Porbeagle Shark Action Off North Devon

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Mark Jones and Craig Mcloughlin enjoyed an epic days action from Mark’s private boat with porbeagle shark off the North Devon.
Mark and Craig had 8 shark runs landing two each. Marks biggest was a male fish calculated at 172lb. The fish took Mark over an hour to land on a lighter outfit intended for tope fantastic battle one I won’t forget.All bait and chum supplied was by Craig Crafty Mcloughlin of Braunton Baits.
also hats, T-shirts and bait towels.

Once in a lifetime – Truly epic day – By Dan Welch

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Many thanks to Daniel Welch for sending this superb report on a truly epic days fishing.
Fishing is so much more than just catching a fish. It’s about the preparation, anticipation, the journey, the wildlife and the environment that surrounds you. It doesn’t matter how well prepared you are you never know what the result will be. Little did we know this trip was going to be one of those really special unforgettable ones.
Last Sunday the weather and tides were just right to go on the hunt for what some one say is one of the UKs ultimate fish, the porbeagle shark!
The alarm was set for 03:30 and we left harbour on high tide in the dark, the lights of the town and faded into the distance as we steamed out. As the first glimpses of daylight arrived the silhouette of the land began to appear and the surface of the sea shimmered, the conditions looked promising. We arrived at the chosen location a couple hours later.
3 shark rods were set at various depths all rigged with barbless circle hooks suspended beneath brightly coloured bottles. There were a lot of dolphins and a number of whales in the area surely this was a good sign. After a short wait the middle float disappeared and we hooked into the first shark of the day it was by no means big by porbeagle standards but a nice shark around a 100lb photos were taken and the fish return. We had a few more takes over the next couple hours and landed another two sharks and lost one and saw others cruising around beneath the boat in the crystal clear water.
Whilst fighting one shark there was a sudden commotion about 20m from the boat it was a shoal of skip jack or bonito sized tuna jumping clean out the water hitting bait fish, we could not believe our eyes. I frantically grabbed a lure rod and cast at them hoping one would grab the lure. Within a blink of an eye they vanished back into the depths and my focus returned to landing the shark. We were elated not only had we landed some of our target species we had also seen and come close to getting a tuna. Our expectations for the day had already been surpassed.
As low water approached fishing slowed down. We had been hearing load splashes and a commotion long way from the boat. As time past these got closure until we could actually see what was going on, it was huge feeding frenzies. The feeding frenzies got closer and closer until they were just a mile or two from us at this point we had to go and investigate. We steamed out at full speed to get out to the feeding frenzy before it moved again. When we arrived we came across an incredible site of multiple whales, dolphins, hundreds of sea birds, sharks and what we believed tuna feeding. Neither of us had seen anything like this before. We cast lures into the feeding frenzies and put whole mackerel baits in. Ross suddenly hooked something on a lure only for it to be ripped off the hook we then saw another shark beneath the boat and then the rod I was holding which had a whole mackerel bait was taken and it ran off at speed, it turned out to be a hard fighting male porbeagle. By the time I landed the shark the feeding frenzy had gone quite and we were left with a couple dolphins and whales around the boat and slick smooth water created by the fish oils released during the frenzy. We were so privileged to witness this off our own coast line and chances are it’s a once in a life time experience. We are just glad we managed to capture some photos and film to share without preconditions friends and family.
We hung around a bit longer but had no more bites so decided to worked our way back home fishing wrecks and reefs on the way back. We caught a number of bass and even a John Dory doing this.
In total we landed 4 sharks and lost one, the largest shark was estimated at 150lb. An incredible and almost unbelievable day! Ross summed it up saying “you don’t normally hear epic and fishing in the same sentence but today was truly and epic day”.

In Cornish Waters

Its alarming how fast time and life fly’s past and the latest uncertain times have not slowed anything down. It was good to be heading down to Penzance with James and Rob for our annual pilgrimage in search of shark off the tip of Cornwall. As always a constant monitoring of the weather forecast preceded the trip and for once it seemed that luck was on our side with winds forecast to drop away to a light southerly on the day of the trip.

We planned to revisit a well known cove close to Penzance on the day before our boat trip. We had enjoyed an enjoyable session there twelve months ago when a calm sea and sunny skies had greeted us. Twelve months on it was a grey and breezy day with steady drizzle. Huge waves surged against the headland and plenty of weed floated in the water.

Lures were launched from the old granite jetty and as the tide flooded a few fish started to come to the shore. James went for a walk to the headland and took a refreshing swim whilst Rob and I persevered with the lures. Mackerel and small pollock put a pleasing bend in light rods and it was great to be away from life’s trials and tribulations.

We returned to Penzance to enjoy a delicious meal where we were staying at the Lugger Inn on the promenade. There was of course much talk of pandemics and its devastating effect on the economy and daily life. In this strange world of masked shoppers, sanitiser and social distancing it was good to relish the thought of heading out to sea.

Dolphins captured on film by James Thomas

After grabbing breakfast and hot coffee at Mc Donald’s we joined Jason Barrow and Bruce Elston on the quayside to board Bite Adventures, one of Cornwall’s  top Charter boats. By 8:30 we were feathering for mackerel in the calm waters of the bay. It was a misty morning that seemed surreal as dolphins materialized all around the boat gracefully swimming within just a few yards. Whilst we wanted to grab our camera’s Chippy was urging us to get to work catching bait for the day ahead. We listened intently as Chippy told the tale of the huge tuna hooked the previous day. The resurgence of tuna in Cornish waters is an exciting development. It is frustrating that it is illegal to target these splendid game fish that could support a thriving sport fishing venture. The tuna are classed as an endangered species yet it is not catch and release sport fishing that will lead to the loss of these fish in our waters. The tuna have returned to Cornish waters because the pilchard have returned. The commercial fishery is of course reaping a harvest of many hundreds of tons each day. How long before we have once again allowed the decimation of a fishery repeating once again the mistakes of the past? Do those in power not understand that the food chain needs to be healthy if the prime species at the top are to prosper? Sustainable fishing is of course the answer fishing methods need to be restricted to prevent overfishing.

After  1.5 hours we reached the sharking grounds close to thirty miles off the coast of West Cornwall and within minutes of stopping the engines we were to witness the memorable sight of tuna leaping several feet from the water. The deep and mysterious waters off the West Country Coast hold many secrets and this is perhaps one of the greatest attractions of shark fishing for anything can turn up in these waters. Recent sightings have included minke whales along with the tuna and dolphins.

A misty gloom created an eerie atmosphere as Chippy pointed out the towering shadow of a giant tanker at anchor. Perhaps at rest as economic turmoil sweeps across the world.

The rubby-dubby sacks in position releasing a pungent slick of fish fragments and oils we started our drift. Lots were drawn to see who would go first. Baited feathers were then sent to the depths to catch whiting hook-baits. Plump whiting were hauled to the surface along with numerous gurnards that were immediately sent back to swim from whence they had come.

Rob had drawn number one in the draw and it wasn’t long before the float plunged beneath the waves and the reel screamed its warning. And so the day unfolded as we drifted through the day. Periods of tense anticipation between runs then quite frequently two sharks at once in frantic periods of action. Chippy expertly advising us where to dodge as we successfully managed to avoid tangled lines. The sharks were brought to the side of the boat and quickly unhooked using the T-Bar to dislodge the circle hook. Three shark of around 90lb were brought onto the boat for a quick photo providing a lasting memo of a special day.

Gannets, storm petrels, an artic skua, fulmars and the more common seagulls kept us company throughout the day. Grey skies stretched to a far horizon; rods bent in frequent encounters with streamlined blues.

By the end of the days fishing we had caught 26 shark most between 60lb and 70lb with three of them estimated to be up around 90lb.

We bounced back over a slight swell to Penzance all cherishing memories of great day afloat and looking forward to the next out on Cornish waters.

Appledore Shipbuilders – Boat Competition Results

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1st Mike Toogood Tooe 39lbs 8 oz

2nd Kev Pike bull Huss 13lbs 2 oz

3rd Mike Toogood Tope 32lbs 4 oz

Appledore Shipbuilders set forth in their latest boat competition with a cracking forecast and nice tides.
Weather hadn’t been kind for the boat comps since lockdown ended so everyone was looking forward to getting this one fished. Seven members fished the comp and reports from the boats during the day stated that large catches of pack Tope, many around the 20lb mark were giving everyone great sport.
Scad were also abundant on the small baits making it difficult to fish for other species on the reefs.
One angler reported catching 12 different species from their boat.

Stunning Images of Summer Sea Angling

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Combe Martin SAC member Dan Welch has been enjoying some superb fishing from both the boat and shore. Early morning images, bass, mackerel are all the essence of summer sport on our beautiful and rugged coastline. Many thanks to Dan for letting me publish his stunning images.

 “loads of mackerel tonight haven’t had mackerel like that for 10-20 years” Dan told me

Family Boat Fishing off Ilfracombe

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The Welch family enjoyed a superb day afloat on their boat beneath a vivid blue sky and on calm waters. Tope, pollock, bass and bull Huss all gave good sport.

Some stunning weather and good sport on the boat this weekennd , went out Saturday and Sunday for short sessions over high tide. The mackerel are still very scarce and no pollack inshore either. Saturday was all about the tope with quite a few, nothing big most around 20lb, big enough to give a good scrap especially for my wife Lyn I think it’s her first tope. Sunday was a trip out with my dad loads of bass and pollack all caught on light spinning gear the best was a 10lb 8oz pollack. All but a couple fish were returned. As the tide slackened off we decided to put the anchor down and try for some tope, no tope but we had some nice Huss to just over 13lb. I did hook and lose what felt like a really good tope but unfortunately the leader broke. Welsh boats fishing the west side of Lundy were reporting good numbers of mackerel so hopefully we will see them on the next set of bigger tides. Fingers crossed for some more good weather.

Lyn Welch with a tope
(Above) Dave Welch with a double figure pollock
Dan Welch with fine pollock
Dan Welch with silver bass
Dan Welch with double figure bass

Boat Sport with improved weather

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Boat anglers have been able to get afloat and enjoy some great sport with some of the channels predators. James Gubb Fradgley fished from his own boat off Lynmouth to tempt this hard fighting conger of 36lb.

Stef Jones had a good day chasing tope boating four  best going 42lb, he also tempted huss, pollack, a nice plump codling about 4 1/2lb, mackerel and loads of smoothies best 12lb 6oz.

(Below) A nice tope landed on Bluefin.