Friday, 30 May 2008

Perfect conditions, but only one bass landed

  • Check out how good it looked on yesterday evening's low water - about as perfect as I could hope for in fact. A small swell, a bit of chop, good clarity and fairly overcast skies. I had a feeling it would be like this from the weather forecast. Plenty of "life" to the water. These are the kinds of conditions you can dream about for chucking lures at bass, and I really thought we might clean up........

  • Early on, a bass that might have touched 4lb chased my lure in almost right to my feet, to the point where I ran out of water on the retrieve. I never saw the fish again, but I knew they had to be around. The sea just looked too good. The lure ? The Maria Chase BW. There were also a few small pollack smashing at the lures, but Mark, James and I had only bass in our sights. Just seeing these fish chase your lures is enough to give me heart palpitations. One day soon it's going to be a monster bass chasing my lure in and grabbing it right at my feet...........nothing like dreaming !!

  • It is Mark in the photo above, fishing a stunning looking gully with his holographic silver Maria Chase BW (you need this lure in your box for bass fishing, see here). Just before I shot this photograph, Mark saw a nice bass around 5lbs charge and turn on his lure, and although he felt the fish, it did not hook up. What a shame. If you want to fish ground like this for bass, do yourself a serious favour and look for a decent pair of breathable chest waders and proper wading boots. I know I bang on about them, but they will revolutionise your fishing. Check here for some good waders and boots. To me they are as vital as a decent rod and reel.
  • James hooked and landed a small bass that you can see above, and all this happened before low water. Naturally I thought the flood tide and impending darkness would bring the bass on the feed big time, but for some reason all it did was switch them off !! None of us saw a proper hint of another fish, save for some small pollack. Weird......

  • Note the green braid on James' spinning reel - he has gone and succumbed to the awesome Varivas Avani Sea Bass braid in 23lb breaking strain. It is vital to really underfill your spinning reel, almost to the point where you think you might lose a bit of distance because of it. But this is the right level to fish braid at so that you don't get those infernal wind knots. Sometime soon I will post a photograph of my line level on the spool of my spinning reel to show what I mean.

  • It's a later low water this evening and a slightly bigger tide - conditions look good again. Guess what I'm doing later on this afternoon ?

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Wettest fishing photography job ever !!

  • From the time I got up yesterday morning until I was halfway back home after the job, it never stopped raining (pouring) for one second. That is from 5.30am until 5pm - up until this particular photo job, the wettest day I have ever photographed was out in Canada last year, see here. But yesterday has now taken first prize, and I am proud to be able to award that prize to a UK day, during summer of course. I tell you what, I am getting pretty good at this "do the photo job from under a huge golfing umbrella" kind of photography, and it was so extreme yesterday that it has actually turned out looking very cool indeed.

  • I was out with Nick Hart up at the stunning Southwood trout fishery near to Barnstaple in North Devon - what a great place, and without doubt the best quality stocked rainbow trout I have ever seen in the UK. They were stunning fish - firm bodies, fantastic fins and great strength. To see stocked trout like this is really good news, and if you are into your fly fishing, you really should go and fish this place (telephone 01271 343608). Nestled down at the bottom of a steep valley, the owner Nigel Early is a thoroughly nice guy and he breeds awesome trout. Nick helped his young son Thomas out yesterday, and managed to get him into a nice trout approaching 10lbs. Check out the near 9lb one that Nick landed in the photo above.

  • I have to give full credit to the guys' waterproofs, for without them it would have been a thoroughly miserable experience in all that rain. Both Nick and I highly rate the Greys GRXi range of fly fishing clothing, and I wear the stuff a lot for my shore fishing - a pair of chest waders and the GRXI wading jacket work really well together. It was ok for me yesterday, as I spent most of the time with this big golfing umbrella stuffed down the front of my wading jacket and into my waders - I feel like a big lampshade when I walk around like this, but it works. I hate being beaten by the weather, and if you stick at it like we did yesterday, the results are usually very much worth the extra effort. The shame is that no photograph is ever going to really show just how hard the rain was coming down. You might get some sense of it from the photo above - look at the surface of the lake. Today is a completely different day altogether.

  • Above you can see Nick bringing one of his trout to the net towards the end of the day. We had a blast and I am really looking forward to getting back to Southwood for a big blue sky cold winter day - I reckon it would look great like this, and the trout will be in even better condition than they are at the moment.

  • The forecast looks good for a quick crack at the bass late this afternoon and on until dusk. It's neap tides, but I like the look of the conditions. The faster I can get through what I have to do here, the sooner I can go fishing !! Not that these magnificent fish have got me badly hooked or anything like that.......

  • On the extreme metal front, you seriously need to check out the new CD from Ihsahn, called "Angl" - as you will no doubt know I am sure, this guy was the frontman for one of the most revered black metal bands of all time, Emperor, and his solo music is really growing on me. Check out some tracks here.

  • And what about this for perfect timing - Nick Hart and I are close to heading out to photograph some spectacular trout fishing in Montana, and I have just picked up a new CD from a new Montana based metal band called Martriden. It is awesome, and I reckon these guys could really be a force to reckon with in the years to come. Perhaps their harsh winters and famous big blue summer skies have inspired this delightfully brutal and catchy album called "The Unsettling Dark" - check here for some tracks. Once again I am able to present a subtle mix of fishing and extreme metal !! I'm getting good at this........

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Some more Bank Holiday bass

  • It was raining that hard yesterday morning that I didn't even get my camera out, but we had five or six small bass on lures, plus a few pollack. I was fishing with a thoroughly nice guy over in Cornwall and we managed to duck out of the howling northerly wind for a really fun session.

  • I heard recently that some good bass over in Jersey are being taken on the Duo Tide Minnow lure, so I put that one on first and hooked a bass within about five casts early yesterday. It is great when a new lure works so well !! The one I was using was the Tide Minnow Slim 120 (but they come in various sizes), and it casts really well and has a stunning kind of rolling, side to side action when you retrieve it. A shallow diving lure that was designed by the French bass anglers, I know you can get them here.

  • At least twice I was hit by a fish that did not connect, and I then cast in the same kind of area on the very next cast and hooked a bass both times. Was it the same fish hitting me again ? Good to know that there were a few fish about - what an awesome mark to fish, very awkward to get down to, but I suppose that is what protects it from getting a hammering from other fishermen. Lots of rocks, weed and gullies, plus plenty of different depths of water. I really fancy the area for surface lures as well.

  • I reckon the better size of fish will come in time, and to be perfectly honest, I love this style of fishing that much that I simply couldn't care how big or small the fish are. My opinion is that if you are putting yourself in the right place to catch bass, then the size of them will take care of itself - at least one can hope !! Big or small, they are great fish to be around.

  • I just wish that our bass stocks were properly looked after and managed so that these magnificent fish offered a real sporting proposition to more fishermen. Imagine if there were lots of big bass to fish for ? Just think about what a thriving sport fishing industry we could have that was based solely around the bass if we had more and bigger fish to catch. Think about the money that this would be worth to the economy. Think about the commercial value of a thriving sports fishery compared to commercial landings - the bass is worth far more to us swimming around than on a plate. When are the powers that be going to wake up and see what needs to be done ? All they have to do is to make a brief study of the US striped bass fishery to see just what can be done.

  • We managed to get a few hours in early yesterday morning before the wind swung around from northerly and off our backs, right round to due east and smacking us in the side. Time to head for home. My dog Jess had cut her leg on the way down to the mark and for a while it was pouring so much blood we considered getting her back straight away, but I managed to wash the cut in saltwater, bind the wound in a bit of fishing rag (thanks Andy) and the bleeding began to slow and then eventually stopped. She has ripped one of the pads on the heel of a front leg, but luckily it is not affecting her walking at all and I cleaned it off properly when I got back home. All fine. I don't like seeing my dog in pain.

  • Just how much rain did we have yesterday and overnight ? Proper stuff. I feel really sorry for all the people who have come to the westcountry for the long weekend, but what can you do ? This is England after all. One day you're walking around in shorts and slapping some suncream on, and the next you're turning the heating on in the house and getting the waterproofs out. It's just a shame to get such ropey weather on an important weekend for tourism down here, especially when we see footage of the north of the country basking in warm sunshine. At least they managed to complete the Test match - well done England, a good win after such a poor first innings score. Monty is the the real deal and it's great to see Strauss scoring proper runs again. I love cricket, what a great sport.

  • Check out some really nice fly fishing photos of mine in the current issue of Trout Fisherman magazine - look at pages 16, 17, 18, 19 and 20. These were shot on the stunning River Mole, and have a look at some awesome sea trout fishing that Nick Hart has been guiding his clients on to over the weekend - click here for the report.

  • If you ever get a chance to have a look at the Danish fishing magazine Sportsfiskeren, look for a feature of mine in the current issue. It is all about fishing in Africa and I am blown away at how good they have made the piece look. I love fishing and photographing in Africa. At the end of September I am booked up to fly down to South Africa to photograph some really wild shore fishing near to the border with Mozambique, and then head inland to do some more stuff on the fantastic yellowfish of the Vaal river. Look here for some photos of when I was last there. Too few anglers know about this great fly fishing for yellowfish. I will be working once more with the excellent FlyCastaway guys, and you can book some of the best fly fishing in the world with them through Aardvark McLeod.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

First bass of the year - small but beautiful

  • I managed to get few hours in plugging yesterday afternoon before I needed to be back to babysit my two daughters for the evening, and it turned out to be a blast. Just me, my sheepdog Jess and a deserted coastline, with the strong NE wind off our backs and what seemed like fairly good conditions. I knew something was looking up when the first rock I waded to had a nice, perhaps 4-5lb bass rooting around just behind it - but the fish saw me and promptly legged it !! You simply can not put a value on decent polarised sunglasses, and I wear what I believe are the best on the market today, Maui Jim. It was flat calm and the water was verging on being almost too clear (weeks of east winds), but when a proper sized pollack turned on my Maria Chase BW (check the lure here) right at the edge of the rocks and showed me that big, predator eye, I reckoned my luck might be in. I then had numerous follows from plenty of other, smaller pollack, plus a small bass, before moving to another set of rocks close by and landing three small pollack. Together they might have struggled to reach 1.5lbs, but at least there was plenty of life around.

  • About two hours after low water I went and snagged my Maria Chase up properly and lost it, so I re-tied a short 30lb Varivas fluorocarbon leader on and picked out another great shallow-diving minnow, the Lucky Craft Flash Minnow. I really like this lure, but it dives a little deeper than the Maria and I had to retrieve for the most part with my rod held high to get it closer to the surface. I also reckon it works better with a slower retrieve than I use for the Maria. But it worked......

  • The bass you see above is my first this year on a lure, and although it might be "slightly" on the small side (!!), I could not be happier to see one - seriously overjoyed in fact. A typical smash into the lure typifies these magnificent fish. It went back fine after a few photos taken with the aid of this great little tool, the Berkley TEC Pistol Trigger Grip. I picked it up in the US a few weeks ago, principally to enable me to at least get a few photos of fish I might happen to catch when I am fishing on my own. It is designed for gripping a fish like a bass for unhooking - no harm comes to the fish and no more will you end up with spike and cut marks all over your hands. It sits in a little holster on your belt and I would not be without it now.

  • I also saw a big wrasse follow my lure right in to my feet before I caught the bass, and after I moved to another finger of rock and hooked the bass, on virtually the next cast I caught this one you can see above. Around 3.5lbs I reckon, it was great fun on this Tenryu plugging rod and it put up a typical wrasse kind of scrap. It had stunning markings and went back fine. I love these fish and I am really pleased to have nailed one on the plug where I was fishing. On a Bank Holiday weekend, I saw nobody - amazing. To have that kind of good looking water to myself was a real treat.

  • That was it, I had to head back home and take on the babysitting duties so that my wife could go out on the razzle. How badly would I have loved to stay on fishing, but I could not even get any mobile phone reception to try and call and tell a little lie about my car breaking down or something like that !! Not that the thought has ever entered my head...........

  • Below is the lure that did the business, the Lucky Craft Flash Minnow. It does cast a little better than the Maria and it "rolls" incredibly seductively through the water - I like having different options in my lure box. I just have to remember to slow down on the retrieve when using the Flash Minnow.

  • The more I am using this stunning Tenryu Red Dragon Express plugging rod, the more I can see just how advanced a fishing rod it is for this kind of bassing. You can see my initial review of it here, and my views have not changed at all. It is the single best plugging rod I have ever picked up, and I feel totally confident of getting the upper hand on any bass that might come my way (setting myself up for a fall I know !!). But I do know that I am working my lures effectively from the moment they hit the water.

  • And as for this Varivias braid I am using - wow !! Yes, it costs more than most others, but it is sublime to fish with. The bright green Avani Sea Bass Braid in 23lb is awesome to use, and I love the colour, but the Avani Sea Bass Max Power PE in 20lb is a class apart. I just wish they did it in a really hi-vis colour like yellow or orange (hint, hint). I have yet to find another braid that feels like this - you will not believe how thin and easy casting it is. I used a different Varivas 8-strand braid out in the Florida Keys the other day and it did great, so I guess I am sold on the merits of this stuff. I know you can get both the Varivas braids I am raving about here. If you are seriously into your lure fishing, you will no doubt be prepared to pay to get the best.

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Wild fly fishing

  • I had a great day yesterday with Nick Hart, photographing a fly fishing feature for Trout Fisherman magazine - few fish are as pretty as a pure, wild brown trout from a gin clear stream. Small they may be, but they are perfectly formed little fish that offer a real challenge to lots of fly fishermen. I could photograph these things all day long. Many fly fishermen believe that chasing stocked trout on chalkstreams is what it is all about, but little in my mind can compare to the kind of thing we did yesterday. Each to their own though.

  • We were up on the remote Badgworthy Water, a tiny river that runs through a stunning part of Exmoor and then drains into the Lyn. We traipsed a few miles up this river until it began to open out as you can see above - what a breathtaking place, presumably virtually unfished, yet it costs only £5 to fish it for the day. Nick did really well in tricky conditions, and he nailed a fair few wild browns for my cameras. All went back unharmed. My sheepdog Jess had about the best day possible as well, so all in all it was just perfect. I love being able to call a day like yesterday my work. England in the early summer is great - when the sun is out that is.

  • Nick could not resist trying this pool out as we wandered back, and although we could see some nice trout moving about, they proved to be that little bit too wary - most likely not helped by me tramping around with my cameras, but needs must. I am never sure whether I really like these shots where the water takes on a blurred effect due to a small aperture and resultant slow shutter speed, but I had no choice - I wanted the scene to be sharp from front to back, and that required a tripod, f16 and of course a slower shutter speed. Hence the blurred water on the right of the shot. I like the overall composition and I am fairly sold on the water - I think !! What a stunning part of the south west though. So many different "looks" all within a few miles of each other and somewhere I would very much like to return.

  • Nick Hart has been rather more forthcoming than I was about the reasons for me not photographing pike on the fly earlier this week, and for that I say well done. Nick's thoughts are on his blog, check here. Fishing is a great sport and I love working in it, but fishing "politics" leave me cold. Adapt or die is a saying that I subscribe to completely in my business.......

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Check out this bass lure

  • I have recently got hold of this bass lure above, backed up by reports of some stunning bass catches over in Jersey last year from the guys who were using it. It is amazing to see just where surface fishing for bass is headed, when lures like this make it so easy and effective. If you are fishing rocky, weedy, shallow to medium depth ground and want to cover a lot of water, you really should have a look at this lure. Better still, team it up with a proper plugging rod like my new Tenryu and you have the ultimate set up.

  • Called the Patchinko II, and made by Xorus, it casts like a bullet. Seriously, I have rarely come across a surface lure that cuts through the wind so well. The Lucky Craft Sammy and GunFish are excellent casting lures as well, but this Patchinko II has the edge. You can cover a serious amount of water with it, and that can only be a good thing.

  • Like all good things in life, specialist lures like this can be tricky to get hold of, but I know you can order them here. It is worth tracking this one down. The great thing about surface lures is that you so rarely lose them, unless that is you are fishing for monster golden dorado that take huge delight in relieving me of my favourite Halco poppers. See the photos here.

  • So how does this Patchinko II lure work ? In my mind it is close to an ultra-modern version of an established favourite, the Yo-Zuri Mag Popper - a kind of hybrid walk the dog/popper lure. It is closest in action to the Lucky Craft GunFish I reckon, whereby it "walks" seductively across the surface and also spits water out in front with that in-turned mouth. And this one really walks big time. Whereas the Sammy is best suited to calm conditions and tends to get knocked about when it is a little choppy, lures like this Patchinko II and the GunFish are that extra bit more stable.

  • Using a lure like this really is a perfect example of when a specialist plugging rod like the new Tenryu that I have here comes into its own (check out my rod review here). Such a fast, powerful action to a rod gives you instant pick-up on a lure like this, and it means that however far you cast it, the moment you snap that bail arm over and begin the retrieve, the lure is working properly. You hardly have to move the rod tip to get this Patchinko II lure doing its stuff across the surface, and in my mind that has made the purchase of this kind of modern bass plugging rod more than worthwhile. Covering more water effectively is the key.

  • The Jersey guys tell me that when bass hit this Patchinko II lure, they nail it big time, so there is obviously something a bit special about it. I can see myself using this one a lot over the summer and autumn. I did hear from my mate Graham Hill over in Ireland that he had three nice bass on a Lucky Craft GunFish just before their close season kicked in on May 15th. I also hear that he is currently going up the wall with frustration, and they are only a few days into the close season !! Still, it's a good thing and I respect the Irish authorities a huge amount for implementing a thing like that.

  • And as for frustration, tell me about it !! Photographing pike on the fly was cancelled for Monday, for various tedious reasons, and then today I was meant to be out with Malcolm Jones on his charter boat. But while the sun might be shining, we very annoyingly have fresh east winds that are making things very difficult. Yes, you guessed, another day cancelled. I am known for my lack of patience, and this is testing it somewhat !! Still, at least I am out with Nick Hart tomorrow to photograph some west country river fly fishing. If we get a meteor shower that destroys the river between now and tomorrow, I might just scream......

  • Still, to calm you down, put the new CD from Belphegor into your stereo and crank it up to the max. Any album with the glorious title of "Bondage Goat Zombie" deserves a listen (where do they get these album names from ??!!), but this is seriously good extreme metal. Check it out here. The soothing sound of the first crushing track is calming me down no end. I could almost forget the fresh east wind blowing outside.

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Just too much breeze

  • I was meant to be out photographing with Malcolm Jones today, the skipper of the Plymouth charter boat Sea Angler II, but the forecast was just that bit too fresh to get out. It's a real shame - Malcolm rang me on his way back from sea yesterday to say that they have a really good day, with plenty of good pollack up to about 15lbs, and masses of launce around for bait. We are going to try again this Tuesday. If you want to spend a day at sea with one of the nicest guys you could hope to meet, book Malcolm up for some fishing. The photo above is Malcolm at the wheel of his boat, just passing by Plymouth breakwater.

  • Bright and early tomorrow morning I head up to photograph some fly fishing for pike up on Chew reservoir with Nick Hart and Wayne Thomas from North Devon. Wayne is a seriously good all round angler and it is always a blast going out with these guys - Wayne recently landed some seriously good pike up on Chew, check here for details. And if the pike don't want to play ball, then it is a very good time for trout up there.

  • Hopefully the weather holds for Tuesday out at sea with Malcolm, and then on Wednesday I am back out with Nick Hart to try and photograph one of stunning local rivers for the wild browns and grayling. I simply love this style of fishing and photography. In less than a month, Nick and I are heading out to Montana and both of us are in a complete state of over excitement about it. Fly fishing for wild trout is surely one of the best things on earth, and I get a huge kick out of photographing it.

  • I heard of a stunning 9lb plus bass taken on a lure from Jersey waters, on Saturday I believe - that is a proper fish and the angler deserves all credit, especially as he released the fish unharmed. I know the guy caught it on a Tide Minnow 145SLD lure that is apparently working well over there at the moment. A tricky lure to get hold of, but you can get them here. If they work in the Channel Islands, you can bet your life they'll smash fish over here as well. Good to hear that the guy concerned took the fish on his new Tenryu rod (a Rod Bar Model 240 I believe) - these red devils are starting a mini-revolution in top end bass fishing, so check them out here.

Friday, 16 May 2008

At least I christened my new rod....

  • I had to make a decision this morning - stay here and work, or head out fishing for a few hours. Not a tough one. Flat calm conditions, hardly a breath of wind, overcast, and good water clarity - any breeze there was seemed to be variable at best. Seemed pretty good for a bash with the bass lures and my new Tenyru plugging rod.

  • It all felt pretty good when I saw a nice shoal of sandeels moving into a gully just after low water, and I also saw a decent fish jump right out of the water - a sea trout I am presuming, as it was not a bass. I also saw a fish or two down deep which I am sure were pollack. It is amazing how much more you see with polarised sunglasses, even when it is overcast like it was this morning. In my opinion, Maui Jim make the best ones in the world - worth every single penny. They are as vital as a good rod and reel.

  • Anyway, about two hours up I finally got hit by a fish, but pretty quickly I could tell it was not a bass, and also that it was hardly about to test the new rod to the max. But at least it was a fish, albeit a small pollack - see the photo above. It went back fine. I carried on for a bit, but saw not a sniff of a bass.

  • But my Tenyru rod has at last been christened !! The more I use this rod, the more I am realising just how good it is for our bass fishing - I seriously can not believe how effortlessly it chucks lures out there, indeed I am actually backing off the power in my casting because the rod works more efficiently like that. I stand by everything I said about the rod the other day, check here for that review. The accuracy with which you can deliver lures, and the lack of effort it requires to work them properly makes fishing with it a complete joy. The less tiring it is to work lures properly, the longer you will work them more efficiently. If you are after what I believe is the ultimate bass plugging rod, check here on where to get one (or two or three !!). This one rod has forever changed my opinion on what makes a good plugging rod - and note the word plugging, not spinning. They are two completely different things.

  • The lure that caught the pollack was none other than the ever faithful Maria Chase BW in holographic silver. I love watching this thing "swimming" in the water and I feel very confident every time I fish with it. Get these lures here. Now for some bass please.......

  • Another top extreme music tip here - get the new Deicide album, Til Death do us Part. For years these guys have been at the forefront of death metal, with various ups and downs along the way, but this new album is a savage classic. I saw these guys live when they toured their first ever album and they ripped big time back then. Good to hear that they have kept the insanity going for all these years !! What an awesome CD to write a fishing feature to.......

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Out at sea

  • Above is the intro page of the May edition of the Hardy and Greys online magazine, Fin & Fly - it is a photo of mine from Rost in Norway. I deliberately used the amazing clouds to fill the frame and allow plenty of room for this kind of use. Check my latest Fin & Fly feature out here. What a place Rost and the surrounding waters are, and the fishing is going off big time right now. I have heard that they are catching lots of big halibut, including some 200lb plus monsters, plus stacks of big cod and coalfish. Yes, this area costs more than the cheaper "package-style" pirking for cod areas further up north, but you get what you pay for - the areas around Rost in my mind offer some of the best boat fishing in Europe. Check here for the best guiding operation there is up there, and the guys come extremely highly recommended by me.

  • I have actually just heard that Per Jonasson, the guide who worked with us up there last summer for the big coalfish on the fly, has put one of his clients onto a new world record halibut, see here for full details. That is some fish !! I told you these guys were good. You get what you pay for in fishing. See my photos from that trip last year here.

  • My mate Malcolm Jones rang me yesterday to tell me all about the great boat fishing he has been putting his customers over out of my home port of Plymouth. The recent good weather has given them a real boost, and they have been smashing good numbers of big pollack to about 18lbs on live launce. This is one of favourite forms of fishing, for you can scale right down and really have a blast with them when they crash dive. I reckon this is one situation when the US style gear I talked about the other day would work well (scroll down the blog). I see no reason why a decent spinning reel and a good spinning rod would not work well. I have landed coalfish to 35lbs on this kind of gear over in Norway, plus big cod, so of course it will work well here. My rod of choice for this is the stunning Greys Missionary 6 30-100g spinning rod.

  • Malcolm's boat is called Sea Angler II, and he is one of the best charter skippers around, plus a thoroughly nice guy into the bargain. A day's fishing with Malcolm is always a serious pleasure, so get in touch here. He also makes a blinding cup of tea or coffee !!

  • I am not heading over to Norway to photograph the pike fishing, for my contact has just told me that the weather has suddenly turned and messed their fishing up, so I guess it will be next year. A real shame as I so wanted to see this fishing. My contact over there is a mad keen angler with a world of experience, and he also happens to be the drummer for one of Norway's best extreme metal bands, Enslaved. Check out some tracks here. This is one seriously awesome band, and I can't wait to hear their new album due out later this year. I would never have come across places like Rost if it was not for Cato Bekkevold - how perfect is that ? A proper mix of fishing and metal. A seriously nice guy, an awesomely talented drummer, and a complete fishing junkie. I photographed Enslaved a while ago when they were playing a gig in London, shooting for Metal Hammer magazine - they blew the other bands off the stage. Scroll to the bottom of this page to see them in action, with some photos of Cato in action as well. Now if this isn't a cool way to slip extreme metal into a fishing blog then I don't know what is !! You have to give me some credit here.......

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Catalogue cover

  • I got hold of a copy of the new Veals 2008 Bass catalogue today, with a photo of mine on the cover, and plenty more inside. I really like the choice of photo as it works well for the landscape format of the catalogue. And there is a huge amount of bass fishing tackle inside - check out their mail order website here. These are the guys I get my much loved Maria Chase lures from.

  • A couple of friends of mine had an incredible catch of 19 small-eyed rays the other night off a rock mark in North Cornwall. The rays may have been of no great size, but that is incredible shore fishing in anybody's book. I have always had a soft spot for small-eyed ray fishing, and one of my favourite marks of all time has to be the well known Skate Rock close to Treyarnon Bay in Cornwall. I used to spend a lot of time up there and we had some awesome fishing over the years. I have sensed a bit of a revival in the numbers of rays around over the last few years, and I hope it continues.

  • Check out a plaice fishing feature of mine in the new issue of Sea Angler, on pages 120, 121, 122 and 124. Whilst they are not exactly the most "explosive" of fish to catch, there is something very special about seeing these flatfish.

  • With the current explosion in light tackle bass fishing interest, I am really glad to see that Mel Russ (Sea Angler editor) has gone and "discovered" the delights of fishing with surface lures. I note that he was fishing with one of Ireland's top bass anglers, John Hall. Check out some stuff I did with John a few years ago, click here. Little can beat fishing with topwater lures anywhere in the world.

  • There are a bunch of my photos in the current issue of Trout Fisherman, check out pages 42, 43, 44, 45 and 46. Words are by Nick Hart.

  • Anyway, enough about fishing. How about a bit more metal ? Anybody who has been into metal long enough to witness the "birth" of thrash metal will have several Testament CDs in their collection. And they are back with a stunning new album called The Formation of Damnation, check here for a few samples.

  • If you do not have Slayer's historical album Reign in Blood in your thrash metal collection, then please leave the building and close the door. I will never forget listening to that album for the first time, and back then I believe I bought it on vinyl. I would argue that nobody has ever bettered it as a pure thrash metal release. Yes, of course, it's in my top five of all time.

  • All we need now is for the (once) mighty Metallica to release an album that can come close to their first three masterpieces. What on earth happened to these guys and their recent output ? Go back and listen to the awesome Master of Puppets to see just how good they once were. I don't own any of their CDs after the Black album, and even that I rate as somewhat suspect.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Learning more about fishing

  • What awesome weather to get back to - summer is properly here now. Out come the shorts !! I love my trips overseas, but nothing beats getting home and seeing the family. I had a great trip to the Keys and I learnt more than I could possibly imagine - one of the real advantages to travelling for my work is the chance to see so many different kinds of fishing and fishing methods. I like to and need to keep learning all the time. This trip to the Keys has really made me think hard about the different kinds of rods and reels we use for our fishing, and especially the strength of modern spinning (fixed spool) reels. What we can do with these kinds of reels now is amazing, indeed here in the UK I reckon we have a lot to learn about where to use them.

  • Take the reels in the photo above. The new Fin-Nor Offshore Spinning reels are only around $160, yet they offer insane levels of power and huge line capacities. Plenty of guys use them for smashing huge tarpon and also various kinds of big fish sport both inshore and offshore. Don't get me wrong, I love using multipliers (called conventional reels in the US), but more so I am seeing just how stable and efficient it is to fight big fish with a decent spinning reel. The kinds of spinning and conventional inshore and offshore rods you can get in the US cover a huge range of fishing, from the largemouth bass up to and beyond species like amberjack and tuna. I reckon the Fin-Nor 65 Offshore reel is an incredible bit of kit for the money. Simple, strong, reliable and designed to beast big fish.

  • If I simply stood still and did the same things all the time, I would get nowhere with my working in fishing, and my own interest would begin to wane. I don't care if it happens to be on my doorstep or thousands of miles away - doing different things in fishing is vital to me and I am going to keep embracing change and adaptation as much as I can. Take the two guys I was out in Florida with, Scott and John - both of them think nothing of going bass fishing one day, then trout fishing the next, and then say barbel fishing after that. True all rounders, very good anglers as a result, and a complete blast to spend time with. I hear they have been catching some more big tarpon, Goliath groupers, wahoo and amberjack after I left, so well done guys. Rodney Goodship of Fish the Dream is a true gent and puts his clients over some outrageous fishing. Get out there as soon as you can. You would be surprised at just how cost effective this world class fishing can be.
  • Here is Rodney with that tarpon I photographed the other day. Words really can not do justice to how special these fish are, but you would be surprised at how relatively light you can fish for them. It is not only the power of the fish that tends to smash you up, rather the places you fish for them - big fish around bridges and structure are a handful, plain and simple. We were using mainly US style spinning rods, rated for lines up to 30lbs, with those Fin-Nor Offshore 65 spinning reels and 0.50mm/30lb line. Next time I am going to change over to 50lb braid for them - my dream would be to use a Shimano Stella 8000FA for this kind of fishing, but we shall see. I did meet a local guide who uses a Stella 5000 and a light kind of inshore spinning rod for his tarpon fishing, but he has been doing it all his life. I'm not quite there yet !!

  • And another good thing about going away is that I usually come back to a CD or two that I have ordered - if metal is your thing (and it should be !!), you seriously need to check out the new album from the Greek band Septic Flesh, called Communion. Listen to a few tracks here. This is awesome metal, nearly up to the standards of the other mighty Greek band, Rotting Christ - naturally you have noted that they released my favourite album of last year, see here.

  • If you have been into extreme metal for ages, you will have known all about an incredible old band called Exhorder - they released two outstanding albums, "Slaughter in the Vatican" and "The Law", and then promptly spilt up. I personally reckon Exhorder were a better band than Pantera ever were, so it is with great joy that I recently heard about Exhorder getting back together to tour and record. This is seriously exciting news. But not quite as monumental as the mighty Immortal reforming last year - you don't know how much I am looking forward to them releasing another CD, although how they could possibly better one of my top five albums of all time is going to be tough. "Sons of Northern Darkness" should be in every single metal fan's collection.

  • I have just heard that the winds have shifted around in Norway, and that has put the pike down a bit - if it all comes right, I head over to take photos, and if it doesn't, then there is always next year......

Friday, 9 May 2008

Last gasp tarpon in the boat

  • Around 5.30am this morning, Scott hooked a good tarpon down at Seven Mile bridge, and this fish decided to indulge us and head for open water - after giving us a few nightmares around the bridge pylons of course. I have to admit to being a nervous wreck through the whole fight, but Scott did so well, and Rodney did exactly what was needed with the boat.

  • And we got it !! Success is sweet, well done to Scott for hanging on for over an hour to tame this magnificent tarpon, around 100lbs we reckon. Rodney did a great job on the leader as the fish finally came close enough to the boat to grab, and after a very quick couple of photos we managed to slip him back unharmed. What a great end to my few days to be able to grab a few proper tarpon photos - the fish did me good and proper this year, but that is tarpon fishing. You had to see the power the fish above had this morning to understand how incredible this fishing is.

  • Scott described it well this morning - this is world class fishing for a world class fish, but at sensible money. Come out and do this Florida Keys stuff if you can, and contact Rodney Goodship of Fish the Dream to do it. I can not recommend the whole set-up wholeheartedly enough.

  • Anyway, I am just off to Miami airport now to head home - hope the bass are in and feeding now !! There is actually a high chance that I am heading out to Norway next week to photograph some insane shallow water pike fishing, but that very much depends on day to day conditions. Already they have had pike to 25lbs in a metre of water, on a surface fly. Too much to do, too little time......

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Chewed up and spat out - part 2

  • I have rarely had fishing kick me so hard - the Florida Keys have decided this year to teach me a lesson !! We headed down to the Bahia Honda bridge today, a place stacked full of tarpon that feed throughout the day because of the deeper water under the road bridge. But the trade off is that Bahia Honda is an extremely difficult place to actually land the tarpon. These mighty fish might well be hungry, but nine times out of ten they head straight for the various line-busting structures that festoon this area and smash you up with a scary degree of ease. With a fish this powerful there is simply nothing you can do to stop them - ok, so we have been losing some good fish this week, but big powerful fish that want to make your life hell are going to from time to time. It's one of the main reasons we keep coming back for more......

  • Check out the photo above for the kind of tarpon fishing that goes on down at Bahia Honda - hook the fish, fight it hard, trust your skipper to be able to weave in and out of the pylons, and hope to hell that the fish doesn't do you in. But tarpon are not the silver kings for nothing.

  • I got done four times today - and I mean done properly. On one fish the hook simply pulled, on another the leader parted, and on two others the mainline parted like a rifle shot on the running fish. I wish I knew why the mainline parted, but that is fishing I guess. On at least one fish I felt I had the upper hand from the first minute, but of course that was simply false hope - this is tarpon fishing after all. I am totally in awe of these fish and it seems like a long time ago now that I did actually successfully land one of nearly 150lbs up at Islamorada. The soothing fog of distant memories !!

  • Scott came the closest today, on a really big 150lb plus fish that hit him hard, ran around some structure, came free with some seriously excellent boat manoeuvring by Rodney, and then snorted out into the bay to do its stuff. After about half an hour we thought that this fish might well be ours, but the brute decided to edge its way back to the bridge. Scott did all be could to turn the fish (check the photo below), but suddenly it ran straight for one of the pylons and broke the line. I say it again - you simply can not stop these fish if they want to run. You simply have to hope that they run into clear water. To say we were gutted would be nowhere close to how beaten up we feel at the moment. John also got done a couple of times on structure. This is some of the most exciting fishing on earth, and the levels of sport are incredibly consistent in the Keys - each year the huge numbers of migrating tarpon offer months of extreme sport fishing to countless anglers. Get yourself out here as soon as you can - contact Rodney Goodship here.
  • I am flying back to the UK tomorrow, but the timings allow me time to have one more crack at the tarpon in the morning. After that I head off to Miami airport to catch an overnight flight back to Heathrow. I hear that the weather is still great, so save some for me please. I can't wait to see my wife, two daughters and of course my sheepdog Jess. The UK in summer is a very special place - hopefully there will be a few bass around. Huge thanks to Rodney, John Aplin and Scott Rice for having me along on this trip, I have had a blast - and it ain't over yet. Tomorrow is always another day........

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Bow to the silver king

  • Around first light this morning, John hooked a steam train of a tarpon on a live crab. I reckon the fish jumped six feet out of the air within seconds of being hooked - every single time I see these fish I am reminded of just how seriously awesome they are. The silver king kicks you hard from time to time, but to see one close to the boat is something you can never forget. Rodney managed to grab the leader and I was just about to rattle off a few frames when the line broke and the huge fish powered away. It counts as a caught fish over here, but I didn't get the photos I was after. But I got a very cool wide shot of John playing his fish, with the tarpon jumping clear of the water as the sun was rising - see above. Rodney put the tarpon at around 150lbs, so it was a proper fish. John played it perfectly. What a result after yesterday's kicking.

  • I got a couple of half-takes, when the fish hits the crab yet the line does not tighten up enough to go for a proper strike. I did hit one of the bites just as the tarpon let go of the bait, but the moment I did so I realised my mistake.

  • And then we went after some permit again - and I broke my duck. Once again we lost a few good fish to sharks and breakages, and I was heartbroken when my 50lb braid suddenly broke right on the tip ring as a nice permit snorted off. Stupid of me really, I should have checked the rings before fishing, as after the breakage I found a damaged tip eye that had caused the line to snap.

  • But take a look at Rodney holding my first ever permit below. Over 20lbs of prime Keys permit, taken on a freelined live crab fished behind the boat. This fish ripped off so fast a couple of times during the fight, to the point where I reckon smoke had to be coming from the reel !! Their pace is off the scale - how does this fish move so fast and so powerfully ? I can quite see why some fly fishermen dedicate their lives to nailing these spooky fish on the flats. Permit are such pretty fish and it happened so fast today that I am not really sure I took it all in. Guess I'll have to try and catch a few more.

  • There were a couple of sharks landed today as well, including a nice blacktip of around 60lbs that put on a serious turn of speed when it picked up the bait. These blacktips create mayhem close to the boat, but both were successfully unhooked and released. We also saw some proper barracuda around the boat at one point, but they refused the livebaits.
  • I hear the weather has been nice and warm back home, so hopefully this might do some good on the bass fishing front. I am having a blast out here, but I can't wait to get back and see my family, plus head out plugging of course. I need to go and use that new Tenryu rod of mine again. I have found a couple of really interesting looking lures out here that I reckon might do nicely for bass, so yet again I have added to my collection.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Chewed up and spat out

  • Today was one of those days when fishing decided to show us just who the boss is - we got torn to pieces by big fish all day long. We have returned this evening with bruised bodies and shattered egos. It started at just after 5am when Scott hooked a really big tarpon under Seven Mile bridge, and then for over an hour he played it really well, almost to the point where it was time to grab the leader. You can see Scott playing the fish above. But tarpon are not one of the world's ultimate game species for nothing, and right at the last minute the fish took off on a huge long run and smashed Scott up on the bridge. Gutted. John then had a good bite on live crab but did not connect. Back for breakfast and a regroup. 1-0 to the fish.

  • Later on this morning we headed out to a wreck to try for permit and amberjack, and the fish were on the feed. I have never fished for permit and was dying to hook one. I have seen one hooked on the flats on fly, and I have seen the Indo Pacific variety on the flats in the Seychelles refusing flies, but I have never fished for them myself. Down goes a live crab on 50lb braid and a very tight drag. A few minutes later and I get a gentle kind of bite, but after I strike it, all hell lets loose. Within five seconds of hooking this permit I can see what all the fuss is about - they are awesome fish. Their turn of speed is insane, in fact I have rarely seen a fish take off so fast against a seriously tight drag. And of course the fish went and did me like a kipper. OK, so it isn't fly fishing for them, but this way of fishing for them is serious fun. 2-0 to the fish.
  • John meanwhile has dropped a live pinfish down to the wreck on 80lb braid and a proper boat rod and reel. Above you can see what happened about five minutes after he put the bait close to the wreck - that drag is wound down as tight as it will go, I could hardly pull line off it myself, but the amberjack ripped him up big time. Look at how much pressure John is putting on the fish, but still he never stood a chance as it powered back to the wreck. The power level of this fish is simply impossible to describe. 3-0 to the fish.

  • I then get done by another big permit - I wound my drag up even tighter, but still I could not stop the fish reaching the wreck and cutting me off. I am ashamed at my language when I lost that second permit !! I abused that fish, and still he did me good and proper. 4-0 to the fish and we are starting to wonder what on earth is going on here.

  • John is next to be ripped up by a good permit, and by this time his body is suffering a little bit after getting abused so badly by the amberjack. 5-0 to the fish. We are bleeding here.

  • We make a move to a different mark, and the permit are there as well. Sometimes you can see them swimming around, and Scott hooks up on a small jig baited with prawn. Things are going really well and the fish eventually begins to tire. This is it, nearly over, time for some photos of a fish I have wanted to see for ages. But then the permit suddenly charges to the surface with a number of sharks in hot pursuit, and then these sharks tear into the unfortunate fish and rip it to pieces in a complete frenzy. Seriously gutted. 6-0 to the fish. Pain time.

  • I rush to change over to a little wire trace and a bit of cut fish bait, and within a few seconds one of the smaller sharks hits my bait and I set the hooks. The shark charges off and promptly bites through my wire trace. 7-0 to the fish and we head for home - broken, damaged, sore and humbled. What an incredible day. What else can humble like fishing ?

  • The Florida Keys are insane. I know of no more cost effective way to get at this world class fishing than to get in touch with Rodney Goodship of Fish the Dream and book some time out here. We simply have no fish in the UK that fight anywhere close to species such as tarpon, permit and amberjack. Tomorrow is another day.

Sunday, 4 May 2008

Goliath grouper - awesome fish

  • We had a good flight out to Miami and got down to the Keys yesterday evening, after stopping at the vast Bass Pro store in Islamorada of course - all anglers love monster tackle shops, whether we like to admit it or not. I was actually very restrained. The fishing has been good out here, and it was great to catch up with Rodney and Helen Goodship of Fish the Dream. Rodney runs a fantastic guiding operation out here and he is heavily booked up with returning clients. His boat is always immaculate and I really enjoy fishing with him.

  • I am fishing and photographing with two thoroughly nice guys from the west country, John Aplin and Scott Rice - Scott got married only a couple of weeks ago, so well done him for going fishing so soon !! These guys have caught some really large tarpon between them, so it should be a blast.

  • Anyway, the fishing today has been pretty good - but quiet on the tarpon first thing when we headed out at 5am to fish until just after first light down at Seven Mile bridge. We saw a few guys hooked into some nice tarpon, but we got skunked. But after that we headed out into the gulf and anchored a small wreck in only four metres of water, and proceeded to smash a few of these awesome goliath groupers. Above you can see the kind of grief you have to give these fish if you are going to stand any chance of pulling them away from sanctuary. They are immense, and I can't get over the fact that so many fish like this can live in such shallow water.

  • We got goliaths to about 80lbs to the side of the boat, but a couple of fish were simply too powerful and managed to reach the wreck. Great fun for us, but bear in mind that these are small fish - these monster grouper can weigh many hundreds of pounds, and whilst you are allowed to fish for them, they must all be released. These magnificent fish were close to being wiped out some time ago, but the US authorities brought in very serious recovery measures to protect them and the stocks are now flourishing. How cool is that ? I only wish these kinds of measures would be taken for our own bass stocks........

  • Above you can see Rodney tackling with one of the groupers as he works on getting the big 20/0 circle hook out of the scissors - yes, you read that right, a 20/0 circle hook !! Big fish, big hooks, and big baits - stand up rods and 80lb braid as well. You have to give these fish proper grief on heavy gear.

  • Look at the mouth below, and feel for any poor fish coming too close to the wreck we fished - it's like looking into an abyss when you stare down their throats. Imagine one of these fish at over 500lbs. We are heading out very early tomorrow morning to catch a different tide for the tarpon and I can't wait. Drifting live crabs back between the bridge gaps is seriously exciting, especially when you get hit. They are explosive fish, and there are few better places in the world to smash large tarpon than out here in the Keys. It really gets to me every time I come out here just how many people fish down here, and just how the whole local economy is essentially based around sport fishing. Give anglers lots of good fish to catch and they will spend what it takes to do it.

Friday, 2 May 2008

Off to the Florida Keys

  • Above is a photo of Nick Hart playing a nice brown trout on Colliford reservoir up on the wild and windswept Bodmin Moor in Cornwall - what the photo does not properly show is just how torrential that rain really is. Anybody who was driving past must have thought we were complete nutters. Nick for fishing and me for photographing from under a blue and white golfing umbrella - try it sometime, it is not easy adjusting a camera around the handle of an umbrella stuffed down the front of a Greys GRXi wading jacket, but the material we came away with made the extra effort all worthwhile. That wading jacket is one of my favourite ever bits of fishing clothing. Decent waterproofs are vital for this kind of work - check out the Hardy EWS stuff that Nick was wearing here. Below is one of the stunning brown trout that Nick landed while we were shooting the feature for Trout Fisherman magazine. Check out a bunch of my photos in the current edition on pages 42, 43, 44, 45 and 46.

  • I have now seen my east coast Canada feature in the current Fieldsports magazine and I am over the moon with how they have made the piece look. As well as the cover (check here), have a look at pages 114, 115, 116, 117, 118 and 119 for the full article. Those blue skies are as good as I remember them being. You need to go and do this sight fishing for Atlantic salmon, so talk to Aardvark McLeod about a trip out to the east coast of Canada.
  • Anyway, I had better finish packing for my trip out to the US - I fly tomorrow morning with Virgin Atlantic over to Miami and then catch a lift down to Rodney's place in Marathon. Rodney runs a hell of a good guiding operation out there, at seriously reasonable prices, so check out what he does and book a trip for yourself. The Keys are an amazing place and I hear the tarpon are in full feeding mode. Stay that way for my few days please.

  • I will do my best to keep this blog updated through the week that I am in the Keys, hopefully with shots and stories of suitably serious fish. Last year I got mostly torn to pieces by big tarpon, so this year it's payback time. Rodney is a master at finding these awesome fish and I can't wait to get back out there.

  • I hope any tackle tarts among you found the review of my new bass plugging rod from Tenyru to be of help - granted, not to the bank balance, but most definitely in the ability to fish more effectively with lures that this outrageous rod gives you. Roll on the red devil. I am rather hoping that when I get back from the Keys the bass have moved in properly and are wanting to play serious ball with my ever expanding lure collection. I think I once said that I did not consider myself to be a tackle junkie........

Thursday, 1 May 2008

I have finally found my bass rod......

  • Anybody who has followed this blog for a while will know that I have been searching for my ultimate bass fishing rod, and today I can announce that my looking is over - the plugging rod I have here now is as good as it is ever going to get, and I am completely over the moon with it. Very light to hold, lightening fast to cast and fish with, and actually designed for bass fishing, not just spinning - believe me, there is a big difference when you finally get to fish with a rod like this one. It is quite simply the most stunning rod that I have ever picked up. I have taken it out for a proper thrashing and this is the one I have been looking for. How can a grown man get so excited by a fishing rod ?

  • The Tenryu "Red Dragon Express" is designed by the most technically advanced bass anglers in Europe today, the French, and then made in Japan. The kind of modern bass fishing that goes on in France is something we should all be learning from and some of the rods, lures and techniques they are using simply blow us away. The Tenryu rod I have here is 2.9m long (nearly 10') and is rated to fish with lures of 20-60g - there are plenty of Tenryu models available, but you will not find them for sale in the UK. Check here for a specialist Jersey fishing tackle shop that stocks the rods, and these guys seriously know their modern bass fishing. Give them a shout and ask about the awesome Tenyru range of bass rods. You also need to speak to them about their range of bass lures, some of which I have never even seen or heard of before. Nothing ever beats speaking with anglers who use the products they are selling.

  • But why is this Tenyru rod so special ? The fact that it has been designed to fish with lures for bass is vital here, for mostly we are using regular spinning rods that we press into service for bass fishing. Don't get me wrong, plenty of spinning rods out there will do just fine for bassing (like the one I spoke about the other day, see here), but take it from me, when you pick up and fish with a purpose-built modern bass rod like this one, the difference is staggering. This Tenryu has a lightening fast action and casts lures like proverbial bullets - but the casting is almost secondary to the ease with which you can now work surface and sub-surface lures. For ages I have been looking for a very stiff, ultra-fast actioned rod for my bass fishing, not because I catch loads of big bass (I wish !!), but because it is so much easier and more efficient to work these modern lures we use with an ultra-fast, purpose designed rod. I cast various lures today as far as I could, mainly to see just how well the rod could work them at range, and my jaw nearly hit the rock on which I was standing. Firstly, the lures went further than I have ever seen, with less effort, and then talk about an instant pick up. Because the tip does not collapse into the retrieve, the amount of rod tip movement you have to impart to get surface lures to work properly is a lot less. And I mean a lot less. Getting a lure to walk the dog at extreme range has suddenly become a whole lot easier. Working poppers all the way in has become really very easy indeed. Actually making surface lures work properly at range is vital if you are trying to cover lots of ground, and now I feel I can do it very effectively. It would be a waste of time fishing with a specialist rod like this if you don't use braid as your mainline. It is also very easy to fish lures very accurately at close range into gullies and holes, with no more than a flick of this incredible rod. Overall I feel that I am fishing that bit more efficiently, and that extra boost of confidence can not be measured.

  • It's hard to put into words just how different this Tenryu rod is when compared to our "normal" UK spinning rods - I had a feeling when I first picked it up that it was something special, but you can't feel just how good it is until you take it fishing. I like the red colour of the rod and the lightweight Fuji rings. The reelseat works great and is very comfortable to fish with for long periods. The butt cap is even made of tough rubber so that you won't trash it if you tend to use the bottom of your rod as a wading stick. Overall the build quality is excellent. I now know exactly what I have been missing in my bass fishing.

  • But there is a downside, and that is that a rod like this costs a fair bit. I know plenty of anglers will throw their arms up and refuse to even contemplate spending serious money on a "spinning" rod, but then this is not just a spinning rod. I also know that a number of anglers will happily spend what it takes to get the tools they want for their fishing. This Tenryu bass rod I have here is as specialist as a top-end fly rod or beachcaster, so in my mind it is worth every single penny. If bass fishing is seriously your thing, check these Tenyru rods out. I hear that the Rod Bar Model 270 is a seriously special bit of kit as well. There are also various Tenryu rods that work very well for bassing off boats. I have a feeling that these outrageous red rods are going to catch on among the bassing community over here.

  • I was out yesterday photographing a fly fishing feature with Nick Hart, and we had an awesome time, with Nick catching come stunning brown trout from Colliford reservoir up on Bodmin Moor. Some of the rain we had was off the scale, but we got the job done - I have developed a technique of jamming a big golf umbrella down through my wading jacket and then taking photos from underneath. It actually works really well. If I have time I will post a few shots on this blog tomorrow.

  • I have to pack some things together now for my trip to the Florida Keys. I am heading out to stay and fish with Rodney Goodship who runs the excellent guiding operation Fish the Dream, check here for full details. I fly on Saturday and return a week later, hopefully after tangling with some suitably large tarpon. Bring it on as they say !! I should be able to keep the blog updated while I am out there.

  • Oh, and I blanked again for bass this morning - conditions seemed pretty good, but the water was a little coloured up. I felt really confident of seeing a fish though, but at least I got to thrash this new rod of mine and fall in love with it. If you ever see a flash of red lightening out on the coast, it is most likely me hurling another lure out there with my Tenryu !! I am not a technical angler, but I have found the ultimate bass rod.