THIS IS ME!

For as long as I can remember I have fished. As a young child I started off catching roach and perch on the Monmouthshire Brecon Canal at Malpas, Newport, along with silver eels and flounder from the tidal River Usk at Grove Park. When we were old enough to catch the bus my angling friends and I progressed to fishing the various sea wall venues and docks at Newport, and in addition each summer we would spend several weeks camping at Gower, West Wales, during which time we would fish for almost exclusively for bass.

I left school at 16 and spent 4 years in the Merchant Navy as a navigation cadet, travelling extensively around the world and getting my first experiences of fishing throughout the tropics. Next I spent a year crewing aboard the Bristol Channel pilot cutters, before joining South Wales Fire & Rescue Service in May 1982. There I remained for 30 years before retiring on June 1st 2012. Throughout this period I worked first as an operational Fire Fighter and then as a Crew Manager, always based at the busiest fire stations in South Wales.

Blue Watch Roath Fire Station 2012

Blue Watch Roath Fire Station 2012

The beauty of the Fire Service was that it follows a four-day-on, four-day-off shift pattern, and this allowed me to again resume and indulge my passion for angling. In 1983 I bought my first boat, the first of many, and by the end of the 1980’s I was fishing from my own boats as much as two or three times a week. I would trailer these to numerous destinations throughout South Wales, along with an annual trip to Co Kerry, in Ireland.

My first article, fishing for shad, was published in the August 1990 issue of ‘Sea Fishing Magazine’, now long gone. During the early 1990’s my work was published with increasing regularity in the various fishing magazines of the day, and not surprisingly this lead to me fishing extensively throughout the British Isles. In March 1993 I was contacted by Mel Russ, then and now the editor at Sea Angler Magazine, and offered the position of Contributing Editor on the magazine. Sea Angler was then, as it still is, by far the biggest selling specialist sea angling publication in the UK, so not surprisingly I eagerly grabbed the opportunity.

My last night shift at Roath

My last night shift at Roath

Working for Sea Angler really opened doors in the angling world, and I soon found myself in the amazing position that within reason I could fish pretty much where, when and whenever I wished throughout the UK and increasingly beyond. I am pleased to say that 20 years later I am still at Sea Angler, and am extremely thankful to Mel Russ and the tremendous support, encouragement and advice he has provided over the years.

By the mid-1990’s I was travelling abroad several times a year to fish, in order to provide material for my articles in Sea Angler. I became involved with Annie Ayton at ‘Safari Plus’, and this led to a great many exciting opportunities visiting, researching and then often hosting trips to numerous destinations throughout Africa. Some of these you can read about in the ‘Memorable Trips’ section of the website. I am particularly proud of the fact that it was following a trip in 1996 to Namibia with Clive Gammon and the articles we subsequently produced that Namibia became such a hugely popular destination with British shore anglers.

By the end of the 1990’s I had written three books, ‘Estuary Fishing’, ‘Dinghy Fishing’, and ‘Cod Fishing’, and had contributed to several other books written by other anglers such as John Wilson. Also, I had appeared in several TV angling shows and video’s, something which has continued to this day.

By the arrival of the new millennium I was working closely with Martin Founds at Anglers World Holidays, initially in exploring and promoting the fishing in Norway. Again I am proud to say I was the first to write articles in the British angling press, namely Sea Angler Magazine, about the amazing cod, coalfish and halibut fishing available in that country, which fuelled what rapidly became such a massively popular angling destination. Were it not for Martin Founds determination to develop this product, it is likely we would have had to wait several more years before Norway became the truly amazing destination it is today.

I still work with Anglers World Holidays as a destination consultant, travelling extensively around the world, and regularly hosting trips to destinations throughout the USA, Central and South America, Africa, The Indian Ocean and, of course, Norway. Again you can read about some of these under ‘Memorable Trips’, as well as see which trips we are planning next.

These days I contribute regularly to ‘Sport Fishing Magazine’ and ‘Marlin Magazine’ in the US, ‘Voyages de Peche’ in France, ‘Zeehengelsport’ in Holland, ‘Fisch & Fang’ in Germany and ‘Ski Boat Magazine’ in South Africa.

Since 1996 I have been Shimano UK’s sea angling consultant. I am also a qualified RYA Advanced Power Boat Instructor, with a personal commercially endorsed Advanced Powerboat Certificate.

Often I am asked what has been my greatest/favourite catch, and many are surprised when I say it is not the 1,120lb blue marlin I caught in Cape Verde. I have caught many memorable fish but I think no I must choose the 110-120lb tarpon I caught on fly with Capt Bill Basset out from Bud n’ Mary’s Marina in the Florida Keys. No 2 would be a toss up between a 100lb sailfish on fly in Costa Rica, or a 40lb giant trevally, again on fly, caught in Mozambique.

Of course also I am proud of my personal best 54lb 8oz Norwegian cod; my IGFA approved tarpon, bonefish, permit Grand Slam from Belize; the 275lb black marlin I got on my 50th birthday in Kenya, and a great many other fish the memory of which is indelibly imprinted in my head. Perhaps, though, it was those first few eels and flatties I used to catch on garden worms at Grove Park that are most important of all, for had it not been for them who knows how things might have worked out?

Today I am a full time Angling Photo Journalist and I am always keen to travel somewhere new, catch something different and generally try something unusual.So if you think you have any ideas, please feel free to get in touch!

Finally I would like to thank my lovely wife ‘Alison’ who for the past 26 years has always remained supportive whenever I’ve come up with ‘yet-another-must-do-trip-away’. I’ve had the great pleasure of her company on many memorable trips, and look forward to a great many more together in the future.

Tight Lines

Dave Lewis: March 2013

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24 thoughts on “THIS IS ME!

  1. Hello Dave, I was wondering if I could pick your brain about setting up a Bass Fishing trip to Morocco. Do you have any recommendations for anyone to guide there, if there is anyone doing such things? I have been looking on line but coming up a bit short on information.
    I would be coming from the U.S.
    Thanks for your time hope you have a great day,
    Brent

    • Hi William

      Sorry for delay in reply, I have been away in Belize.

      Unfortunately the company I fished with in Morocco is no longer running. The only person I know who has fished there recently for bass is my friend Henry Gilbey, check out his website at: http://www.henry-gilbey.com

      If you do get there & fish I’d be very interested to know how you get on.

      All very best

      Dave

      • Thanks for the info. I will certainly let you how it goes if I can work it out.

  2. Great website, exciting life, I have a lot in common with you.

    Love photography, Love fishing…….and I am ex-Fire Service ……..plus the fact you live 4 or 5 doors from me… Must have coffee
    Regards
    Steve

  3. Hello Dave, I recently met you at gerry’s new store opening in morecambe(25/04/2015)and we had a brief chat about popping rods unfortunately there were none in store at the time,I have since seen that your favourite rod is the shimano caranx kaibutsu long cast 2 piece, where on earth can I buy one in the U.K or Europe ?

  4. Hi Dave hope you are ok, just trying to reach you as I am going to Kokelv in late August early Sept finish do you have any marks or advice as its a first time there for me. Been to Norway a bit but some advice would be good. Gerry from Gerry’s Fishing Morecambe. Was good to see you at open day, sorry you couldn’t make my 60th birthday bash.

    • Hi Gerry

      Yes it was good to catch up, a long time since Cuba in ’96’! Only fished at Kokelv the once and the fishing was very tough due to terrible weather. From what I remember the best local advice was to work the reefs towards the mouth of the fjord, which unfortunately we never got anywhere near due to strong north westerly winds. Our best fishing was inshore off the beach in the area where the stream/small river enters, but that was pretty much the only place we could comfortably fish. Jan, the camp owner, is a great source of information and advice, I am sure he will point you in the right direction; let me know how you get on. Good luck and all the best, Dave

  5. Hello Dave – long time no see… Glad to find that you’ve moved onward & upward since the days when we were in BASS together – that body still seems to be going great guns, I’m happy to say. Very occasionally I’m in touch with Bob Spurgeon and Dave Cooling, plus John Morgan a year or two back – but I’ve hardly fished at all for years, having given up on UK bass as too much effort for too little reward.
    These days I’m spending more time in France – and they have a decent population of largemouth bass, mostly in the south. Any contacts there? I’ve found a few websites, such as BBF, but they seem to have little traffic and are not very user friendly… My location there is in Gard, near Alès – and the BBF members map shows lots of them are in and just west of Nimes.
    Any tips, and I’d be grateful! Like to do some more fishing, esp for largemouths – I canoed over smallmouth bass (and enormous trout!) in Ontario in 2012, but failed to catch any, very hot and very low river conditions – my excuse…
    Some great stuff on your site, glad you’re getting around and doing some interesting fishing.
    Best, Tony
    ps I found your site via a google for bass/France

    • Hi Tony

      Great to hear from you! Those days when everyone you mention were active in B.A.S.S seem like another lifetime ago; we should arrange a reunion? I’ll never forget you were the first editor to publish my work, an article on fish finders in B.A.S.S magazine, thank! Keep in touch and all the best, Dave

  6. Hi Dave
    Hope that you remember me and my Sister Helen from Wavell Drive, Halen married to a keen sea angler and goes to the Lighthouse and Gower whenever he can its nice to see that you’ve done so well, if you can get my e-mail from this sight drop me a line so we can catch up lol
    Dave Conibear

  7. Sent from my iPad HI dave we met today in the loughor fishing comp my name is Chris Jenkins and I run gorseinonfishingclub.com I was the one cooking today we got a tidy website and hopefully if you ever have a free date in your diary be wonderful to have someone like yourself to come along and fish with us can ask Steve halfpenny if his dad be available to go on a gower mark one day it’s was great to meet you best of luck with your next fishing trips hope to here from you all the best.

    Chris Jenkins gfc

  8. Hello dave,
    Many moons ago we met at the very grand opening of Gerrys new store in Morecambe,where I was asking about popping rods and associated gear ,until I realised it was yourself……..!!!
    could you email back,when you can, just an inquiry from myself.
    regards
    Martin Leigh

  9. Hi Dave, my name is Stefan I live in Belgium and I have been fishing my whole young lifeas a young kit age 16 I went to south Norway “lindesness” several times, with my uncle charles, with manny good catches and memory’s in mind, so I have some experiance with fishing in Norway, now after manny years of not fishing (we went into shooting sport) I’m planning a fishing trip to Norway again, end of may beginning of june 2018, but this time to HITRA kvenvear, me and my wife sandy are renting a house which comes with a 24 footh boat with 100 hp outboard engine. as I havend been fishing for manny years things seem to have changed alot, reading your article, I noticed that rods and tackle (way of fishing) seem to have became lighter and heavy priks and big bulky rods seem not to be used anymore as they were in the 80’s, I’ve got a ton of questions, are you familiar with that area (HITRA, KVENVAER) and can you give me some tips on were to fish, do’s and don’t, the best way to catch big cods. depth rocks sand ?
    we will go by car (Mercedes vito van) so we don’t need to pack light 😉 but as we are starting from scratch on gear I don’t wanne spend money on stuff I will not use or need. we bought two 20/30 lbs penn rods who came with a penn 345 gti reel, bought them second hand for 80 euro’s for the lot, as there is no line on both these reels, which is the best line to put on those reels and how manny meters. I will also cast my own lead pirks and as a airbrush artist I can paint them any colour or effect any tips on colours ? could go on and on asking more advice but I’m sure you understand, hope you can give me some advice, thanks for your time.

    • Hi Stefan. Take a look at the Norway Tackle Guide on this site, hopefully that might help you! I have fished Hitra & there are plenty of fish, but lots of shallow reefs offshore so be very careful. Good luck & let me know how you get on. Dave

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