Today my hunt for 60 species from the UK shoreline came to an incredible end and with over three months of the year still to go, the question is...... 'what now?' Well you've probably guessed it, 70 species! I must be mad.
Anyway, I don't want to bore you with that, here is the report, enjoy.
The last two and a half weeks has been one of the most frustrating yet rewarding periods of time in my life. The very unusual weather has meant I've only been able to get out after my target species, tope on a handful of occasions and after having 3 dropped runs and a fish I couldn't stop, I was beginning to have doubts as to whether I'd ever actually land one.
During the first 4 sessions, (not including today) we managed to land a few decent fish between myself and the lads I have fished with. Most notably Ad with a huss of around 12.5lb and the first Ling I have ever seen landed on rod and line from the shore, for which I will never here the end of lol (5lb 1oz). Also, a good session with Kev (Wobbler72), in which we brought 4 huss to the side and other fish such as pollock, mackerel and of course, the nuisance dogfish. Kev's report from that session can be found on the link below and is well worth a read. http://www.worldseafishing.com/forums/showthread.php/1363845-Tope-Hunter
Today though, all the frustration and hard work finally paid off and everything went to plan for a change, almost anyway. After a few beers had turned into a heavy night of drinking games, I had to say I nearly had to call todays session off, but I couldn't disappoint Rory who I'd arranged to go with and so after necking a pint of cold water and relaxing for a few hours, I was packing the car and ready to go. We arrived at the mark feeling quietly confident and I began fluff chucking for some lovely fresh bait. After 15 or so minutes, I had a nice full bucket of mackerel and it was all stations go, tripod up, rods set up and baits prepared. The rigs we used were standard pulley rigs, a 2ft length of 150lb mono for the hook length and an 80lb rubbing leader to avoid too much abrasion. At the business end a size 8/0 circle hook baited with a mackerel head/tail, yum! The first cast produced no interest after 45 minutes so on went some fresh baits and we waited some more. I started getting a few little taps on one of my rods, maybe a lobster or something but after a few minutes it stopped so I turned my attention to tying a few rigs. What do you know, as soon as I'd started making it, the sweet sound of my drag alerted me to a run. I grabbed the rod and let it run for a while but it had seemingly dropped the bait........again! I waited patiently and sure enough it came back for seconds. This time I just struck straight into it and for the first time in a fortnight, I was playing a tope. The joy was short lived though as for the 4th time, the fish threw the hook. To add insult to injury, I was know in a snag and had to pull for a break, I really thought it was going to be another one of those days. Whilst this was going on, Rory had reeled in the other rods to avoid any tangles and so no baits were in the water. I quickly chucked on a macky head and cast out again into the same area i'd had the run. My legs were a bit wobbly from the excitement of it all but I had to focus on tying a new leader quickly so I could get the other rod out. But wait, whats that noise, I turn round and my rods off again, it had only been in the water 90 seconds. This time I ignored the stuff I'd read and just struck into the fish straight from the off, this time successfully managing to set the hook. The fish felt very powerful and after a very nice initial run I turned it
and started gaining line back. 5 minutes later and after a few more small runs, the fish broke the surface a few yards out. Rory had clambered down the rocks to do the job of landing it but wasn't expecting to see a good sized fish appear. He grabbed its tail and began heaving but things didn't go swimmingly in the process. The fish was extremely powerful and with the swell crashing on the rocks one of his feet slipped and left him lying with his back to the rocks, not good. From where I was standing it also looked as though the tope had got his ankle so when he shrieked from the water going down his back, I was expecting to be making a 999 call and reporting a shark attack lol. The waves kept coming though and Rory was now getting a good soaking, but there was no way he was gonna let go and somehow managed to right himself and haul the tope onto dry land. YES! I had finally got one and it was a gooden. Rory who is no stranger to big fish put an estimate of around the 40lb mark, absolutely thrilled. All the effort was now well worth it and what a way to finish my hunt for 60 species. Have to massively thank Rory for his company and for nearly taking a plunge to get my fish, would have been near impossible to land without him.
And so that was it, no more tope action after that, a single doggie for Rory being the only other landed fish. What a day though and one that I'll be remembering for some time.
Next stop, 70 species :)
Thanks for reading,