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.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Is it really fly fishing ?

Is it fly fishing ? Who cares anyway - putting big, heavy flies like this 6/0 "Mega-Clouser" down deep on ultra-fast sinking fly lines may well not be much like deftly offering a small dry fly to a rising trout, but personally I couldn't care one bit. All credit to Nick and James for figuring out how to get down to the fish and then landing them - it took real skill and it was a pleasure to watch them do it.
Per Jonasson of WildWater Fishing holds a near 35 lb coalfish I managed to catch while I was meant to be taking photos..............kind of hard to resist not quickly dropping a Shad over and nailing a few in between taking shots of the fly guys. I never used anything heavier than a Greys 30-100g mutli-piece spinning rod and 30 lb braid to tame fish like this, and on such relatively light gear they are a blast to catch. I might go on about these coalfish a bit, but it's only because they are such impressive fish !! Forget all that heavy tackle nonsense, have a bit of fun instead. There is a new glossy US fishing magazine called Destination Fish that is simply awesome (some fantastic writing and photography about some very cool places) and I am over the moon to have a couple of features in the next issue that is coming out in a couple of weeks I believe. One on Nile perch fishing in Uganda and one on Irish bass fishing - can't wait to see them, always cool to get material into US fishing magazines.
Currently very depressed about the state of English rugby, Sat night against France was dire. Made even worse when you watch the 2003 Rugby World Cup final again.............just how awesome were we back then ?

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Wild Norway

A brief glimpse of shore fishing around Saltstraumen, near to Bodo. I managed to grab this photo of Rob Yorke fishing on a quick break from filming a programme up there last year. We were all taken aback by the sheer beauty of the location and I only with that there had been more time to really explore the photographic potential around there. But filming is filming and it is not fair for me to keep breaking away to take stills. I will be back......
Alarming shore fishing potential around Saltstraumen. We caught some big and ugly wolf fish there when filming, but I am told the best time is in winter when huge coalfish and cod (potentially 40 lbs plus for both species) can be taken on shore gear. Very cold, very dark, but what fishing !! I have also seen photos of halibut taken off the shore, plus some monster plaice. Norway has far more than the "pirking for giant cod in deep water" that is incessantly advertised in the fishing press. Honestly, hook a big coalfish and you will never look at a cod in the same light again. Looks like I should be going over to photograph some insane pike fishing in southern Norway next spring, on flies and lures. Bring it on as they say.
And as I am sure you all know, Norway is arguably the spiritual home of black metal, some of the finest music on this earth. Click here for a bit more info. Want to clear a room of some annoying guests ? Place the latest Gorgoroth album into your CD player, max the volume and behold the exodus. Awesome music for those special occasions, wonderfully brutal.
Anyway, England v France tonight, last Rugby World Cup warm up game, really hoping for a good result. Put Dallaglio in there as captain and I fancy our chances.

Friday, 17 August 2007

More Norway photos

The tiny island of Rost is a fascinating place. It seems as though the whole island's vibrant economy is based around catching cod of a certain size and then drying them on wooden racks, bound mainly for the Italian market. Canon's awesome 16-35mm f2.8L lens is one I would never be without when the skies are big and blue and a polarising filter really brings the clouds out. Shooting wide is my favourite way of working and I love it when the light allows me where has our summer been here in the UK ??!! I know that we love to moan about our weather, but it has been truly terrible. Far too much photographing with my two 70-200mm lenses and framing out the (grey) skies for my liking.
There are a load more photos from this Norway trip to be found by clicking here. Whilst I find this kind of fishing hugely exciting to be around, at the same time I also find it profoundly depressing to have to compare it to the frankly dire fishing for big cod and coalfish we now have here in the UK. Somewhere like Rost is so comparatively close to the UK, but with their healthy fish stocks it might as well be another world. Just how good could our sea fishing be ? Watched the new Bourne Ultimatum film at the cinema last night and I was blown away. What an awesome piece of film making. I reckon the second one, The Bourne Supremacy, is the best of the trilogy though, but the editing in the new one is just staggering. There is no let-up, you leave the cinema reeling. If you are into your extreme metal, make sure to buy The Apostasy by Behemoth. What an awesome new album, these guys are savage, going to have to get myself to a gig to photograph them one day soon. I have done a bit of concert photography, click here for some examples. So tough to shoot, incredibly challenging, but what a buzz, and somewhat different to photographing fishing to say the least. f2.8 at ISO 1600 in very variable light is tough at the best of times, but my 1D MK11 cameras produce such clean files that I am constantly amazed. Great discipline.

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Monster coalfish on the fly

Just back from the tiny island of Rost off the coast of Norway (see here) where we filmed a TV programme around this time last year. This time I was photographing a couple of friends trying to nail big coalfish on the fly.......WOW !! This location continues to amaze me. Great guides that go out of their way to make it happen (Wildwater Fishing) always helps. Came back with stacks of very cool photos of some insane fish on the fly, will post a few over the next few days. Rost is one place where we reckon halibut could be taken on the fly. Excellent conventional fishing for them at Rost, especially May and June. Anybody who wants to see just how good fishing for cod, coalfish and halibut really can be should get themselves out to Rost. It is not the cheapest Norwegian fishing around, but it is just so good. Big cod might be a bit of fun, but they do not compare to a 30 lb plus coalfish hooked on light tackle. So far I know of no other place in Europe with such consistent fishing for big coalfish.
Here is fly fishing instructor Nick Hart and Wildwater Fishing guide Per Jonasson with, as far as we know, the heaviest ever coalfish taken on fly fishing tackle, weighing over 29 lbs.
Now this is the first blog I have ever done, so please bear with me as I get my head around this stuff. Have a look around my website for some awesome fishing photos from all over the world, plus plenty of info on where to go, when to go and how to do it.