Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Plymouth Blues

The Devon coastline is not as renowned for it's shark fishing as it's neighbour Cornwall and more recently the Welsh shore but it is my favourite place to wet a salty line. We have been fishing with Malcolm Jones aboard the 'Sea Angler 2' for several years now, in fact this was my seventh trip with him, my fourth chasing sharks but my companions this time were both shark virgins, 'little bro' Nathan and Cheggars. Malcolm charters out of Plymouth and the nightlife there is the second best reason to visit the city, after the fishing obviously. Having travelled down the night before and endured a shocking full English breakfast in our cheap B&B (you get what you pay for!) we arrived in dock at about 7.30am.
The sharks round here live a good distance from shore so we have no choice but to steam out for about 16 miles and then set about the first task to gather bait, Mackerel.
We needed flappers for the hook and the rest goes in the 'rubby dubby' which mixed with oil and bran and hung over the side in an onion sack.

This is the ocean version of ground bait and gives me an idea for Pike! By lunchtime we were eventually sharking.
The set up is a fairly simple float rig, only on a bigger scale.
Big circle hooks are attached to a six foot hook link of wire trace for obvious reasons. This is then clipped to several feet of 200 pound mono leader which is needed if the shark rolls, which they often do. If they were to roll straight onto the main line then their sandpaper-like skin would part the line like cotton but the 200lb mono gives extra insurance against a lost fish. The float is attached free running but has a genius clip that grips the line just enough to hold the bait at the desired depth but the line releases when a fish is hooked and running.
There is nothing more exciting than watching a float sink out of view knowing that a big shark is the culprit.
Three rods were put out, all baited with Mackerel, the spines removed to make the flappers and all three are set at different depths. One rod each to begin with but if someone catches then they would take a step back and the remaining anglers would have all the rods. The first run came on Cheggar's rod and the reel screamed, obviously a good fish attached.
Gradually he started to get the line back on the reel until finally we saw colour. As we got it alongside the boat it rolled up the trace right to the mono and managed to take a bite, not all the way through but enough for it to snap as we tried to lift it aboard. The skipper estimated it at 80lb but I thought that was a little generous, we'll never know. The touched leader/did it count debate continued light heartedly all afternoon and evening.
The next run came to my rod and a one-sided battle ended with me landing a thirty pounder.

The action then became fast and furious with Nathan landing his first ever Blue, a twenty pounder and Cheggar's had his second fish, a fifteen pound puppy.
Next up was me again this time having a much better battle from a fifty pounder that I ended up winning.
Nathan landed one more fish and that was the end of the shark action. A great result, six sharks in four hours.
Even though we were 20 miles out to sea there are other species to fish for whilst waiting for a shark to turn up. Bass, though not easy are possible but I love playing around with the Garfish that are attracted to the rubby-dubby slick. They fight like stink on an avon rod even tail walking and leaping about like a baby Marlin! I landed my biggest ever on the trip and what a fight!
We had drifted so far that it took over two hours to get back to the harbour but it was worth it.
If anyone fancies a great day's fishing with a top skipper who works hard, especially with the kettle, then give Malcolm a call, you won't regret it.

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