local advice is to keep an eye out for grizzly bears. I have been looking forward to photographing steelhead fishing in the wilds of BC for many years now, so it is somewhat hard to contain my excitement !! Sleep is not really an option.

Monday, 1 October 2007

Is this unique salmon fishing ?

Look closely at the bottom of this photo - the black shapes you can see in the water are a load of Atlantic salmon stacked up on La Grande Riviere in eastern Canada. Sight fishing to these salmon is simply incredible and unlike anything I have seen in freshwater fishing. We went on a huge walk yesterday, miles down the Pabos North river, to fly fish a virtually virgin pool that was stacked up with some really big salmon. Pete nailed a couple of smaller ones on small wet flies, but I watched as a monster, surely 30lb salmon charged across the pool to hit the fly, only to turn away at the last moment. This is wild fishing, got some awesome photos and some unique material. There was a really hard frost on the ground when we left Gaspe this morning - it will not be long there until all the rivers and even parts of the sea freeze over. -20C is a very regular thing there in winter, stacks of snow as well. But even they talk of their weather changing from year to year.......
Currently sitting in Montreal airport, waiting for a connecting flight to take us across Canada to Vancouver, and then up to Smithers in the wilds of British Columbia - it is now steelhead time, and I really can not wait to photograph this awesome looking fly fishing. Not sure about internet connection where we are headed, but I will update this blog if at all possible.

Saturday, 29 September 2007

Sight fishing for Atlantic salmon

On the east coast of Canada at the moment, photographing some of the most unique fishing I have ever seen - sight fishing these crystal clear rivers for Atlantic salmon. Some incredibly beautiful rivers out here, taking far too many photos, but hard not to when it all looks so good. Some nice salmon on the fly so far, including this 20lb plus fish from La Grande Riviere on the Gaspe peninsular. Here for one more day and then Pete McLeod and I make our way across Canada on Monday, all the way from east to west and then on up into the wilds of British Columbia. What an awesome country, such friendly people and so many fish. Never seen rivers so clear, you can see every single pebble. Never heard of salmon fishing like this before, it is quite something to see.
Good to hear that England beat Tonga in the rugby, did not get the chance to see it as we were on the river fishing and photographing, but let's see what happens from here !!

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Off to Canada

Heading off to Canada tomorrow for a couple of weeks - will be photographing Atlantic salmon on the east coast first and then we head over to British Columbia to chase the autumn (fall) steelhead. Travelling with Pete McLeod of Aardvark McLeod, so it should be a great trip - check them out for fly fishing trips around the world, they are first class. I can not wait to photograph this stuff.
Sorting out camera gear for a trip like this takes careful planning - whilst it is impossible to take everything, I try to bring enough gear to give me a shot at any situation that is thrown at me, plus to have various spares in case anything goes wrong. Here is a list of what I take on a trip like this - I am going to photograph, not fish (but might manage a cast or two), but still you have to take the proper clothing to deal with some potentially cold temperatures and lots of wading (waders, wading boots, fleeces etc.).
  • 2 x Canon 1D MKII camera bodies
  • Canon 16-35 f2.8L lens
  • Canon 24-105 f4L IS lens
  • Canon 70-200 f4L IS lens
  • Canon 300 f4L IS lens
  • Canon 1.4 converter
  • Canon 15mm fisheye lens
  • Canon 105mm Macro lens
  • Canon 580EXII flash
  • 10.6 inch Fujitsu laptop
  • bus-powered external hard drive
  • various Compact Flash cards, polarising filters, chargers etc.
  • waterproof cover for camera

The best camera bag I know of for a trip like this is my tried and very trusted Lowepro DryZone 200. Really hoping to see some bears and get a few shots of them as well. To get to go on trips like these is a pure privilege.

Here's to hoping that England do themselves proud against Tonga on Friday......will try to update the blog as we travel around Canada. Bring it on as they say !!

Monday, 24 September 2007

Sea Angler - front cover shot

Just got the new issue of Sea Angler magazine and I was really pleased to see that they had put my bass photo on the front cover - good choice !! Sometimes conditions come together and allow for these kinds of shots to happen, especially when the bass fishing is going crazy and the light is perfect. All credit to master bass angler and good mate Graham Hill who catches the most insane numbers of bass in his quiet corner of south east Ireland.

You may well notice that Graham is not wearing what we might call "traditional" sea fishing clothing - more and more people are switching on to the lighter and generally more functional clothing from the fly fishing market that often better suits our needs. Lightweight breathable chest waders and a short wading jacket are just about perfect for mobile bass fishing - Graham is wearing the Greys G-series wading jacket and the Greys GRX waders and wading boots. Sounds like a fashion parade - but I know lots of sea anglers are always on the lookout for bits and pieces that might help their fishing. Nothing beats wearing lightweight, ultra-mobile breathable chest waders and a comfortable pair of wading boots - now you have no excuse for not walking that extra few miles.

On the musical front, I am really pleased to report that one of my favourite ever bands has just released a brand new album that is right back to their best - their first ever album was one of the first ever death metal records I ever bought and I still remember first listening to it. Check out the new album from Obituary, called Xecutioner's Return. I photographed these guys on a "comeback" tour in London a few years ago, click here to have a look. They are heavy as hell !!

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Uganda feature

Back from Denver - what an awesome show, so interesting to be there. Just gutted not to have had enough time to head off into the nearby mountains to shoot some seriously cool fly fishing. There will be a next time.....
I have two features just out in a new US fishing magazine called Destination Fish - it is a stunning publication that thrives on creative writing and dynamic photography and I am seriously pleased to have a couple of articles in there. Track this magazine down. Really pleased to see that they have used a mix of fishing and wildlife shots of mine from Nile perch fishing in Uganda. Click here if you fancy going - it is a truly stunning place and well worth a visit. Here is a photo from my trip of a young hippo that lived very close to where we were camping - note the rather larger parents behind. This is truly wild Africa......
Back home for a few days and then off for a couple of weeks to Canada to photograph Atlantic salmon on the east coast and then the legendary steelhead of BC. I seriously can not wait to do this trip - travelling with Pete McLeod of Aardvark McLeod, a seriously fantastic fishing travel company that you need to check out. Click here for more info.

Monday, 17 September 2007

In Denver, Colorado

I am out at the Fly Fishing Retailer show in Denver, Colorado - what an awesome event. It is a huge fly fishing trade show/gathering of the industry, and I am here with Hardy Greys to learn as much as I can. Really interesting to meet so many people from the international fly fishing world - this show is a tackle tarts' paradise !! Some of the gear just looks so incredible. Had a long chat with a thoroughly nice guy called Val Atkinson, one of the most highly respected fly fishing photographers working in the world today - so cool how fishing is such an international language. Val takes photos to die for and he has a great new book out called Friends on the Water. Some fishing books simply call out to be drooled over again and again, and this is one of them.
The new Hardy Demon range of fly rods and reels look really good. This Demon range is the new Hardy "entry" level kit and all credit due - they have done a great job and people are raving about them. No doubt I will get to photograph this kit in action sometime soon.
Could not believe it - walking back to the hotel after the show yesterday and I saw that Megadeth were playing a gig here in Denver. There was a huge queue of die hard metal fans snaking around the block, but it was sold out. If only I had known !! How cool would that have been - fishing talk all day and then a good old fashioned thrash metal gig in the evening.
I am getting the chance to talk to lots of people in the fly fishing industry and it is fun to be able to show them a bit of the fishing photography that I do around the world. I am blown away by the feedback which is really good news, and one of the shots that people are really picking up on is the one below. I shot it last year on the stunning River Lyn in North Devon. People are also freaking about my ultra-remote Seychelles material that I have shot with the South African guys from FlyCastaway.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

The Field - bass article

I received a copy of The Field magazine in the post with a nice bass article of mine in there. I really like the intro DPS photograph they have used that I shot of my mate Graham Hill fishing in the surf in south east Ireland - make no mistake, the best bass fishing I have ever seen is in this awesome part of the world. It has been really noticeable over the last couple of years that fishing for bass is undergoing a kind of revival - not saying that it ever went away, but like mullet fishing, more and more sea anglers are "stumbling" on the pleasures of fishing with lighter, more balanced tackle.
I put myself in this position as well - give me a light rod, a pair of chest waders, a deserted coastline and many miles to walk and I'm never happier. Don't get me wrong, skull-dragging fish out of serious rough ground with heavy beachcasters is a great way to fish, but change is a good thing. Adapt or die as they say.
Bass are a great fish to be around and over the last few years I have been lucky enough to photograph some outstanding fishing, plus we have filmed it, and I have even managed to catch a few nice fish myself. Click here for a bunch of bass fishing photographs. Most of the bassing I have done has been over in Ireland, a country I have simply fallen in love with - so much fishing and so comparatively few people doing it seriously. I really believe that a large proportion of the shore fishing over there is still waiting to be discovered...........how I wish for more time !!
On a different note altogether, I am very worried about England's Rugby World Cup campaign with the South Africa game coming up Friday evening - perfect timing for me as I fly to Denver the next day. I am passionate about rugby and I am just gutted that England aren't getting it together properly. Just how good were we in 2003 when we won the World Cup ?

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

FlyLife cover

This is my photograph on the cover of Flylife magazine - really pleased with it and I reckon their choice of photo is fantastic. But then I would say that !! Taking photographs on shallow tropical flats is one of the most rewarding ways to work I know of, but it all depends on big blue skies and high sun angles to really fire it up (plus of course the fishing needs to be hot as well). Sometimes even in these stunning places the clouds roll in though, and then you really have to think on your feet to get the shots - no real chance of shooting nice and wide with a 16-35mm f2.8L lens and a polarising filter when it is overcast. Bear in mind also that you are in the water virtually all the time, carrying camera gear and water on your back for long periods. Changing lenses is not easy, in fact sometimes it is impossible.
But what fun would it be if there wasn't the odd challenge to overcome ? This bonefish was part of an epic session on the ultra-remote atoll of Providence, many hundreds of miles from the Seychelles, and caught by Gerhard Laubscher of FlyCastaway. Hungry bones everywhere, tailing fish right in front of us, but really bad light - on with the 70-200mm f4L IS lens and time to come in tight and look for different angles that do not involve too much shooting against the (grey) sky. I was really pleased to come away with a shot like this and I am pleased that such an awesome magazine chose it as their current cover.
And then when the light gets good on the flats and that sun rises high in the sky and illuminates the sand, well, I can't think of many better areas of the world to fish and photograph. It is a privilege to work in these kinds of places and most of the time I have to pinch myself to check that I can really call it work.

Monday, 10 September 2007

Gear shots

Some fishing tackle just looks so appealing - anybody who is into fishing I am sure can not resist buying more gear than they actually need. We are all the same !! Fly fishing reels especially are such good looking bits of engineering and I really like taking shots like this. Tumbling river water gurgling over the Greys G-Tec reel , a tight framing and a deliberately skewed horizon I think has produced a really interesting but simple shot that brings the eye in. I went for a very shallow depth of field on my 70-200 lens and got down really low in the river to bring the shot to eye level (nearly got a wader-full of cold water as well). Such a reflective surface on the reel meant that I had to wait until the bright sunshine was off the river when shooting last week with Nick Hart on the River Exe. Sunshine is great, but direct sun on a reel like this tends to produce burn-out.
Off to the Fly Fishing Retailer show next weekend in Denver, Colorado. Should be really interesting to see this event and talk to a bunch of people in the industry, the US fly market is fascinating to somebody like me. I have done a bit of fishing and photography in the US, but there is so much more that I want to do over there.

Friday, 7 September 2007

Rise of the Footsoldier - now showing in VUE cinemas

The Rise of the Footsoldier premiere in London on Wednesday night was fantastic - I might be a tiny bit biased because my brothers made the film, but I was totally blown away when I saw it. To me it is a British Goodfellas and I do not say that lightly - Rise of the Footsoldier is an epic and they deserve every success that might come their way. A hell of an achievement, so go and see it !! Out today in Vue cinemas for starters.
Shot an awesome feature this week with Nick Hart on his local River Exe, fly fishing for wild browns. Tough fishing for a while, but Nick worked them out and caught some stunning fish in seriously pretty surroundings. Always a huge buzz to photograph fly fishing on good looking rivers and this was no exception - this photo I hope conveys a little of how pretty the Exe is. Perfect light meant I could use a bunch of lenses and work on showing this stuff off properly - changed continuously between my 16-35, 70-200 and 100 Macro to get a full range of shots. But perhaps the most useful thing for fishing photography is a pair of breathable chest waders and my Hardy EWS ones are doing great. Good waders for fishing as well !!

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Rise of the Footsoldier

Very excited to be heading for London tomorrow to go to the premiere of my two younger brothers' latest feature film, Rise of the Footsoldier. Click here to see the trailer. Should be an awesome event, my middle brother Julian was BAFTA nominated for his previous feature film, Rollin' with the Nines, and both of them are steadily making their way in the (very difficult) film business. They have co-written both scripts and also co-edited both the films. I am staggered by what they are doing.................can not wait to see the completed film for the first time tomorrow night in Leicester Square. Then I believe it opens nationwide this Friday, 7th September. Go see it and support the British film industry.

Monday, 3 September 2007

Cool cover

Thanks to Martin for inviting me along to some south Cornish wrasse fishing on Saturday - had such fun and got some cool photos of a really pretty and quiet part of Cornwall, plus some nice fish as well. Well done guys. Martin asked me to come along through the World Sea Fishing forums. These fish are always a pleasure to be around, whether catching or photographing them. The kind of shore fishing that anybody can enjoy.
Just got the latest issue of the outstanding Australia/NZ fly fishing magazine FlyLife through the post and I was really pleased to see that the front cover is a photo of mine, of a bonefish from the Seychelles. There is also a really colourful and good looking feature of mine in there from the Seychelles, with photos of bones, milkfish, triggers and parrotfish. I had the front cover of this quarterly magazine a while ago as well, click here to see. To get material placed in such good looking publications like these is a real buzz. I will post the cover shot in due course.
Only one group of guys in the world successfully run extreme fly fishing trips to the ultra-remote atolls, many hundreds of miles off the Seychelles, and that is FlyCastaway. A hardcore, dedicated bunch of fly fishing guides from South Africa, they are the nicest and most professional people you could ever hope to meet. And frighteningly talented fly fishermen as well. Photographing with this lot is a serious thrill for somebody like me. I have photographed with them a couple of times in the remote Seychelles, plus in Zambia for the tiger fish, and in South Africa for the yellowfish of the Vaal river. Plenty more to do in the future with them, including a trip back to Cosmoledo atoll in the Seychelles this December. FlyCastaway are right at the cutting edge of modern, worldwide fly fishing.

Saturday, 1 September 2007

Wild Dartmoor

Awesome day yesterday up on Fernworthy reservoir, just outside Chagford. What a truly wild place, right up on Dartmoor and simply stunning - I was photographing Nick Hart fly fishing for these magical wild browns. A scudding grey sky and cold wind gave the place a really moody feel, but Nick caught plenty of fish and we came away with a really strong set of photos for Trout Fisherman magazine.
There was no real way to shoot wide due to the grey skies, so I shot mainly with my 70-200 lens and kept fairly tight. Nick caught some really nice browns by heading off the beaten track amongst this bracken and fishing tight in to the bank where fish were rising all over the place. The whole place reminded me so much of the types of little Scottish lochs I first started fishing on, but Nick is a somewhat better fly fisherman than I ever was or am !!
Change of scene later today - off to photograph some wrasse fishing down in South Cornwall, should be a blast. My first ever sea fish I caught was a (small) wrasse, and ever since I have loved catching, photographing and just seeing these plucky fish. Fishing from the rocks is always something special.

Monday, 27 August 2007

Summer is (finally) here.

Yesterday was spent photographing a Plymouth Federation of Sea Anglers catch and release competition on the imposing and fascinating Plymouth breakwater. I have not been out there for years and I had forgotten just how impressive this structure is when you are actually standing on it, and with such perfect weather as we had, it was a fantastic day. Overall the fishing was fairly tough, with the mullet especially deciding to drive most of the guys mad (when do mullet not do this ?), but I photographed some good conditioned fish to 4lbs 6oz (well done Clive Wagner, Mark Warren, John Williams and Steve Peard with the mullet). A few congers were both lost and landed, plus various bits and pieces, but mullet fishing seems to be the thing out here. Seems to me that mulleting in general is really growing in popularity amongst sea anglers - perhaps fishing light and having a blast is catching on ? I reckon so........
But the best bits about the day were seeing the fish caught, weighed and successfully released, plus an encouraging number of junior anglers out enjoying the day. Sea fishing in the UK needs more of both of these factors - catch and release, plus more youngsters coming into the sport.
Here is the west end of the breakwater around low water - flat seas, plenty of sunshine, nice and hot. This is how it should be !! Well done to the organisers and thanks for having me along.

Friday, 24 August 2007

Life's simple pleasures......

Few things in fishing are as pleasurable and hypnotic as float fishing, especially on a really pretty little lake that is stashed with good fish. I can't believe I don't do more of this fishing, for this is what I so loved doing when I was growing up. Float fishing gets me every time. Just been on a quick visit to Norfolk for a couple of meetings and I managed to spend a few hours on Thursday morning beside a very wet and windy lake not that far from Norwich before flying home. Could not do much photography wise except keep fairly tight with a 70-200 lens and make sure to frame out any of the grey skies. This calm corner of the lake hides how bad the weather was.
These guys get together as part of John Bailey's Casting For Gold guiding operation and they fish the most wonderful, secluded waters for a variety of species. Anybody who is interested in freshwater fishing should check this out. John Bailey is a true gentleman and an awesome angler, photographer and writer. As I do, he subscribes totally to fishing being a simple pastime that does not require all this over-complicated nonsense that serves only to freak people out.
Good looking forecast for the weekend down here, out on Plymouth Breakwater photographing on Sunday, hoping to see big blue skies and plenty of fish.