Saturday, 30 August 2008

It's perfect weather for fishing.......

  • .......and I can't go. Light onshore winds, building spring tides, it's been settled all week, this is the time to get out and smash some decent fish. But I am babysitting my two young girls as my wife is has not been well at all and needs to be in bed to rest up - don't let anybody ever tell you that changing nappies is easy, because it isn't. Take it from me, I've got first hand experience at the moment. Changing nappies takes great strength of character, plus something to wrap around your nose to kill the smell and stop the gagging. My wife is on the mend thankfully. Fishing is naturally out of the window at the moment. I reckon a certain mark I know of would have worked incredibly well today for a bit of plugging for bass...........oh well, another day. I'd far rather be changing nappies on my youngest ?
  • I took a few photos on Thursday afternoon of some light tackle freelining for bass just outside of the stunning Erme estuary here in south Devon. We spend lots of time on the beach down here with the family when the sun is out, but to head out of the shallow estuary on a boat was a real treat. If I could have a house overlooking this place I would never leave, it is that special, and it is rare to see many people around here. Above are the guys loading up the tender before heading out.

  • Here's bass fanatic Nick Oatway freelining with live sandeel for bass - you can see how close to shore we were fishing, and it was a perfect afternoon's fishing. We had plenty of fish, including a fair few bass to around 3lbs, and lots of pollack that hit the eels hard and stayed typically deep. The guys have had some big bass around here in the past and the fishing just gets better as the year goes on - we have plans to do this again closer to winter when they fish in a very particular way for some big bass. If I get to do it, you'll see the results here in due course.

  • This is Fraser Sanderson with one of the bass that was caught on live sandeel - I am going to have to admit here to catching plenty of pollack myself, but not one bass to my rod. There's always next time though. Light tackle fishing is the way forward in my book - you simply can not beat a balanced fishing outfit being put through its paces by fighting fish.

  • Anyway, my sheepdog Jess had her stitches out on Friday morning, and we are allowed to give her progressively more exercise until her paw is fully healed. So, this morning I'm walking Jess and my two girls in the park when my mobile goes - it's Rob Yorke ringing to tell me about some fantastic ray fishing they had last night off some undisclosed rock mark. Rob caught and released a 16lb plus blonde ray, and was done properly by a bigger fish, and James Langdon caught some double figure small-eyed rays in the same session. Did I want to head out tonight to see if the rays were still around ? Perfect weather and tides, they've got loads of bait, what about meeting up at around 8pm ? Yeah, I'd love to Rob, but I've got a slight problem this end - I'm babysitting. What was that snigger I heard ? Gutted ? No, never, you go right ahead and smash a load more for me, I'd hate to get photos of big blondes off the shore !! No worries Rob, I'm changing nappies this end, seriously, it's a blast - I know you were really good at them in the past !!

  • I'm off to the east coast of Canada early on Tuesday morning, so while the kids are asleep I had better get myself sorted for this one. I will be taking a load of camera gear to get as many different shots as I can - it could be a really special few days. I'll do my best to keep the blog updated as we go along, hopefully with some photos of some decent Atlantic salmon and awesome locations.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Epic wrasse fishing

  • I shot a load of wrasse fishing photos yesterday with predator specialist Danny Parkins - he is a fantastic angler and can easily turn his hand to most kinds of fishing, and the wrassing yesterday was out of this world. We even got a drop of sunshine as well to make the day really special. Thanks Danny, it was a blast to fish and photograph with you again - I am really looking forward to nailing a few pike and chub together this winter. The thing I most enjoy about my job is meeting so many different anglers from all walks of life, all with fishing on the brain. None of us are hugely different, we are all fishing junkies and can't get enough of it.
  • Danny had a wrasse bite on virtually every single drop down, and while a lot of the fish were small to medium size, a few proper ones turned up and were duly photographed and then returned. Above is Danny winching a decent fish out of the water on his Shimano 50-100g spinning rod - there is simply no need for any heavier gear, and on this set up the fish are such fun. More people should go wrassing.

  • Here's Danny above with one of the last fish of the session, a cracking wrasse that fell to bottom fished ragworm right beneath his feet. The location was fantastic, a proper climb up and down, tucked right of the way and no doubt a prolific winter cod mark as well when the conditions are right. You can check out Danny's own blog here. He is a seriously accomplished predator angler, and lures are his speciality.

  • The secret with wrasse fishing is to strike the bite and start pumping the fish up all in one movement, for they are devils at crashing back into a rocky sanctuary. Danny was using 30lb braid mainline on his Shimano Stradic spinning reel and it worked great. Keep the end gear very simple - a hook and a weight, possibly a 3-way swivel, that is all you need.

  • I will always have a particular soft spot for wrasse, it was the first sea fish I ever caught, and I love the fact that they can be so obliging yet also frustrating at the same time. Seeking out big wrasse is a really specialist thing and I know Danny and his dad landed some really big ones a few weeks ago from the same place. But then he didn't do badly yesterday !! Look at the lips and jaws on this thing - easy to see just how they smash crabs and limpets to pieces.

  • I am out later on today photographing some light tackle boat fishing for bass around a quiet part of my local south Devon coastline - please sun, come out and play for us. It should be a blast, and they had a few nice ones last week. I might even take a few lures along and see what I can do, in between taking photos of course.

  • Make sure to check out Nick Hart's blog where you can find details of his Open Day this coming Saturday - it will be a great day out, and you might even win an outstanding Hardy Demon fly rod worth around £290 - can't be bad !!

  • I know I bang on about the fishing over in Ireland a lot, but that is firstly because it is awesome, and secondly it is because I am head over heels in love with the country. But did you know that they have some fantastic shore fishing for cod during the winter months, along the south coast ? And you can even catch codling during summer off the deep water rock marks up and down the west coast, talk to these guys here and here for this. I am in the process of arranging a trip over there to photograph this fishing, hopefully sometime during December, and you can also catch decent bass at the same time. That is my kind of fishing.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Lighter winds......

  • OK, so the skies may be grey, but at least the winds have eased off and are forecast to be fairly light for the rest of the week - here's hoping they stay that way !! I am off tomorrow morning to shoot a wrasse fishing feature off the shore, something I love doing - these scrappy fish have always been one of my favourite fish in the sea and I am hoping that a few nice ones might show themselves tomorrow.

  • Above is a photo of a wrasse that was taken on a bass lure last week out in Jersey, around the vast Minquiers reef system. The successful lure was the Duo Tide Minnow SLD-F, see here for where you can get them. The mind boggles at how good the wrassing must be out there - next time I am going to take a bucket of bait and a heavy spinning rod and have a proper go. I also heard about stingrays, blonde rays, tope, turbot, brill and of course serious bass fishing when it all comes good.

  • As you can probably tell, my one and a half days on the Minquiers really got to me in a big way - I find it incredibly reassuring that there are still truly wild and desolate places around the UK that can still be visited, that are away from roads, cars, mobile phones and other people. As I always say, fishing is arguably the world's greatest excuse for visiting cool places.

  • Then I am out on Thursday photographing some local bass fishing, the stuff that I was meant to be doing last week before all that rain killed it stone dead. I heard of a few fish over the weekend on live mackerel and sandeel, so it should be a bit of fun. I am really hoping that the sun comes out for this one as big blue skies on a boat really make things look a whole lot more impressive.

  • Above is Steve Mullins from Jersey, casting a plug off a remote sandbank that we dropped him off on out at the Minquiers. This expanse of sand only uncovers around low water and it looked awesome - I only wish I could get to the skies and photograph this kind of place from the air, then it would look how it should. That is the coastline of Jersey that you can just see in the background.

  • I heard of some really big bass from the south coast of Ireland recently, including a fish of just under 13lbs and another near 10lbs, all on lures. As to where, the bloke was not telling me, but once again it shows how productive this coastline can be when conditions are right. I am heading back out there in mid-September again, right after I get back from Canada, and I can't wait. I am even hearing rumours of an Indian summer...........
  • I am right in the middle of trying to clear a load of work before heading out to Canada next Tuesday morning, including the processing of all the photos I shot out in Jersey late last week. Above is the Minquiers just after low tide, early in the morning, and you can see just why this place is so revered for bass fishing - check out the mass of rocks, gullies and tide rips. At high tide there are nothing more than a few rocks poking their heads out. Boats beware !!

Monday, 25 August 2008

Back from Jersey

  • I got back into Plymouth airport late yesterday afternoon - it is so cool to be arriving back at my local airport instead of the more usual Heathrow, especially when my wife and two girls are there to pick me up. It is so easy to do this trip, and when time and weather allows I have every intention to head back out to Jersey to do a load more bass related stuff, plus of course get in amongst the excellent shore and other boat fishing. There is some great stuff over there, including big blondes, tope and bream from the boats. The Channel Islands are so accessible to many of us, and trips over there can be really cheap.

  • I am in serious debt to the people who went so far out their way to help me over in Jersey - a huge thanks to you all. This kind of trip just reaffirms to me just why fishing is the greatest sport on earth, for the people involved in it are without doubt the best there are. So many of the local anglers will do all they can to help visitors out. The buzz around modern bass fishing continues to grow.......

  • Above is Trevor Sangan with a nice bass that he caught late on Saturday evening - the fishing really picked up big time as that tide began to push hard, and we landed a few nice bass in amongst the rocks. But we then lost the light and had to run for home. Trevor is continuing to use and abuse the Tackle House Feed Shallow lure, indeed he had it virtually welded to the end of his line over in Ireland and he continues to smash bass with it back home. What a lure - it ain't cheap, but it works. You can get hold of them here. I would not head out lure fishing now without a couple in my box, I feel that confident with them - exactly like I do with the Maria Chase BW in the holo silver colour. To have a few lures you trust implicitly really gives my confidence levels an extra kick.

  • Here's a sight for the tackle junkies among you, and I include me here - a fistful of gorgeous red Tenyru rods. This brief trip visit back to Jersey really struck home to me how forward thinking a lot of these anglers are when it comes to their bass fishing. They are so close to the coast of France, and I know a lot of the bass fishing expertise over there travels across to Jersey, and the guys then mix and match it with their own fishing. It is easy to slate expensive gear as being too much when you haven't tried it, but when you start fishing with purpose designed and built bassing gear, it is a different world, and my eyes have really been opening up another notch this year.

  • I bought a bunch of bass lures from Mick, including two different sizes of the Duo Tide Minnow SLD-F, and some more Tackle House Feed Shallow lures. These shallow diving minnows have different actions under the water and they can both be lethal at times. I really like ultra-shallow diving minnows for a lot of bass fishing and I also have a problem with lures - many of you are suffering with this addiction, and some of us are going to have to seek help.

  • Sunday morning was like a different world - blowing a monster and lashing down with rain, but we managed to get out on the boats for a few hours in amongst the rocks where there was a bit of shelter. There was a real chop on the water and the light levels were very low, so I really fancied a popper might do the trick. It might only have been a small bass, but I nailed one on a Lucky Craft G-Splash popper right over a patch of rough ground. Trevor caught one as well, but we then ran back to port as the wind picked up even more. But within a couple of hours the sun was out and the wind had dropped down - by then though I was having to pack up and head for the airport.

  • I simply would not head out bass fishing any more without a lip-grab tool for holding onto the fish. I have not been spiked once this year because I can secure this tool onto the bottom lip of the fish and then keep it nice and relaxed in the water ready for some photos. The fish stays calm and comes to no harm, I get my shots, and then the bass goes back very strongly. I use the highly efficient Berkley Pistol Trigger Grip and it works perfectly every single time. More anglers should carry something like this - bass are spiky as hell, and it makes for far easier unhooking, recovery and then releasing if you can grip the fish safely and securely.

  • Here's a shot of the sun going down on the Minquiers from Friday evening - I put my rod and reel against the sky and shot a few frames just before the sun dipped below the horizon. Friday night was something seriously special and I feel so lucky to have visited a place like that. I will never forget that barbecue under the stars. Fishing and visiting wild, out of the way places really gets me going. Too much to do and too little time.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

The magic of the Minquiers

  • Our brief visit out to the vast Minquiers reef system was one of the most magical things I have ever done in my life. I love heading out to remote places, and to be able to fish these wild waters and then spend the night out there was seriously special. I want to say a huge thanks to the guys concerned before I go any further - it was a blast. The photo above is of some of the huts overlooking the moorings out there at first light this morning. What a view to wake up to, even if you are sharing a room with somebody who snores - no names shall be mentioned, but the clue is that he caught the sun big time yesterday. Check for the red face !! He might have a tackle shop that sells rather nice red rods and bass lures.......

  • The fishing was tough, but we saw a few bass and also some nice wrasse on the plugs. Mick and Simon did better on their RIB, and had a fair few bass up to about 4lbs. Below is Steve with one of the fish from yesterday that he took on a dark-backed silver Tackle House Feed Shallow. You can get these killers here. Steve lost a proper bass first thing this morning off the rocks. What awesome looking bass ground, kind of like you would want to show everybody as being completely typical of where bass like to be.

  • OK, so it would have been very cool if the fishing had been firing big time, but to be perfectly honest I was just happy to be seeing the Minquiers for the first time. It was a proper adventure, and I can't believe that somewhere like this exists so close to the UK. We arrived yesterday around the high water, and apart from a few big lumps of rock sticking out of the water, it looked fairly innocuous. But when that tide began to ebb, it was simply incredible what was uncovered - acres and acres of vicious rocks, sandbanks, gullies and serious tide tips. When this place fishes for bass it goes off big time. Yes, I will be back of course. Just being back in Jersey has got me seriously going again.

  • We fired up a barbecue last night and cooked up a proper feast, and then ate it under the stars with the sound of the sea for company. That is my kind of thing and I loved every single second of the experience. Sometimes a trip is a lot more than just the fishing, and this brief expedition was just that to me. A great bunch of guys, a magical place, perfect light and a few fish to boot. What more can one want ? Any more would just be greed (ok, so a 10lb plus bass would not go amiss).

  • Above is a shot of Trevor about to enter the most southerly loo in the UK. Yes, this particular throne is somewhat famous as being the last bastion for a decent evacuation before you hit the French mainland, and I had to get a few photos. Imagine needing to go during a proper winter storm !!

  • This is the style of bass fishing around much of Jersey - using small, mobile boats to get in really close to the rocks, gullies, gutters and tide rips, and then casting your plugs right in amongst it all. It is wildly exciting stuff and the gear the guys are using these days is a far cry from many years ago. There are some incredibly talented anglers over here.

  • I got the chance to play with a stunning new red rod from Tenryu that is purpose built for boat and kayak fishing with lures. Called the "Top Water", it is about 7' long and is incredibly powerful but eerily light and responsive to fish with. The tip is just stunning for fishing with both surface and sub-surface lures, and it works them with serious ease. Honestly, the efficiency with which you can work lures with this weapon is just staggering. If I was to get into specialist boat fishing for bass in a big way, I would be getting one of these rods straight away. Give Mick a shout here, and ask him about it. Once again, I am blown away by these red rods - everywhere I look I am seeing them over here.

  • Here is one of the lures that has been working well for the bass, the Duo Tide Minnow SLD-F. It casts incredibly well, fishes fairly shallow, and has a fantastic, fast wobbling/rocking action. It has a degree of holographic silver colour to the flank which I really like as well. A lot of the Jersey boys have been raving about this lure for a while now. Check here for where you ca get them. I think a few of these might find their way into my lure box for the journey home.

  • We met up with some guys out at sea earlier on (it's a small world out here), including Bob who was in Ireland with us a few weeks back, and they had done really well early this morning on the bass close to Jersey, so we are heading back out to fish later this afternoon. I can't get enough of this bassing over here. There is a even a Jersey bass festival in mid-October that is shore fishing only, and it is usually won by a big double figure fish. When I get hold of the details I will post them up here. I know my mate Graham is coming over from Ireland to fish it, and the guys here are ready to take him out for a proper bait collecting session that they assure me will leave him knackered, before they even start fishing for nearly forty eight hours solid !! After a decent karaoke session of course....

Friday, 22 August 2008

So cool to be back in Jersey

  • It's been too long since I was last out here, and I am so pleased to be back. Jersey is completely magical, and the fact that the sun came out and the wind died off made it even better. We went out bassing for a few hours around the awesome south east corner as the tide turned, but no photograph can really do this extraordinary place proper justice. Really I need to be above this area in a helicopter to show what goes on when the tide goes out - the amount of ground that is uncovered is just staggering, and of course it is ideal bass country.

  • Here's Mick from Mr.Fish banging out a plug on one of these red rods. I got to use the Tenryu Rod Bar 270 yesterday afternoon and it is stunning - both for boat and shore fishing. Everybody I meet around here seems to have these red rods, and they are all raving about them as much as I do. Check here for where you can get them.

  • We had a few bass yesterday, including this stunner that I managed to nail very close to one of the millions of rocks that poke their heads out around here. Honestly, as a boat owner you seriously need to know what you are doing on this south east corner - it is some of the scariest but most productive ground to fish. Mistakes around here would prove somewhat damaging to your boat's hull.

  • The successful lure for me yesterday was the one and only Tackle House Feed Shallow in the white/siver colour - this thing continues to be seriously bad news for the bass. I spent a large part of yesterday afternoon transfixed by this lure as it wiggled seductively through the water. Yes, I am obsessed !! To get back on the boats and chuck lures into this kind of ground is some of the finest fishing you are ever going to find, and I am over the moon to be back doing it.

  • We were fishing from this fantastic RIB that is owned by Mike Tait from Jersey tourism. He also happens to be a fishing junkie like the rest of us, and this morning he is heading over to the coast of France for a holiday with his family - on the RIB of course. How cool is that ? I hope the weather stays good for you.

  • Every single bass angler should put Jersey on their "to come and fish" places - and then get yourself down to the south east on the high and then the low tide. I guarantee your jaw will hit the floor !! Mine does every single time. I am staying at this fantastic hotel that actually overlooks this lunar landscape, the Shakespeare, and they are well known for being a really good place for fishermen to stay.

  • This morning we are actually heading off the Minquiers, a vast reef system that I have wanted to see for years now, and I am finally getting the chance now. Four of us are heading down in two RIBs, and we are spending the night down there to take advantage of the tides. The Minquiers are uninhabited, but there are a few private houses down there where the owners can simply get away from it all. To say I am excited would be a serious understatement !! Apparently when the tide is out down there, the reef system is larger than mainland Jersey - that is a huge area to fish around, so I had better get on and pack my gear up. The guys I am with love it down there. We should be back sometime tomorrow, so I will post here again when I can.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Off to Jersey tomorrow

  • Tomorrow morning I am flying on Air SouthWest from Plymouth direct to Jersey, to spend a few days photographing some of the bass fishing over there. I simply can not wait to get back over there, it has been far too long since I was last in the Channel Islands. I have been lucky enough to spend varying amounts of time on all of them (Jersey, Guernsey, Herm, Sark and Alderney) and every island has its own different feeling.

  • Jersey is an incredible place - on a big spring low tide, the area that makes up the bailiwick of Jersey essentially doubles in size. That is how huge the rise and fall is out there, and of course this massive range uncovers a scary amount of ground to go fishing over. However you come into Jersey, whether by plane or ferry, you are always struck by just how damn "sexy" the water looks for fishing. I know I will get this feeling tomorrow as come in to land, and I can't wait. Any angler out there loves seeing good looking water.

  • The photo above is of a boat doing some bass fishing around the Ecrehous, a reef system that lies roughly midway between Jersey and France. The Ecrehous and Minquiers reefs are legendary bass fishing areas for intrepid boat owners, and I have been lucky enough to have enjoyed a few hours out at the Ecrehous some years ago when I was asked to come and help out on one of Rick Stein's programmes. The place got to me then, and if the weather calms down (it is meant to), apparently we will be spending some proper time out there on this trip. Am I excited ? What do you think ? I am that excited I can't sleep properly at the moment. There is something about small, remote islands that really gives me a kick, and we might have the chance to spend the night over there as well. It is going to be a blast. Cue the Deliverance music.........!!

  • I am fishing and photographing with the Jersey lads that I was over in Ireland with the other day, so it will be very cool to see them again. They are all bass freaks, and it is Mick who does these awesome Tenryu bass plugging rods and so many of the best bass lures. See here for his tackle shop website.

  • I will keep this blog updated as much as I can over there, hopefully with a bunch of photos of some nice bass and huge blue skies. Am I dreaming, or are we due some proper weather sometime soon ?

  • Have a look in the new issue of Trout Fisherman at some fly fishing photos of mine from an awesome Dartmoor lake that Nick Hart and I photographed last year. It felt to me like we were fishing a wild Scottish loch. Check out pages 6,7,8 and 9. We shot some seriously cool material on that day, but sometimes the designers have other plans and don't use the stuff that you really hope they will. Oh well.

  • I want to wish my mate Dave Box from Veals Mail Order a very speedy recovery. A van swerved out in front of him and knocked him off his motorbike the other day, and after a serious operation he is recuperating at home. Get better soon.

  • Anyway, I bet you thought I had gone quiet on the extreme metal front ? No chance. One of my favourite death metal bands is previewing a new song off their upcoming album that I believe is out next month. This is insanely catchy, rousing, savage death metal that makes me want to rush around my office and bang my head up and down like the child I really am. Check here for the new track called "Twilight of the Thunder God", and after that, listen to one of their best ever songs at the same place, called "Cry of the Blackbirds". If this stuff doesn't get you almost crying with emotion then you have no soul !! Just the first few chords of the new track and I am nodding up and down here at the computer. Yes, the new album is on order already. There is no way but metal. Growing up is too boring to contemplate.

  • I believe that my mate Cato and his band Enslaved over in Norway filmed a video recently for a track off their upcoming new album, so keep your eyes on their website here for a preview, or at their MySpace page here. This CD I reckon will be one of the great metal releases of the year. Bring it on.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Monday morning - back to it

  • By rights I should be posting a photo of the current dire weather conditions, but I can't face that on a Monday morning. Instead, here is a shot of one of my most favourite places on earth, the Isles of Scilly. Yes, we love to talk about the weather here in the UK, indeed some would say that we are mildly obsessed with it, but come on, let's be honest here, just how bad has this "summer" been so far ? Can it get any worse ?

  • I had an awesome week on the Isle of Wight with my family, taking full advantage of any sunshine we got to head to the beach and go fishing for crabs, blennies and prawns with my two young girls. Luckily they still think their dad is quite sane when he jumps into the water and comes out clutching a crab in his hands !! How long they will think I am relatively cool for is anybody's guess though. But we had a blast - on one day we would all be whacking the suncream on, and on the next my wife and I would be walking across the beach in a bracing 50mph breeze. We got the lot and I loved it.

  • The week started off fairly costly though as my sheepdog Jess cut her paw really badly on a rock and we had to take her to the vet to get the wound stitched up properly - not cheap, but vets know we'll pay virtually anything to look after our pets. Jess is still not allowed to go for proper walks, it was not a nice cut at all, but hopefully soon she will be fully healed so I can take her fishing again.

  • Anyway, back to work with a vengeance, and life is about to get properly hectic again. I am off over to Jersey to photograph some bass fishing later this week for a few days, flying straight out of my local airport here in Plymouth - very handy.

  • Another week or so here after Jersey and I then head over to the east coast of Canada to photograph some more of this awesome Atlantic salmon fishing they have in these incredible crystal clear rivers. Sight fishing for these fish blew me away last year, and I can't wait for this trip. There are a load of photos from that trip here, and you can find a photo essay here. Like last year, I will be travelling with Pete from Aardvark McLeod. And I rather bet Pete is hoping that we will not be sharing rooms so he can get some sleep - I tend to take a while to adjust to time differences and I seriously struggle to keep quiet when I wake up at 3am all the time. All I want to do is get out there and get the pictures, and I can't stand having to wait for dawn !!

  • Virtually straight after this trip to Canada, I am turning around and heading back over to south east Ireland to get a load more bass fishing photos - plus some fishing of course !! As always for this kind of trip, I will be getting the Stena Line ferry from Fishguard to Rosslare. This is such a good way of getting to Ireland as you can carry all the gear you need and not worry for one second about weight restrictions etc. Check out a load of photos from my trip there a while back, see here.

  • I have been keeping in close contact with Graham over in Ireland, and when the weather has relented they have been catching some fantastic bass as always. Jealous, me ? Never.....

  • I am getting back from Ireland in time for my eldest daughter's 4th birthday - where does time go ? Then a week or so here at home before heading off to South Africa for ten days to photograph some rock and surf fishing near to the Mozambique border, and then some fly fishing for yellowfish on the Vaal river. See here for some yellowfish photos that I shot a while back. I can't wait to get back to Africa, it has been too long. There is no place on earth that feels the same as Africa.

  • And then in October I am trying to plan it that I will be here in the UK for a decent length of time. It's all very well shooting all this material, but I then need time here to sell it properly, and I am also rather hoping that an Indian summer might just come along to give me a few more weeks on the bass fishing around here. Not much is happening right now with near gale force onshore winds, but a friend of mine had a load of nice bass on bait early last week before the monster winds. The fish are there, but too often we can't get at them. I am hearing of a few fish to plugs as well, but again, only when the weather allows it.

  • I heard last week from my mate Cato over in Norway that a friend of his had just landed a 50lb halibut on the fly !!! I am really pleased to hear of this being done in Europe, so well done to the angler concerned - to actually go out and do this far out fly fishing takes some doing, believe me. I know that big halibut on the fly are a real possibility out at Rost, where we made a fishing programme and also I shot a load of monster coalfish on the fly, see here for the photos. April, May and into June are your best times for a go at the halibut.

  • Make sure to check out Nick Hart's blog here. Not only has he gone and revamped the look of it, but you should check out his post here about an open day he is holding at Exe Valley Fishery on Saturday 30th August. Get yourself along for the day, it will be a blast.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Going away for a week with my family

  • I am off tonight for a proper week with my family and I can't wait. Life has been bananas here recently and I have not been able to give them the time they deserve from me. The next week or so is my chance to spend some decent time with them before it goes and gets hectic all over again. I am off to go and join them in the Isle of Wight, and although I always see plenty of nice mullet over there, no fishing rods are coming with me !!

  • Below is a nice bass that was taken the other day on one of these awesome Slug-Go lures. The fish was caught when we were fishing and photographing up on Anglesey, and if I am not mistaken, is that a big blue sky I have framed up with in the background ? So blue skies do exist then........

  • The moment that Nick Roberts of Bass Lures put this fish down to unhook it, I saw the shot and nailed a few frames before the fish was safely returned. You should check these lures out - a lot of bass anglers are really turning on to soft plastics over here, and in the right situations they can be truly deadly. Just ask the French bass fishermen.
  • Below is one of my favourite shots from my bassing trip over to Ireland the other day - this was very early in the morning and I had a feeling that the sky was going to get really powerful as the sun began to rise and illuminate the broken clouds. I hit my first fish of the trip just around the corner from where Graham is standing in this photo. I am actually just in the process of booking up a few days fishing and photography back over in south east Ireland for mid September, just after I get back from Canada. I feel we are on for an Indian summer as well.

  • I spoke to Graham this morning and they had some awesome bassing on Sunday morning (when I was cursing the conditions on my coastline) for some big fish nearing the 10lb mark. Am I jealous ? Am I sitting here looking for Irish houses right now ? What do you think ? Nice one guys, leave some for us !!

  • My mate Cato over in Norway has sent me some links to some really big Swedish and Danish mullet that have been caught on fly fishing gear - could this be the place to go and get the really big ones on the fly ? It looks like it. Check here, here and especially here for some truly outstanding fish. Check out those flats !! I need to see this stuff......
  • Anyway, I am going to finish up here and then hit the road, along with some mighty fine extreme metal to spice up the journey. At full blast of course. See you in a week or so. Here is to fine fishing weather and stacks of fish, and a little sunshine please for the Isle of Wight.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Front cover

  • I just received the latest issue of Sea Angler magazine in the post with a shot of mine on the front cover - it is a photo of Graham Hill over in south east Ireland with a nice bass from a shoot we did last autumn. It is always a kick to get a cover, especially with a photo of such a nice guy. I would not be fishing that part of the world if Graham had not contacted me out of the blue a few years ago now, so I am eternally grateful to the man.

  • Check out the feature that goes with this front cover on pages 112, 113, 114, 115 and 116 - I really like the DPS shot they have used that covers 112/113. I like to shoot off-angles when the light and situation enables me to, and it is great when a designer picks up on it and uses the shot. Guess how many other anglers were about when we shot that feature ? Yes, you've guessed it - none, nada, squat, zero.

  • For fear of moaning any more about the #':*"^&! weather, guess what ? It's raining and blowing hard outside yet again. Seriously, come on, surely we can't be having a summer like last year's ? On a more positive note, I reckon we are going to get a cracking late summer/autumn and the bass will be crawling up the line...............(somebody wake me up please, I'm dreaming again).

  • I spoke to Danny Parkins yesterday and he told me about some nice bass he and his dad caught on lures on Sunday morning, when they had rather different sea conditions to the ones I faced. They also caught a scary amount of decent wrasse, with most going over the 4lb mark, and topping out at 7lbs !! Nice one guys, please can I come ? That is some fantastic fishing, especially considering the wrasse were all caught on heavy spinning rods.

  • My mate Cato Bekkevold over in Norway sent me a link to some insane photos of a swordfish that was seen swimming in shallow water close to Oslo the other day, and he tells me that they are seen fairly regularly in the summer months. See here for one of the photos. That is far out.

  • Scroll down the page of this Norwegian fishing forum here and you will see some scary photos of Cato in hospital the other day with a dirty great pike treble stuck in his hand !! I seriously hope that this does not affect his awesome drumming, for his band Enslaved are heading off at the weekend to film a video for one of the tracks off their forthcoming album. It will be called "The Watcher" and it will be in shops from 29th September. You can expect a full review on this blog of course. Now it is a case of counting down the days until the monster metal release...........

  • It is great to be at home for a while, seeing my family and catching up on all the stuff I need to do, and on Thursday I am heading off for a week with my family, away from computers, fishing talk and the phone. We are off down to the Isle of Wight, and it is such fun to mess around on the beach with my girls and take my dog for long walks. Then things get seriously hectic again......

  • Later this month I am going to head across to Jersey to do some bass photography from the boats, and then in early September I am off to the east coast of Canada to photograph Atlantic salmon fishing with Pete McLeod of Aardvark McLeod. I then head straight across to Ireland again to photograph some more bass fishing, back home for about a week, and then it's off down to South Africa to photograph some rock and surf fishing, plus yellowfish on the Vaal river with the guys from FlyCastaway. Phew !! I am not sure how life gets so hectic, but I am just happy to be working and making a living in fishing.

Monday, 4 August 2008

Too much weed and colour.....

  • OK, so now I am getting seriously frustrated - the winds last week knocked any bass fishing on the head for me, but I felt there was a chance of an early morning trip on Sunday morning to fish the last of the flood tide. I knew the forecast had to have been a bit out though when my alarm went off at 4.30am and it was peeing down outside and blowing pretty hard, but I picked Andy up and we headed out to the cliffs. If he had suggested we head home at that moment I would have done so, for the conditions were not good at all. Even in the half light you could see the surging sea, murky colour to the water and weed everywhere, but we gave it a go anyway.....

  • I was gobsmacked to see Andy catch a bass on about his third cast, and so we fished on for a while. But the amount of weed in the water and the horrible colour put paid to any further chances of a fish, and to be perfectly honest I think Andy did great to catch the one fish he did. Where on earth has our rather pathetic attempt at a summer gone ? Is it just me or are we getting a lot more west and especially north west winds these days ? I really dislike north west winds for fishing.

  • Remember that I recently put up an online gallery of our Irish bassing exploits from a couple of weeks ago. Check here for them, and indulge yourself in the big blue skies we got towards the end of that awesome week.

  • You might be able to see that Andy has gone and bought himself one of the red Tenryu plugging rods (check them out here). I told him not to pick mine up a while back, but he did, and he has gone and got one - yesterday was his first chance to fish with it, so perhaps that is the reason he was so keen to scrabble down the cliffs and fish in those horrible conditions !! As you can probably guess, he is raving about the new rod.

  • Above and below are a couple of photos of the Tackle House Feed Shallow lures, in a white kind of pearl/silver colour that I really like for bass fishing over foul ground. This is without doubt the bass lure of the moment, and I know my mate Graham is still mourning of the loss of his to a crocodile of a fish the other day. Oh well mate, sing to me again next time and I'll get you a couple !! Check these awesome lures here. The fact that these lures swim so shallow and so seductively is pure music to my ears, somewhat unlike Graham's singing. Notice that you will never find me singing as I am completely tone deaf and have a voice like a howler monkey.

  • My mate Del rang me from the Isles of Scilly last night to tell about a stack of blue sharks they are catching on the boats. This is awesome sport on light gear and I love hearing about these magnificent fishing being around. Del also told me that he saw some big tuna jumping clear out of the water very close to them, and these kind of sightings are being regularly reported down there. It can't be that long until somebody heads down there and has a proper go at them on rod and line. I would imagine the shock of seeing a big tuna jump out of the water was akin the shock at me whacking him with a pillow over in Mozambique because he was snoring so loudly. Honestly, it ain't normal.

  • And on the metal front, check out the new album by Soulfly, called Conquer. Check out some tracks here. This thing is growing on me. Now if only the original Sepultura line up would get back together and rip our heads open like they used to. I first saw "the original" Sepultura years ago when they toured their album Beneath the Remains for the first time, and they tore the Marquee Club up big time. Those were my stage-diving days !! I photographed them a while ago (check here), but once Max left it was never the same.

  • I am not going to talk too much about the cricket and the fact that have just lost a Test series to South Africa - was it just "luck" that Gerhard called me from there about half an hour after they had beaten us ? Me thinks not................Michael Vaughan was a fantastic skipper and I am really sad to see him step down as England captain.