Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Pike fishing - very nearly....

  • I went out first thing this morning to do a bit of pike fishing with Danny Parkins from Tiverton, and while we did not land any fish, Danny had a nice couple of 10lb plus fish hit his lure and then shake the hooks free. I had a little jack grab my lure right beneath my feet, but in all honesty he would have had a hard time getting the hooks in his mouth he was that small. Danny also got followed right in by a really big fish that refused to take the lure. We both had a few more follows. It was a blast to get out and chase pike again, indeed it has been far too long.

  • We were fishing a couple of different sections of the Exeter canal, and take a look at the light in the photo above - this morning was beautiful, but by about 11am the rain was coming down so hard that I could hardly see what was going on. Time to wimp out and head for coffee !! Fair weather anglers eh ?

  • Danny uses a stunning little Shimano baitcasting multiplier that he picked up from Japan, plus a short, 6' jerk-bait rod that is designed to deal with casting and working some heavy lures. Note that he is standing back from the bank, because the cast before Danny was followed in by a decent fish. Like me, he loves to fish with lures, and I can't wait to have another go at the pike sometime soon. Danny also does a fair bit of bass fishing and his father is a mad keen sea angler.
  • I am out photographing some fly fishing with Nick Hart tomorrow, and the plan is to head into Cornwall and try and nail some wild browns on a Bodmin Moor reservoir. The forecast is up and down, but I know Nick feels pretty confident of getting the job done. Hopefully it isn't going to lash it down all day - a mix of sunshine and showers usually gives some pretty dramatic light. We shall see....

  • I have just taken delivery of a very special fishing rod indeed - bright red, nearly 10' long, an ultra-fast action and feather light. I think this might well be THE bass plugging rod that I have been looking for, but before revealing what it is and where you can get your hands on one, I will try to get out on the coast later this week and give it a thrash. In the hand it feels simply incredible - unlike any kind of UK spinning rod that I have ever come across, and it is has actually been designed purely for bass fishing with lures. I have a strong feeling that this is the one.........keep an eye on the blog and I will say what it is before the end of the week when I head off to the Florida Keys. This bass rod is not cheap, but if you want the best, then the best costs. Reassuringly expensive !!

Monday, 28 April 2008

Chest waders - live in them

  • If you have yet to experience wearing breathable chest waders for your fishing, then you are missing out big time. The fly guys have been using lightweight, breathable chest waders and felt or rubber-soled wading boots for sometime now, but not that many anglers in the sea fishing world have switched on to just how useful they are for a lot of our shore fishing - and especially when you head out lure or bait fishing for bass. Some of you might not mind getting a soaking when you are fishing close to or actually in the water, but personally I like to live in my chest waders and keep nice and dry. The photo above from the other day is a perfect example of the need for chest waders. Please note that I used a long lens to compress the scene, and that the water is actually breaking safely behind where Mark is standing.

  • Not only are they good for keeping dry when you are wading, but they are great for those (frequent) times when the weather takes a turn for the worse. I simply can not imagine going bass fishing without mine. I also wear them for a lot of my mullet fishing, plus every single time I go out to photograph fly fishing, and they are even perfect for a lot of our standard shore fishing. Think of the shallow reef marks such as Lilstock on the Bristol Channel and then think how useful it would be to be able to wade out a bit if you could. I reckon my chest waders are as important to me as a decent rod or reel, and as such, they are worth every penny. In the winter I wear a fleece bib and brace lining from the fly fishing market to keep me warm.

  • Yes, you can pick up neoprene chest waders very cheaply these days, but personally I would rather wear nothing than have to wear neoprene for my fishing. Heavy, non-breathable, hot and horrible !! Look around though and you can usually pick up a good deal on a pair of breathable chesties and wading boots. You can't go far wrong using the Greys G-Series waders and the GRX wading boots. The boots are sized to allow for the waders, so just choose your regular shoe size.

  • If you want to spend more, then I can really recommend the Hardy EWS waders and EWS wading boots - I use and abuse these all the time for my fishing and photography and I can't talk them up enough. Sure, they cost a bit, but as I said earlier, I reckon waders are as important to me as a good rod and reel. I hate to think how many hard miles I have walked in mine so far, and they are standing up strong.

  • Some friends of mine had a few nice fish up on the Bristol Channel on Saturday, including a 6lb cod and a few thornbacks. This is a good time of year for the rays up there, and spring cod are always a real bonus. Southerly winds and medium tides are perfect for the really shallow reef marks - I have always been convinced that the thornies are put off by the noise or turbulence of rough conditions when you are fishing very shallow water, hence winds in the south being so good. My biggest thornback ray came from the Bristol Channel when it was flat calm, indeed all the best rays I have seen up there have been when the winds have been from the south, coming from behind us and flattening off the sea.

  • Check out some serious pike over on Nick Hart's blog - Chew Valley is an awesome place, and Nick and I filmed a TV programme there some years ago now where we had some big pike on flies. I am due to be out tomorrow in fact to photograph some lure fishing for pike, so I'll post here if it all goes well. Although I have not fished for them for a while now, pike have always held a fascination for me and I can't wait to see them again.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

At least I saw a bass....

  • I got back to Plymouth late on Tuesday night after a couple of days up in Alnwick with Hardy & Greys, and before I went to bed I checked the local forecast - perfect for another go at some bass on the lures, so on Wednesday morning I gave Mark Bryce a shout and we went out for a short session on the first of the push. The actual conditions could not have been better - decent tide, gentle westerly breeze, a bit of chop, and fantastic water clarity. Just look at the photo above to see how good it looked for bass yesterday.

  • While it still might be a little early to expect much success, about two hours after low tide I had a bass come at my lure and then turn away. I saw the fish plain as day, very close in, but the bass was that small he might actually have had a bit of a problem trying to nail my lure - again, the Maria Chase BW in holographic silver. I was able to watch my different lures work all the way in yesterday, and you can't believe how good they look in the water. Check here to get some of the Maria Chase lures - whatever you do, have one or two in your lure box at all times.

  • So, I got skunked again, but at least I saw a bass, albeit a little on the minnow size !! Mark got all excited when he saw a bigger fish track his lure at one point, but it turned out to be a nice mullet. I am going to keep trying as things are looking up - hopefully the weather will behave next week for a few attempts, because after that I am off to the Florida Keys to get hurt by some tarpon for a few days. Work of course. And when I am back it is time to head out plugging whenever time allows.

  • I had a really good couple of days with Hardy & Greys, doing a bunch of stuff on the game fishing side - there are a whole raft of very exciting looking new products to be launched this year, so keep your eyes open for them. A lot of the game fishing clothing such as breathable waders, wading boots, wading jackets and other clothing is exactly what I like to use for my mobile fishing, such as chasing bass and mullet.

  • I am out with Nick Hart next week to photograph some wild Cornish brown trout if conditions let us, and this is awesome fly fishing. There are few prettier fish in the world than a prime condition brown trout - roll on Montana in June, can't wait. Check out a load of fly fishing photographs here.

  • Check out the full report from Pete McLeod's recent bonefishing trip out to Los Roques by clicking here. One of the world's great destinations for bonefish, you can book a trip through Aardvark McLeod, check here for their website. If fly fishing for bonefish is your thing, get out there as soon as you can. You can also see a photo of me hard at work out in Canada last year by looking here. Check here for photos from Canada and here for photos from Los Roques.

  • And onto spinning rods that work well for bass fishing. Below, Mark is using what I believe to be one of the best value for money plugging rods in the UK at the moment. Don't get me wrong, there are lots of good spinning rods out there right now, check here for a load, but the rod that Mark is casting happens to work particularly well for bass fishing. It is the Shimano Technium DF BX Spinning rod, and the exact model is code STECDFBX30H - about 10' long, a nice, fast action for working all kinds of lures, and a hell of a lot of rod for not very much money at all. I know you can get them here.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Off up North

  • I am flying up to Newcastle tonight for a couple of days of meetings with Hardy & Greys at their place in Alnwick. There are some great people up there and I really enjoy doing plenty of different things with these guys. Most anglers would be fascinated to get a proper glimpse of just what it takes to design, manufacture and market all that fishing tackle that we buy. Trust me, it takes a hell of a lot of hard work.

  • Since I have been talking a fair bit recently about plugging for bass (not that I am obsessed with it or anything !!), above is another very well known and successful bass lure, the Yo-Zuri Mag Popper. A kind of popper/walk the dog hybrid lure that really can excite the fish to come up and nail it on the surface, it works well in most conditions. More modern lures tend to cast that bit better and turn over less in flight, but the Mag Popper will continue to catch bass for plenty more years to come. I always have one in my lure box. It was mainly John Hall over in southern Ireland who really switched me onto this lure. Check out some fishing with John here. There are various sizes available, but the one you see above in my view tends to work the best for our bass.

  • You will be pleased to know that I have just about survived my weekend looking after my two young daughters on my own, even with the filthy weather we had yesterday. Nothing stops us getting out for walk with our sheepdog Jess, but it does take me about half an hour longer than my wife to kit the girls out in their waterproofs etc. We have had a blast, and with plenty of trips overseas coming up in the next few months, it is great to spend some proper time with my daughters. Both of them are having an afternoon sleep at the moment, hence me sneaking upstairs to my office to do a bit of work. I know how good a mother my wife is, but after doing it all myself for a couple of days, I have a whole, renewed sense of admiration for her !! It's easier going to work................kids are awesome, but take it from me, changing nappies is a highly over rated experience. My father-in-law says that he did his first ever nappy so badly (on his daughter, my wife) that he was never allowed to change one again - what a result !!

Friday, 18 April 2008

Front cover

  • I am really pleased to have the front cover of the latest issue of Fieldsports magazine - if you are into fishing, hunting or shooting then you should check this fantastic magazine out. There is a feature in there of mine about the incredible sight fishing we did for Atlantic salmon on the east coast of Canada last autumn, on the Gaspe peninsular. Check out a load of photos from that trip here. Seeing big salmon in crystal clear waters is a memory that I can cherish forever, and if this kind of thing floats your boat, get in touch with Aardvark McLeod about a trip out there - it is very cost effective, world class Atlantic salmon fishing.

  • It is always a huge kick to get your photograph on the front cover of a magazine, and I am really pleased with their choice of photo here. Sometimes these kinds of detail-style shots can really work when you can isolate the subject matter against a backdrop that is not too busy. I was shooting with a Canon 1D MKII camera and the awesome 70-200mm f4L IS lens, all protected with a rain cover because it was lamping it down all that particular day. But I don't think the shot would have worked so well if it had not been raining. Pete McLeod caught a couple of nice salmon that day if I remember rightly. As a rule I am not that keen on taking photos in heavy rain, but with a decent cover and good gear it is fine - and Canada is still the only place I have come across where some rain actually made it look incredibly moody and attractive. But then all the parts of Canada I saw were simply incredible anyway, rain or no rain.

  • And onto rugby - this I believe is a joyous week for England fans. Our best ever skipper is taking over the reigns at Twickenham and I for one am hoping that he kicks serious butt and takes us back to the top of the world where we belong !! Martin Johnson is the biggest hero we have ever had in rugby and surely he can take that "follow me over the top" spirit into his new job. Just that stare alone was enough to have grown men wilt before him. South Africa are keeping the World Cup nice and polished for us until we take it back in 2011, so thanks for doing that guys, most kind. Get your photograph taken with it as soon as you can, because it's coming home.....

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Patience, patience......

  • Like many anglers I am sure, this waiting for the bass to turn up properly is quite frankly doing my head in. Bearing in mind that I have come to "real" bass fishing fairly late in my fishing life, for the last few years I have been playing a serious amount of catch-up. Without a doubt I credit my good friend Graham Hill over in Ireland for really moving me over into obsessing about light tackle fishing for bass, and for that I am forever in his debt. Check out a load of photos of Graham fishing perhaps the most productive coastline there is for bass, click here. I am seriously considering moving over there for a couple of years to try and work this bass addiction out of my system - I never thought bass fishing would get to me like it has done, but it has. And I blame Graham !!

  • But I first came across "modern" bass fishing techniques over in Jersey some years ago now. I had been out taking photographs and that is when I first came across the lure you can see above - the Lucky Craft Sammy, one of the most successful surface "walk the dog" type lures there is. Still the biggest lure caught bass I have ever seen caught was taken on that particular photography trip over to Jersey, and the angler I was with nailed a bass of perhaps 12lbs on a Sammy. He was a hell of a good bass angler. You seriously have to get some of these lures for your own bass fishing - use them in shallow water when it is nice and calm and work the rod tip and reel slowly to get this thing walking from side to side. The Sammy tends to get knocked off balance when it is choppy, but it is perfect for calm conditions. They cast like a bullet and enable you to really cover a lot of water. "Walking the dog" takes a bit of practise, but it is pretty easy to do. Nothing beats any kind of fish nailing you on the surface.

  • Fishing for me is all about a mixture of fun and work, but over the years I have learnt how to manage my desire to fish all the time with my need to get photos and material for my work. The fact that I love photography as much as I love fishing really helps, and the real secret to nailing proper photos is knowing when not to fish. OK, so I can't get to fish all the time, but the trade off for me is that I get to work right in amongst the best sport in the world, and I would not have it any other way. There are plenty of photos of the kinds of fishing I work around here.

  • But this still does not get away from the fact that I am wanting to spend too much time wandering "my" coastline looking for bass. Sure, there are harder fighting fish out there, and there are fish that grow plenty bigger, but the bass is the one chance we UK sea anglers have to scale down, get mobile and fish with ultra-modern lure fishing tackle and techniques. I realise that I have a vast amount to learn about lure fishing, and increasingly I am looking to places like Japan, France and the USA for information. Again, this is a mix of work and pleasure for me - I want to learn, and I need to learn.

  • And now we have howling east winds for the next few days down here - hardly the kind of weather to get out on the coast and play with some more lures. Plus I am on my own this weekend with my two girls as my wife is off to London for a hen weekend - help !!

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Are the bass here ?

  • I went out late yesterday afternoon to have my first proper go of the year for bass - just me, my sheepdog Jess and a deserted coastline. There really is nothing like travelling light and being able to move around the rocks, gullies, beaches and rips where the bass like to hang out. The general feeling around here is that the plugging season is close to getting going. The tide was on the neap side, but about two hours back I got hit hard about ten yards out. The bass did not connect properly with my lure, but in that split second my heart jumped into my mouth and it gave me real hope. But after that one hit I had nothing else. Still, I loved every single second of it - nobody around, a light onshore breeze, good clarity to the water, and a stack of awesome looking ground over which to play with my expanding lure collection !! Not that I like bass lures or anything......

  • Above is a photograph of the sun setting just as I was getting ready to walk back to my car. South Devon is a great part of the world to live around and on evenings like this I can't really believe that I get to call this part of the world my home.

  • I tried various lures out, including some incredible looking soft plastics that look so good in the water no self-respecting bass is going to refuse them. I will keep testing them out and then I will reveal what they are, where to get them and how to fish them. If you fish very shallow, weedy marks for bass, then these lures are very quickly going to find a place in your box. I am honestly amazed at how a bit of soft plastic can look so good in the water. Hell, I was tempted to dive in myself and grab it.

  • But the lure that I got hit on yesterday was the ever faithful Maria Chase BW in the holographic silver colour. You need to work these things fast, and make sure to regularly jerk the rod tip to make them slash and dart from side to side. You can get your Maria Chase lures from here. I did give the good looking new colour Maria Chase BW a go yesterday, but I snagged it up and lost it straight away. I knew I should not have cast it where I did. One down.....

  • I am currently testing out various different products to use for my bass fishing, including rods, reels, lures and lines. As I sink further and further into the world of modern bass fishing, I want my tackle to keep up with the task - the more research I do into all this, the more I know I have to learn. The secret is knowing where to look, and often that is outside of the UK. There are plenty of good bass fishing products on the market, but there are a few very special bits and pieces indeed. The rod I was using yesterday is simply stunning, there is no other word to describe it, but give me a bit more time and I will tell all.

  • But one product you seriously need to check out is one of the most incredible braids that I have ever used, as you can see loaded up on my reel below. For some years now I have been using what I believe are the best UK-style shore fishing hooks on the market, the Varivas Big Mouth and Big Mouth Extras. Check here to get hold of them. Not only do they just look right to my eyes, but they work seriously well.

  • Varivas also make a whole range of other high-tech fishing products, including lines and braids, and the one that I have fallen for in a big way is the green braid you can see below. Called Varivas Avani Sea Bass Premium SE braid, I am using the 23lb variety that comes in 150m spools. The only place I know that does this braid in the UK is here, and whilst it is not exactly cheap, what price the best ? One spool could last you for ages though. I like the colour, I love the way it feels, it lays perfectly on my reel, and it casts and fishes incredibly well. I also have another Varivas braid to try here, but for the moment this Avani Sea Bass Premium SE is going to get serious punishment from me. Take it from me, it is awesome stuff.

Monday, 14 April 2008

Back from holiday

  • It's always good getting home after a bit of time away, especially when the time you have had away has been fantastic. My wife and I love Spain, it is an incredible country and there is so much to see and do. We went north of Barcelona and just stayed in really pretty looking places that had great walking along the stunning coastline. A lot of the Costa Brava is totally ruined through catering to mass tourism, but if you speak Spanish (my wife does) and are prepared to get off the beaten track then you will find that parts of the coastline are simply breathtaking. It always strikes me as daft that so few people are prepared to explore and get away from the crowds.

  • Talking of walking, I reckon over the years that I have walked most of the south Devon coastline for my fishing. Many non-anglers believe that fishing is a "sport" where you do nothing but sit there for hours on end, but mobile rock fishing is nothing of the sort, indeed it can be great exercise. Above are the guys I went plaice fishing with just before I left for Spain. Fishing far from the beaten track is what it is all about in my view. My sheepdog Jess loves these kinds of fishing trips.

  • Although we were on holiday and I had not taken any fishing gear, a few of the places my wife and I stayed looked very interesting for bass fishing. I found some lovely shallow, rocky and weedy ground that I reckon would fish well on the lures, so when we go back I am going to sneak a travel-style plugging rod in my bag and get up really early for a bit of fishing. My wife need never know !! A rod like the 20-50g Greys Missionary 6 Spin would work a treat - six piece rods like this are the way forward for travelling.

  • I note from the Aardvark McLeod blog that Pete McLeod is working hard out in Los Roques off the coast of Venezuela !! Awesome bonefish by the way, and well done for managing to do a bit of fishing amongst all that hard work I am sure that you have to do out there. I was out in Los Roques last year to photograph the awesome bonefishing and it is a perfectly magical place. Check here for a load of photos I shot. Talk to Aardvark McLeod about a trip out there - those famous pancake flats are incredible.

  • And seriously well done to James Warbrick-Smith - he called me yesterday to tell me all about his trip out to the Bahamas that he has just got back from. James nailed his first ever permit on the fly, and that is a seriously hard thing to do, so huge congratulations to the man. I know how much it means to James. He is an awesome fly fisherman and we have done some very cool trips together in the past - here is to a load more. Check here for a load of photos I shot on the same remote island a few years ago with Nick Hart and James. Most people simply do not realise how wild it is possible to get in the Bahamas, but the huge island of Inagua is far from the beaten track - I would imagine that you are getting the point here. I love fishing and photographing where there is a distinct lack of people. What can beat wild open spaces ?

  • Check out the new In Flames album, called "A Sense of Purpose" - listen to some tracks here. Their output has been a bit up and down over the last few years, but this release is growing on me. I like it when melodic death metal is done well, and In Flames tend to be pretty good at it.

Monday, 7 April 2008

Fishing for plaice

  • I shot a really good looking feature on Saturday with a couple of friends, about shore fishing for one of the most stunning flatfish we have in our waters - the plaice. The day before they had seven of these little stunners, but when we went the fishing was somewhat harder. You should have been here yesterday !! I saw a nice plaice right at the end of the day, but we had a blast. Sometimes I forget just how beautiful the south Devon coastline really is, especially when the sun is out and you are fishing somewhere awesome. As to where, that has to remain a secret of course !! I could tell you, but then I would have to do you in....

  • I took some real close-ups of the plaice's eye because it fascinates me to see fish with their eyes on top of their head like that. I rarely go after flatfish, so I love seeing them. Lots of UK shore anglers have a real soft spot for flounder, plaice, dabs and sole.

  • I am seeing more and more guys down here turning over to what I believe is the best shore fishing multiplier on the market at the moment, the Daiwa Saltist 30H, see here for my review. Both the guys were using them on Saturday and can't find fault with them - ok, so they are slight overkill for plaice fishing, but their compact size and immense strength make them perfect for so much of our fishing.

  • Above is Rob Yorke lobbing a plaice bait out. We had plenty of dropped bites that had to have been plaice simply nibbling at the baits, but as we were close to packing up, James Langdon nailed a nice fish. South Devon is such a great part of the world to live in.

  • Sunday was about the strangest load of weather I have seen in one day for a while now - bright blue skies here in Plymouth, often promptly followed by a couple of snow showers. I went for a meeting right up the Tamar over lunch and we had a couple of really heavy snow showers. And this morning I find my car covered in the heaviest frost I have seen this year. Then just last week I was out walking my dog in a t-shirt - what is going on ?

  • I have just got hold of some incredible looking braid lines for fishing, and one in particular I believe might just be the one that I am going to change over to for my lure fishing for bass. I will use it for a bit and then reveal what it is, but for now, take it from me - I have never seen braid quite like this stuff. The strength to diameter ratio is off the scale and it feels seriously special stuff. Not cheap, but since braid lasts for ages I reckon it is more than worth it.

  • And on the subject of braid, I have been giving this stuff a bit of thought that might help out - we tend to get hold of braid here in the UK on either 150 or 300 yard spools. I always used to get 300 yard spools, fill my reel up and then never know how much I have got left. But now all I do is buy 150 yard spools, wind them onto a spare reel spool, put as much mono backing on as required over the top (remember to underfill), and then wind this all back onto the other spool - presuming that is that your spinning reel came with two spools. This gives me the perfect line level for my fishing, and let's face it - bass are very cool fish, but even our longest cast with a plug and then a monster bass charging off is never going to come close to emptying the reel. Now I know exactly how much braid I have on my reels and I am never left guessing how much line is left on a spool that I shelled out for.

  • I am off to Spain tomorrow to have a few days away with my wife, without the kids - Spain is such a cool country and my wife speaks fluent Spanish, so we can easily get around and do our own thing. Taking a brief holiday as a self-employed person always gives me feelings of guilt, but it is going to be a great week away and I can't wait. My wife deserves it.

  • If you have bought my new fishing book, thank you from me, and I hope you are enjoying it. See here for full details if you have not got it yet. Get it - you know it makes sense.

Saturday, 5 April 2008

Interesting new bass lure

  • I have just been sent a really interesting looking new lure that I reckon might work rather well for our bass. Called a Maria Bull Chop (where do they come up with these names ?), it is a bit of a strange one........

  • Weighing 40g and with very strong looking hooks, it casts like a bullet, but it is not a "conventional" surface or sub-surface lure, indeed this Bull Chop seems as if it can be worked in a variety of different ways. I went out yesterday to give it a quick go on the water and see how it behaved and I reckon this lure might do well in a variety of situations. I will put a photo of the lure up here in due course.

  • When you first look at the lure, it says "surface lure" to you, but the thing is heavy and it sinks - I used it in a variety of different ways yesterday and I reckon you can fish it very effectively in two, if not three different ways. I will be really interested to see how this Bull Chop performs when the bass are around, but if a lure can give me various options then I am starting to like it already. But we shall see.

  • Method 1 - blast it and retrieve instantly with a high rod to get the lure up on the surface. Use a high rod technique to get the lure both walking and spitting back to you. Impart a lot of wrist action to create this hybrid popper/walk movement. Should be great for shallow water, covering loads of ground. Closest to a walking the dog action to me.

  • Method 2 - blast it and retrieve the lure with a low rod, deliberately letting it work just under the surface. Occasionally the lure will break the surface and then go back under, and then it comes right on the surface as it gets closer to you. Now is the time to really make this thing walk across the surface like you would with a lure such as the Lucky Craft Sammy.

  • Method 3 - I am not sure about this one, but since this lure casts well and sinks fast if you let it, I would imagine that working it almost like a jerkbait will produce takes in deeper water. I don't tend to lure fish for bass in very deep water, but it would be worth trying it like this, and you could get it to sink and draw and then break the surface.

  • But if anybody out there knows any more about these Maria Bull Chop lures, please do tell me. We in the UK have a lot to learn when it comes to modern lure fishing methods, techniques and tackle.

  • My current favourite bass lure is the Maria Chase BW in holographic silver, but like any addict, I always enjoy playing with different bits of plastic when I can, so I will be interested to see what this Bull Chop does. I will take a couple with me to the Florida Keys in a few weeks to see how they do there. You can get all your Maria lures here.

  • I have ordered a few spinning rods to test out for bass plugging, and I have a feeling that one of them is going to be the rod that I have been after. There are loads of spinning rods on the market that do good jobs, but I have been looking for the one rod that just feels totally right to me the moment I pick it up. All details will be given out in due course. I am even hoping that a couple of the rods might well be "the one" !! We shall see........not that I am particular about my fishing rods or anything.

  • And on to music - anybody into metal is going to have loved Iron Maiden all their lives, so you seriously need to get hold of their recently released live DVD called "Live After Death", from when they toured the Powerslave album back in 1985, when I was only 12 !! I am ashamed to say that Iron Maiden are the one band that I have never seen live, but I am going to rectify that the next time they are in the UK. Seeing them launch into songs like The Trooper, Hallowed be Thy Name and Aces High on this DVD nearly brought tears to my eyes with the sheer emotion of it. I had to tell my wife that it was a bit of dust caught in my eye. Check here to get hold of this awesome DVD.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Spring is here......

  • The sun us beaming down today and it actually feels properly warm for the first time this year - spring is here at last. But the forecast is giving a vicious little cold snap this weekend, just to remind us not to pack away the fleeces just yet. If nothing else, at least we have a good amount of variety to the weather here in the UK. And don't we love talking about it !!

  • I photographed a good looking feature up on Wimbleball reservoir with Nick Hart yesterday, but for the first half of the day we were wrapped up in every bit of clothing we had. Grey skies and a really cold wind might not be that great for photos, but it was fantastic for the fishing, and in quick succession Nick nailed three nice rainbow trout on fast sinking lines fished into deep water close to the bank.

  • In the photo above I have deliberately worked on framing Nick against a backdrop of trees and hills - when the sky is really grey, I do all I can to not have to put the angler against all that grey, as to me it tends to look plain horrible. Making fishing look good is easy when the sun is out, but making it look as good as you can when the light is against you is a proper challenge. And I love it. When conditions are like this, I tend to use one of my Canon 70-200m lenses (either the f4L or or the f2.8L) and frame pretty tight to get away from the "dirty" look of a dark grey sky. Granted, it might cut your range of shots down a bit, but if you are wearing chest waders and are prepared to get into the water and photograph low down, you can actually make things look really good. As anybody who knows me will attest to, I tend to live in chest waders for the bulk of my work and fishing, and my Hardy EWS waders and boots are going just great. OK, so I don't actually wear chest waders when I am at my desk........

  • Nick is playing one of his rainbow trout above, on a Hardy Demon rod and reel, a setup that he is raving about. Nothing ever beats buying your fishing gear from a place where you can get proper advice from people who actually use the gear themselves. For that reason I can wholeheartedly recommend that you click here to buy your fly fishing gear.

  • Talking of Hardy & Greys, check out the new edition of Fin & Fly here, and specifically a feature of mine on wild brown trout. Click here to see it. Few fish in the world are as stunning as a wild brown. You can see a load more fly fishing photographs from around the world by either looking here on my website, or by clicking here.

  • And just as the sun broke through yesterday and Wimbleball lit up, the fish went off the feed and resolutely refused to play ball any more. Still, at least it allowed me to get my wide angle lens on and shoot some more scenic orientated material. I want big blue skies for my photos, yet the fisherman wants it overcast for the fishing.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

My new fishing book is on sale from today

  • In a shameless act of self-promotion, I believe it is my duty to inform you that my new fishing book is on sale as from today - available at all good book shops I presume, or order it from here. It is very exciting to have my second fishing book coming out after all the hard work that went into it. Stashed full of some very cool fishing photography, this new book I reckon is an invaluable guide to all kinds of fishing, places, methods, tackle and other assorted nuggets of useful information. Check out the cover above.

  • Like any lure addict, I have just ordered a few new bass lures to put in my already overflowing boxes. Do I really need them ? Probably not, but it makes me feel really good to have new models and colours sitting here ready for the off. Somebody once described plugging to me as a chance for boys to play with increasingly expensive bits of high-tech plastic - boys with toys basically.

  • I am out tomorrow shooting a feature for Trout Fisherman with Nick Hart. so hopefully we might see a little bit of spring sunshine to light the piece up. It's always a blast photographing with Nick, and both of us are in a high state of excitement about our June trip out to Montana.

  • It's good to hear of a new nice thornback rays and spring codling coming from the Bristol Channel, an area I really like for shore fishing. Those murky waters can produce some great fishing when things come together, but the last few winters have been relatively tough. Check out places like Hinkley, Lower Light, Brean Down and Sand Point for thornies and codling. Whole squid baits always sorts out the big rays, but I would never travel up there this time of year without some decent peeler crab as well. The tidal ranges up there are incredible.

  • I had a long chat last night with Gerhard of the South African fly fishing company FlyCastaway and they have got lots of seriously exciting plans. I love working with these guys and I reckon they are some of the most talented and adventurous fly fishermen I have ever met. I have photographed with them extensively and we have plenty more to do together in the future. Gerhard also gleefully informed me last night that the South African cricket team are now no.1 in the world rankings - surely this is not right ?

  • Gerhard told me that the remote Seychelles atolls they are working on are continuing to fish their proverbial socks off, and especially Providence. A client recently lost a black marlin estimated at over 450lbs after a 2.5hr fight, on a fly rod !! They are catching lots of those extraordinary bumphead parrotfish on the flats, plus plenty of huge GTs, bonefish, triggerfish etc. This vast atoll is simply incredible and I have been lucky enough to have been there twice with the FlyCastaway guys. Check here and here for a load of photos and info. I can't think of anybody on this earth who has as much remote Seychelles material as me.

  • If you can, get yourself out there to fish this paradise. Talk to Aardvark McLeod and they will sort a trip out for you.

  • Remember, my new fishing book is on sale from today - another shameless plug !!