Another extraordinary afternoon. The late September weather plumbed new depths of greyness, cheerlessness and dampness but at least the wind was lightish on Devon’s Bristol Channel coast.
I was after Tope again and had a load of frozen pollack and mackerel from the freezer as bait. to cut a very long story short I sat and drifted for nearlysix hours and got very cold in the relentless heavy drizzle…..if I hadn’t been wearing a drysuit and had the inspiration to grab my wetsuit balaclava as I left the house I would have packed it in after a couple of hours. The occasional passing visit of a couple of porpoises gave me a flicker of interest, but despite constantly changing presentation of my bait on the end of the wire traces, I had absolutely no bites at all for about four hours.
It was only because the fishing season was drawing to a close I forced myself to stay longer. And there was just that faint hope that something might happen when the tide started to come in.
Woopee. I hooked a dogfish as I was winding in to check the bait. couldn’t even be bothered to take a photo as my hands were so cold and fingers starting to fumble.
As a last gasp effort I hooked up a whole mackerel and when the weight hit the bottom I let the spool arm off and just let the line feed out as the kayak drifted along on the tide, so the bait was stationary on the bottom for a while. Of course this didn’t work, but I repeated it a couple of times. Nothing to suggest there were any fish within ten miles of here. I tried again in a half-hearted slovenly manner and suddenly the line went very heavy and a couple of mighty tugs followed.
My body wouldn’t have been hurled from such torpor to extreme action if I had sat on a scorpion. The fish set off and the line poured off the reel in an extremely satisfactory manner. I tightened the drag as I was worried I would run out of line but the ‘run’ probably only lasted for five seconds. Like last time I swung the end of the rod over the front of the kayak and let the fish pull the kayak along….a great way to tire it out, surely.
After about ten minutes it at last appeared beside me at the surface and….good grief it was even bigger than last weeks fish…..amazing. I hauled it aboard with its pectoral fin and got the hook out of the corner of its mouth with no problem.
I made a few crude measurements to try to calculate the fish’s weight. About six foot long and trunk diameter of about ten inches……must be about 65 lbs!!!!!!
I thought I’d better attempt to get a goofy pic of me as well as the shark in case any doubting Thomas thinks I have photo-shopped somebody else’s fish.
I can’t quite believe that the only two Tope I have caught have been such whoppers. Clearly skill and fishing expertise can be the only explanation.