On the first Friday in September every year we head south down the M5 towards Plymouth for our annual shark trip. It has become an integral part of the fishing calendar and is a weekend we look forward to with great anticipation. Action is virtually guaranteed, only once have we blanked and that day I caught my first ever Bass so wasn't really that bothered.
We always use the same skipper, Malcolm Jones aboard his forty year old former lifeboat 'Sea Angler Two'. He works hard for us, is good company, always has a story or two and makes loads of 'cuppas' which are essential.
Tactics are the same each year, big circle hooks tied to wire traces, 200lb leaders and polystyrene floats. Mackerel flappers are used for bait set at various depths in an oily slick full of bits of mashed-up fish, bran and special secret fish oil.
If sharks can smell a drop of blood from so many miles away why do we need so much rubby dubby? I'll ask him next time.
Three rods are deployed at various depths and as I lost the toss Nathan would have two and I would fish the third. I got to choose which rod was mine though and selected the deepest one, it is usually the first to register a bite and on this occasion I was not wrong.
Half an hour later the ratchet started clicking away and I was into a fish, seconds later one of the other rods hooped over and we had a double hook up.
The first of the day a pup of about thirty five pounds.
And that was how the action continued for the rest of the day, nine Sharks landed in only four and a bit hours fishing. The biggest weighing something close to 100lb, caught by Nathan but sadly it rolled round the trace when we got it close to the boat and bit through the leader.
The biggest I managed was a seventy five pounder that we did manage to boat for a photo opportunity.
A feisty bugger that seemed determined to try and get its own back on us.
Hard fighting fish both in the water and out. Despite the aching arms and shoulders we still managed to lift a few pints and celebrated a successful trip long into the night.
Cannot wait for next year!