Friday, 18 October 2013

I'm talkin bout Sharking!

After a nice weekend at home, it was time to depart the North again for Devon, where I would be visiting my granddad and of course wetting a line. Having booked myself and younger brother on charter boat Bite Adventures for the Wednesday, we had a few days to kill before we'd head down there for the day to target some large toothy critters, yes i'm talking bout Sharks.

Targeting bass on the lures on both Monday and Tuesday, we struggled with the conditions, with just one bass being caught on my surface lure. Sam did have a rather interesting take in the estuary though, a subtle suck of his patchinko underwater and a sudden strong pull, but on striking....nothing. Usually this sort of take would be associated with a larger fish, so Sam was a bit gutted but we'll never know, it will remain a mystery, could this have been another big one that got away from him??

The Wednesday soon came round though and after a 4am wake up, we arrived down in the Cornish town of Penzance, eagerly anticipating a day of sharking, after all the previous 2 trips that had sailed had seen nearly 30 sharks landed.

After a quick heads up from the skipper Chippy and deck hand Will, we were on route to the mark where on arrival we set about getting some mackerel for bait whilst the guys sorted the chum bags. Next up, we had to draw lots, a series of pegs numbered 1-7 relating to the order in which we would be taking the runs. I drew number 1, lucky or what.....especially looking back on the day.

Species 80 - Cuckoo Ray
All four shark rods out, surely now it was just a matter of being patient, but what better way to pass the time than to drop a bait to the bottom to see if I could bag a Megrim sole, another species I was desperate to catch. It wasn't long either before myself and younger brother were bagging up big time, mostly with more macky and some huge garfish that were hitting the baits on the drop, but when we did find the bottom 200ft down, we were getting some good variety with ling, haddock, whiting, cuckoo wrasse, pouting, poor cod and doggies. After a while though, I was into something that felt like a flattie, just a heavy dead weight in other words. Desperately hoping it was a megrim, I soon spotted the rounded shape appearing in the super clear water, before realising it was actually a small ray. The closer it got the more excited I got as I noticed the pattern on the wings, it was a Cuckoo Ray! Far rarer than the megrim I was hoping for so a real bonus for my hunt for 100, he megrim can wait :)

Pictures taken, we were back on the mackerel for half an hour or so before I got the shout I was waiting for. 'Who's number 1? We have a shark on!'
Quickly passing my rod to Sam I got the butt pad on and Chippy passed me the shark rod... Fish on and it felt very powerful!
After a good initial run, it went very heavy and stopped pulling. Chippy said that it had likely got wrapped up, a common occurrence when sharking. I was still struggling though and the slog still lasted seven minutes due to the dead weight. When the fish was boatside, I was told by the skipper he was going to unwrap it and let it run again. I was thinking please don't, im gonna struggle if it goes again. Luckily for me, the fish whilst thrashing on the top had thrown the hook, but was still wrapped in the line, keeping it on the surface. A quick tail grab by Chippy and the fish was on the deck for some photos. At an estimated 85lb, I was well chuffed, my second largest fish ever and my second new species of the day.

BOOM : Species 81 - Blue Shark

Only one more run was had on the day, so I was very fortunate in picking peg number 1. My brother unfortunately didn't get a chance at a shark but enjoyed the day nevertheless. Maybe next time.

Thanks for reading,
Tight Lines,


  1. Good to see a young fellow who can catch Cuckoo Rays and who has also seen Jaws. Ad take note. ;)

  2. Nice shark Ross. Must of been great fun playing that. Ross 'Quint' Jackson now.