Friday, 29 February 2008

Flying tonight

  • I was watching a programme last night about the stunning Isles of Scilly - so why do so few shore anglers go over there for the outstanding fishing ? I have a great friend over called Del, and together with a friend of his, they are the only two serious anglers over there, and they have some very good fishing for big mullet, pollack, congers, huss, wrasse etc, plus good shark and wreck/reef fishing from the boats. I love it over there, indeed I have yet to come across better shore pollack fishing. Take the ferry from Penzance to St.Mary's, there is a good campsite, or get some other cheapish accommodation, and fish the most unspoilt waters there are around here. I like my fishing to be out of the way and quiet, and the Isles of Scilly work perfectly for me. Above is a photo of Del fishing a flat calm mullet mark, with some really big fish that were moving around in front of us. Words can not describe just how beautiful the Isles of Scilly are.

  • I leave Heathrow at 10pm tonight, heading out for this giant golden dorado fishing in Argentina. Really getting very excited now - all my camera kit is packed up and I just have to fling a few clothes, suncream and even a new 6-piece Greys spinning rod in my bag and I'm ready to go. If I get the chance, I am going to have to throw some poppers at these beasts. I can't wait to watch the fly guys chase these fish down. Trips for this outrageous fishing can be booked through the excellent Aardvark McLeod fly fishing travel company. Click here to access their website.

  • I am not sure about internet access where I am headed, but if I can, I will update this blog as I go along. If not, full reports and plenty of photos when I get back after 10th March. I love the travelling side of my job, indeed seeing new places, cultures and fishing is about as exciting as it gets. But the hard part is obviously leaving my family for multiple trips throughout the working year, and right at the moment my youngest daughter is just starting to walk. I have a feeling that she is going to be everywhere when I get back. Help !!

  • I have only been to South America once before, and that was to photograph the awesome bonefishing out at Los Roques off the coast of Venezuela. Check here for a bunch of photos that I shot, and then speak to Pete or Charlotte about a trip. Great place, great fishing, great light.

  • I have found another website of some really pretty outdoors photography, with a big element of fishing in there. Take a look at this website. It has really struck me recently that there a lot of talented photographers living in and around Montana - obviously this part of the world is very special and I can see myself heading out there plenty in the years to come. Put the art of fishing with stunning locations and it simply takes the breath away.

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Argentina fishing/photography trip

  • I'm starting to get ready for this Argentina golden dorado trip that I am leaving for on Friday - it's going to be a hell of a journey over there, but who gives when there is the chance of seeing these awesome looking fish at the end of it. I am leaving London Heathrow late on Friday, flying into Sao Paulo (Brazil), and then connecting down to Buenos Aires (Argentina). A night there and then we fly down to the fishing lodge the next day. Four days photographing and fishing and then back home for me while the other guys connect into Guatemala for the sailfish. There are not that many people who have fished La Zona for these freaky big golden dorado. Buzzing around my head most of the time now are loads of different ideas for photographing them. It should be very cool. When I get back I will create a web gallery of the trip, but in the meantime, check out my current gallery here.

  • Remember that I have made various updates to my website recently, check here for full details. There is plenty more that I want to do with my site, but I just need a bit more time. When I get around to it, all details will be posted on this blog.

  • And still on the subject of photography, I came across this website here of outrageously pretty photographs, mainly of fly fishing and landscapes in the American west. Click here to see some stunning fly fishing photographs that could grace any wall. Just how seriously am I looking forward to Montana this June ? I stand by what I always say - fishing is the world's greatest excuse to visit cool places. I really like finding really good photos of fishing, and I would highly recommend taking a look at this website. Find out more about the photographer Ken Takata here.

  • Below is a somewhat different photo of a peeling shore crab (a peeler to us UK shore anglers) that I shot using my Canon 100mm f2.8 macro lens. I lay down on the ground somewhere up the Kingsbridge estuary to really make that big claw the whole point of the photo, and I deliberately used a large aperture to blow the rest of the crab out of focus. You might have seen this photo before, for it was used as the cover of the current Grey's sea catalogue. Click here to get an idea of just how good the Greys sea fishing gear is. I use a lot of it for my fishing and it has done me proud for quite some time now.

  • Of course, as any self-respecting UK shore angler knows, peeler crab is one of the top sea fishing baits there is. Bass, cod, thornbacks, wrasse, flounder, you name it, most species will eat it. Where I fish with Graham Hill in Ireland, if you haven't got prime local peeler crab for your surf fishing, you might as well forget it. And when those bass are on it, the fishing can be mayhem. Nothing beats a bucket full of this prime bait.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Bass fishing on the brain......

  • Doesn't it drive you mad when you keep thinking about something, yet you can't go and do it ? I've got more bass lures than you could imagine, I've got my reels loaded up with 30lb Sufix Performance Braid (in yellow for high-vis), and I am closer to finding my ultimate spinning/plugging rod. Now all I have to do is wait a bit longer for the fish to turn up down here............and the waiting is driving me mad !! Come on fish, please turn up nice and early.

  • The photo above is of a slightly younger and even possibly wiser (!!) Graham Hill over in Ireland - he emailed me off my website a few years ago and asked me to come on over and check out the bass fishing he had on his doorstep. And does he have some bass fishing over there, indeed I have thought long and hard about moving my family over to SE Ireland to be closer to this outstanding fishing. The photo actually ended up on the front cover of Sea Angler magazine, where they cropped it to fit the page. Graham was happy to play ball, so I waited until a small wave broke over his hands and arms to try and add something to this trophy style shot. I look forward to many years fishing this unspoilt, lonely coastline with Graham. Check out a load of bass photos here.

  • This is a hard time of year fishing wise down here in the south west, when even the best anglers I know tend to struggle. Some nice bull huss have been taken from the rock marks, but otherwise it is a lean time. But then fishing is like that - one week it is driving you to drink, and the next week a change in the weather can bring a bumper time. If you want to go huss fishing down here, look at the rock marks around the mouth of Dartmouth, near to Start and Prawle Point, and all along the Bolt Head/Bolt Tail stretch of coast. I like dark nights, medium to large tides, and generally the back (outgoing) tide for these fish, but rock marks all fish somewhat differently. Squid is the top bait, but big sandeels and mackerel all have their days.

  • Some guys are finding a few big mullet around, including one of 6lb 13oz that I heard of the other day. If there is one fish that can drive a man insane, it is the mullet, but they are worth every minute spent on them. A very special fish that is an incredible thing to hook on light tackle.

  • I mentioned a while ago that I was testing out a new bass spinning/plugging rod - well I have taken it out a bit and cast all kinds of lures with it, and sadly it is not quite what I am after. Don't get me wrong, the rod works well, and it will land any bass we have in our waters, but it is not the rod I was personally after. I think I have narrowed my search down to about three rods, so I will try to get my hands on them and give them a proper workout. When I find the rod I am after, you will know about it. The fish and the fishing are worth this bit of extra effort.

  • Don't forget to have a look at this new web gallery I created recently. Click here to see some of my favourite fly fishing photos from the various places I have been to for my work.

  • Back to music - let's be honest here - AC/DC are one of the greatest bands ever to have walked upon this earth, but their musical output over the last while has been somewhat scarce and hardly up to scratch. If this kind of classic hard rock is your thing, you seriously need to check out the new pretenders to AC/DC's throne - the Aussie band Airbourne. Check here to listen to some tracks, and then buy the album - yes, of course I have got it, and it is something truly brilliant. If you can't bang your head in time to this stuff then you should go to the doctor.

Friday, 22 February 2008

Fishing book review

  • I have received the two books I ordered the other day, and one of them is very special indeed - if you are into stunning fly fishing photography and coffee table style books, then you need to check out Fly Fishing in Idaho. I had no idea that this part of the US was so beautiful, and the photographer has done a fantastic job of capturing the many moods of an area and its fly fishing throughout the year. This kind of book simply inspires one, both to look for better photos each and every time you go out, and also to head over to Idaho to check the place out. Another destination is now on my list of "must visit" !! You can click here to buy the book in the UK - it is not expensive at all and you owe it to yourself to add this to your collection. Fly fishing done properly can be breathtaking. R. Randolph Ashton is the guy who photographed this splendid book and you can check out more of his work here. I seriously admire quality fishing photography, for there is far too much rubbish out there. This guy is the real deal - below is the cover of his book.
  • I have been playing around recently with various pieces of software that I want to look at incorporating into my working life, and from that I have set up a web gallery of some of my current favourite fly fishing photos from around the world. I know that there are stacks of photos all over my website, but with this web gallery I wanted to give you the opportunity to spend a bit more time looking at larger versions of some of them. You can click here to access this web gallery - I hope you enjoy it, and any comments are more than welcome. I am also going to put a link to the gallery over on the links section.

  • Scroll through this web gallery to see fishing photographs from around the world. And after seeing this new book, in due course I am going to get myself over to Idaho. I need more time.......

  • Hopefully this gallery software will enable me to quickly upload my best photos from various trips for people to look at, and then in due course I will obviously update the fishing pictures and photo essays parts of my website.

  • I will work on setting up a web gallery as soon as I can after I get back from Argentina. I head out there at the end of next week. Photos and trip reports will be found on this blog in due course.

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Very cool fishing/photography trip coming up

  • At the end of next week I fly out to Argentina to photograph the largest golden dorado in the world, at La Zona. These big freshwater fish have been on my list to see, fish for and photograph for a while now, so to actually be getting the chance to go and do it is simply amazing and I can't wait. It is going to be a pretty quick "in and out" trip, with plenty of different flights and time changes, but who cares when you can get to see such fantastic looking fish. This kind of travel is what the iPod and sleeing pills were invented for. The dorado at La Zona grow huge, far larger than anywhere else, and I am really looking forward to putting these things in front of my cameras, and even catching a few myself. I am going to Argentina via the UK fly fishing travel company Aardvark McLeod. Full report when I get back.

  • The actual fishing will be a mix of fly and lure, which will give me big opportunities to get a wide range of different photos. I needed a travel spinning rod that will fit in my hold bag and cope with very hard fighting, large fish, and I have just been sent the brand new Greys 9' 40-100g Missionary 6 Spin. This is a 6 piece rod that comes in a protective tube, and it will all fit perfectly in my hold luggage. The rod itself looks stunning and it should be a blast to work it hard on the fish. I have a feeling as well that a couple of the other rods in the range will do nicely for UK bass fishing as well. Travel-style rods are the way forward.

  • I was saying the other day how I had found a new Russian black metal band, and the CD has arrived - and it is just awesome !! If metal is your thing, you seriously need to check this band Walknut out. I would describe it as a kind of emotional, mystical black metal (if there can be such a thing), the kind of music that gets in your head and stays there for ages. Click here to buy the CD. And if you like this stuff, you seriously need to check out Drudkh, and particuarly the albums Estrangement and Blood in our Wells. Both can be bought here. So not only do you get fishing here, but you also get up to date extreme music info that will make your life a whole lot better !!

  • To remain with the metal theme, below is a photo of the outstanding band Opeth that I shot a while ago for Metal Hammer magazine. These guys are incredible and I hear that they have a new album out later this year. I just wish that I got more time to shoot gigs as it is such fun and it is a huge challenge. I never use flash as it just kills all atmosphere in my view, plus it is banned at most venues anyway. A lot of gig shoots I have done have had to be at ISO 1600 and f2.8, either on my 70-200 or 24-70 lenses. Plus ear plugs of course !! I remember photographing the mighty Motorhead, standing right next to a speaker stack and literally feeling the bass rippling through my whole body. And then Lemmy told his crew to turn the volume up !!

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Roll on bass fishing......

  • This fantastic weather we have been having lately has really got me thinking about the upcoming bass season here in south Devon. While bass can be caught in many areas virtually all year round, personally I really like catching them off the rocks on spinning gear. That predator eye (photo above) never fails to get me going and often just being out there is enough for me (or at least that is my excuse for when I get skunked). I reckon I'll start around here in mid-April and I can't wait for those early mornings and late evenings spent casting high-tech bits of plastic for these magnificent fish. My diary is really starting to fill up with various work committments, but hopefully I will be able to fit in a decent number of sessions. Plus of course I have to head over to south east Ireland to fish with my mate Graham - this is the best bass fishing I know of and so few anglers know anything about it. See a bunch of photos by clicking here. It really is that good.

  • You could even buy the UK's first professionally made bass fishing DVD by clicking here - presented by yours truly of course. There is some awesome fishing on it and we had a blast making it.

  • Do not for one second forget how important breathable chest waders are for mobile bass fishing, indeed I tend to live in mine. I use either the Hardy EWS waders and boots, or the cheaper but very good Greys GRX waders and boots. Look after them and they will last for ages. Too many anglers simply do not know how lightweight breathable waders will change your fishing life for the better.

  • I have stumbled on a fantastic Russian black metal band called Walknut and I have ordered their latest CD. Cick here to hear a track. I really like finding these somewhat obscure bands that make some really good metal, especially from some of the eastern European countries. One of my favourite finds of the last few years is the outstanding and mysterious Drudkh from the Ukraine. Listen to some of their music here. A lot of this kind of music can be bought from the excellent Supernal Music people, click here to access their site.

Monday, 18 February 2008

Photo books

  • Another beautiful, cold and frosty start to the day, and I am stuck in the office writing features and catching up on emails - but this recent spell of stunning winter weather has been totally uplifting. Spring is on the way and the UK looks just fine to me.

  • I have made a decision that I really must work on building up my collection of fishing books, and especially stunning photo books that will serve to inspire me throughout the year. Not only do I love seeing fishing that is photographed well, but these kinds of books can also give one plenty of fresh ideas. Whilst I spend a lot of time with my cameras looking for different angles and ways of doing things, it is always fun to see what else is being done out there. With that in mind, I have just ordered two books this morning (thanks James for the tips), as a kind of late birthday present to myself - Fly Fishing in Idaho and Unforgettable Days : Montana Trout Fishing. One day I will do a proper coffee-table style fishing photography book on all the awesome places I have been to and will go to in the future. It is a real dream of mine to do a book like this. When fishing is done well, it looks simply stunning, and some of the places we go to, both home and abroad, need to be shown off properly. Making fishing look good is the driving force behind what I do.

  • One of the trips I am doing later this year is over to Montana to photograph some of the finest fly fishing on this earth. I am heading over there with Nick Hart in June for a quick visit and already I am completely overexcited - hence ordering the book above, to keep me nice and calm until I get there. We are heading over to the famous Yellowstone Valley Ranch, near Bozeman. These guys are represented by Aardvark McLeod here in the UK, so speak to them about a trip there.

  • Below is another photograph from last week, see here to find out more. It got so warm that Nick was able to take his fleece off and fish in just a shirt for part of the day. I am crouched right down in the water to take this shot, praying that the icy water does not spill over the top of my Hardy EWS waders, and that I don't slip on the muddly bottom and give Nick a proper laugh at me slipping underwater !! I really like to get low to the water when it is possible, for it completely changes the viewpoint of a simple photo like this. Just wait until I can put those huge Montana skies into a shot like this.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Love is..........

How many of you did this morning ? - woke up, took the dog for a very early walk, completely forgetting that it is Valentines Day today, suddenly remembered half way through your walk, rushed back to the car, then stopped at your local shop on the way home to buy an (overpriced) card and some chocolates, put them on the table before your wife or girlfriend wakes up and then bask in the glory of her thinking that you had been so thoughtful the night before when they see your offerings lying there at breakfast. Who, me ? Never.............
I think my wife knows me too well.
The clouds that have come in this morning can not spoil what has been the most perfect last few days, indeed when England is like this it has to be the best place on earth. And when it is wall to wall overcast and grey for days on end, I want to emigrate. I shot a stunning feature with Nick Hart yesterday for Trout Fisherman magazine, up on Bratton Water fishery, and just the drive from Nick's place up over Exmoor was worth the day alone - it is an outrageously pretty part of the world and Exmoor is fast growing on me. I know the North Devon coastline fairly well through sea fishing, but the moors are simply breathtaking. Nick caught some great conditioned rainbow trout, using mainly a #3 Greys Streamflex rod and matching Greys Streamlite reel and they worked perfectly for presenting the tiny flies he was using. It was flat calm all day and plenty of fish were moving and feeding in the margins, in fact Nick caught a nice brownie at the end of the day as well, right off the end of his rod tip.

Big blue skies give a photographer like me so many options for shooting. Don't get me wrong, I like the challenge presented when you have to make an overcast day look as good as you can (it sorts the men from the boys), but nothing ever beats being able to shoot wide with my 16-35mm f2.8L Canon lens and a polarising filter on the front. Getting in the water and really taking advantage of some foreground interest and putting Nick against the big clear skies is great for magazine photos, and the type of picture you see above is a typical DPS (double page spread) style shot that you need to look for when you are out on a job. Gving your editor plenty of options is always a good thing - plenty of room for bleeding, headings, inserts and text etc. I can not wait for the river season to kick off, for they are one of my favourite locations to photograph. The people who (very kindly and bravely I might add) watch my TV programmes may well know me as a sea fisherman, but in truth I am happy to fish for and photograph anything that looks good and is fun to be around. I don't care much for splitting fishing up into different disciplines, for in the end it is all just fishing to me, however you choose to do it.

I did a load of website updates recently, click here to see full details. Plenty going on this end with lots of fishing/photo trips overseas either in the diary or taking shape, plus a few other interesting projects that are coming to fruition. As and when things happen and I can talk about these plans, I will put them up here. As I have said before, working in fishing is never what it seems. If it was easy, everybody would be doing it..........

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Please do what you can

On Monday I posted a piece about the tragic loss of young angler Alan Wright who was washed in while fishing the Bristol Channel, and the people over at are going about raising some money for Alan's family.
There are various ways you could help out :
  • Go to this thread here and do what you can
  • Or go to this thread here and then bid for a day's fishing with me - yes, you heard it right, a day's fishing with me. If you can take the pace and are prepared to listen to me warbling on all day about this and that, please do all you can and make this a good one
  • There is a fund raising fishing day being organised on the Bristol Channel, click here to see details
  • On the same day, there is another of these days being organised for anglers in Wales, click here for details
  • Another day is being organised for south coast anglers, click here for details

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

The sun's still shining - bring it on !!

The weather down here in the south west has been stunning for a few days now - clear cold nights, relatively warm, blue sky days and a real feeling that spring is on the way. Or am I speaking too soon ? I was out late last week photographing some casting tips with Nick Hart for Trout Fisherman magazine, and before we started I took a few photos of this great looking new Hardy Demon fly reel you can see here. Some fly fishing kit is simply stunning and reels like this really make you want to buy them (I think that all anglers have a bit of the tackle tart at heart syndrome). Nick is raving about this new Demon range. All I need now is some casting lessons off Nick to bring me up to scratch and I could even look like a half-decent fly angler............

Check out pages 136, 137, 138 and 140 in the new Sea Angler magazine - it is a feature I shot a while ago now, about a thoroughly nice couple called Simon and Claire Jackson who love going fishing together. How cool is that ? We need to see more female and junior anglers in our sport. I think fishing can sometimes come across as a kind of "closed shop, secret boys club", when nothing actually could be further from the truth. Fishing is a blast and it is accessible to anybody.

Now I don't as a rule watch any of this influx of US TV programmes that seem to be all over the place - I hear that many of them are very good, but personally I tend to watch films, wildlife documentaries and sport if I get the chance. But one of my brothers gave me a DVD last week for my birthday and you have seriously got to see this - it is a recent US series called Over There, and it is the first scripted television series about a current, ongoing conflict, that being the war in Iraq. I have sat totally spellbound through most of the series already, especially as I was babysitting on Saturday night so my wife could go out with some friends. Over There is simply breathtaking, and it centres on a platoon of men over in Iraq, plus the lives of their families back home and all the various interlinking threads. You can get hold of the entire series on DVD by going here. I have rarely seen such powerful, moving television and I can't get the haunting theme tune out of my head.
And I nearly forgot this - what on earth is going on with English rugby ? First game of the Six Nations and we throw away a good lead to Wales and get stuffed, and then on Sunday we play perhaps the most turgid, boring game of rugby I have ever seen to narrowly beat Italy. If we had lost we could not have complained, we were that poor. Rugby is my thing, I love it, but I am having a hard time supporting England at the moment. The thought of playing France in a couple of weeks fills me with dread. Are we ever going to get back to the glory days ?

Monday, 11 February 2008

So sad......

Fishing by its very nature can at times be a potentially dangerous sport. Sea fishing especially is all about spending time around a hugely unpredictable entity - the ocean. I am sure that all of us have at one time or another had a real scare from the sea and I would hope that we have all learnt from those experiences. But you can never take away the unpredictability of the sea, that is the nature of what it is.......
It was so sad to read about an angler being washed in while fishing the Bristol Channel last week, around Weston-super-Mare. Alan Wright was only 26 and is still listed as missing by the police, and I first heard about this tragedy on a forum that I post on from time to time, click here to see the original thread. It is an absolutely heartbreaking thing to happen and I am sure that all anglers' thoughts are with the family during this horrendous time. I can not possibly imagine what they are going through. It is far too young to go.

Friday, 8 February 2008

I have an advance copy of my book

I did not know this was coming, but I got a great birthday present yesterday when I received an advance copy of my latest book in the post - to say I am pleased would be an understatement !! To actually have in my hands the finished, printed product that took up over six full months of my life is a great feeling and it gives me a huge kick to see all my photos and words that have come together like this. Click here to see what this book is all about, and I believe it hits the shops in April. I know advance copies can be ordered by clicking here. Yesterday felt a bit like when you first get to see an edited TV show that you have spent so long planning and filming - relief, pride, a bit of anxiety (is it going to sell, or are people going to watch it ?), and a real buzz. Being part of a such a colaborative, creative process is a hugely exciting part of my work. All credit and thanks as well to my good friend and outstanding fly fishing instructor/guide Nick Hart for writing the technical fly casting and flies pages. If you want to learn about fly fishing, you really need to speak to Nick, and he even has an excellent shop right on a stunning fishery, plus a great website where you can buy loads of fly fishing products that he personally recommends. Click here to access that site.
A really nice guy who helped us out when we went filming the shore fishing in Norway around Saltstraumen has emailed me to tell me he has been catching some nice coalfish on the fly, off the shore - up to about 8lbs. Now that must be pretty explosive on fly gear. That part of Norway has some truly giant coalfish that can be caught off the shore in winter (wrap up warm), indeed they have had fish on lures over 50lbs I believe (yes, bigger than the boat record). There are also some big cod and halibut as well. Norway is a great country, and I am hoping to get to know more of it over the next few years. As well as some fantastic fishing, friendly people and outrageous scenery, of course it is the spiritual home of black metal, the finest music on this earth. Look here to find out more and then start getting some of it in to your life - you know you want to.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Make the connection

Following a forum discussion on fishing lines, it struck me how some brands of tackle seem to "travel" better than others. Take the lines that I tend to use - Sufix, known around the world as the manufacturer of arguably the best fishing lines there are. Awesome lines such as Tritanium, Synergie, Xcelon, Siege, Zippy, Superior, Performance Braid etc., yet for some reason, most anglers here in the UK have not switched on to how good Sufix lines really are. Overseas I see them being heavily advertised and used, but over here I am only recently seeing a "Sufix push" from the UK importers, Gardner Tackle. They are thoroughly good people who know how good the lines are, indeed they do a wide range of Sufix carp lines as well (where the anglers know more about it), but considering us UK sea anglers are very much technically advanced when it comes to our methods, I am really surprised not to see more sea anglers using these lines.
You owe it to yourself to track down mainlines like Sufix Tritanium and leaders like Zippy and Surf, and then go fishing with them - I have not found better lines yet for UK sea fishing. Ask your local tackle shop to start stocking them.
And another thing about lines - here in the UK we seem to always buy on breaking strains, yet some countries overseas buy on diameter. I have to admit that with the wildly conflicting reports I read and hear about breaking strains versus diameters, I am tending now to buy on diameter. How could I not when I see some lines rated differently abroad to here in the UK - for example, I have seen a 0.35mm 15lb line over here rated as a 0.35mm 20lb line overseas. So what is the right one ? And bearing in mind that I tend not to trust these so called thin-diameter mono lines - in my experience, something has to give when a line claims to be ultra low diameter, braid excepted of course.

When I buy mono line now, there are the rough figures I have in my head :

  • 0.35mm - 15lb
  • 0.40mm - 20lb
  • 0.45mm - 25lb
  • 0.50mm - 30lb
  • etc.

It is important to bear in mind that the line you buy will often break way over the quoted breaking strain, hence me now buying on diameter.

Happy Birthday to me - I am 35 today !!

And now that I am that much older and wiser than yesterday, I thought that I would change the "look" of the blog - I am hoping that the new layout now makes it easier to read.

Monday, 4 February 2008

What the hell happened ?

There I am on Saturday afternoon, watching England v Wales, loving the first half, and looking forward to the floodgates opening during the second half. Out trot England after what I presume was a good half time talk, and then they go and implode in the most unbelieveable fashion. OK, so we were making a few mistakes in the first half, but we were playing some good rugby. It looked like a team shaking off a bit of rustiness to me, but with good potential when things came the second half as I hoped. We won some great turnover ball in the first half and really had the Welsh on the ropes.

So what the hell happened after half time ?

It's like a different team came out and decided to lose a match that was basically won good and proper. Panic swept through the team, to the point where some really experienced players even began to do stupid things that they would never normally do. It also seems like we have a load of good players out injured for a while now. What a depressing Saturday afternoon, should have gone fishing instead !!

And then on Sunday, I had to allow a Welshman into my home for lunch - imagine the shame I felt, and the sheer pride he felt when he shook my hand and merely stood there beaming, without having to say a word. But rest assured that I made sure he got no lunch and had to stand in the corner on his own for the rest of the day, while us Englishmen talked about what the hell went wrong during the match !! What a start to the week............I am gutted, I am depressed and I am really narked off. What happened to the sheer guts and glory attitude we had in those few golden years up to and including 2003 ? Where has it all gone wrong ?

Saturday, 2 February 2008

You beauty - sunshine !!

OK, so it was cold yesterday, but the sun actually spent most of the day looking down upon Nick Hart and I as we shot a feature for Trout Fisherman magazine at Burton Springs fishery. What a stunning part of the world, actually right behind some Bristol Channel sea fishing marks I have spent many hours both catching and blanking from over the years. Driving from Nick's shop over the Somerset hills and on up to the coast was just fantastic, what wonderful views. What a thrill it was to be able to shoot with my 16-35mm f2.8L lens and a polarising filter - to get in the (cold) water and frame Nick against some big blue skies was just awesome and we came away with a really good looking feature. Nick had some nice rainbow trout in great winter condition, and above you can see him landing a feisty one that scrapped hard all the way in. Look at that blue sky !! For those of you living in the southern hemisphere, you will probably be wondering why we are getting so excited about seeing the sun, but if you experience a UK winter like we are having (mostly grey), you will understand.
Nick was using the a brand new Hardy Demon rod and reel and I have to say that it is about the best looking cartridge-based fly reel I have ever seen, and Nick was raving about both the rod and the reel by the end of the day. They will be on sale soon, so go to Nick Hart's fly fishing website and buy some for yourself. These things are going to sell big time. There is a great looking advert for them at the front of the new Trout Fisherman magazine.
Talking about the new Trout Fisherman, check out a couple of my features in there : pages 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 - my photos, Nick Hart's words, and pages 122, 123,124, 125 126 and 127 - my words and photos on the steelhead fishing I photographed out in BC last year. You need to go and do this fishing, it is plain awesome. Contact the fishing travel company Aardvark McLeod for starters, and then look at a bunch more photos by clicking here.
I have also started doing some work for Hardy & Greys' online magazine, Fin & Fly - click here to see what we have been up to. You need to keep an eye on this thing, because there are serious plans afoot to really make this publication really go places in due course......I am really excited to be on board with it.
And how could I not mention the fact that I am highly overexcited about the start of the Six Nations rugby today, with England playing Wales at 4.30 this afternoon. Rest assured that I will be glued to the box for it, can't wait, come on England !! Let's make this the start of building a squad for the 2011 World Cup when we are going to bring that Cup back home. To my South African friends - quick, get your photos taken with the Cup as soon as you can, it ain't going to be yours for long !!