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Blue Shark Record Released

 

A BRITISH ‘RECORD’ BLUE SHARK RELEASED


 

I recently headed down to

Plymouth
for two days fishing with Malc Jones aboard his Penn sponsored boat Sea Angler 2. I would be accompanied by fishing mates Adrian Piotrowski, Dan Clayfield and Gregg Johnson

The plan was to target Blue sharks, possibly also Porbeagle’s, by anchoring rather than the usual method of drift fishing but still using a rubby dubby slick to draw the sharks to the baits. The idea was we could anchor between a couple of wrecks, put out a slick allowing the tide to give us a reasonable coverage to draw any passing sharks in to us, while also targeting the ‘resident’ sharks that lurk near the wrecks. Porbeagles often take up residency on wrecks feeding on Pollack and Cod and anchoring would give us our best chance of hooking one of these.

As usual the best laid plans went awry with Mother Nature producing an Easterly force 5/6 which made anchoring impossible, so we reverted to drift fishing. We set up a drift aiming to cover a number of wrecks in an average depth of 250ft or so.
 

As usual it takes a while to get the slick working effectively. We positioned two rubby dubby bags for and aft and regularly chunked fresh mackerel over the side to add even more shark pulling power. Mackerel were everywhere but mostly only the size of your hand. It proved difficult to get through these to the larger fish we needed for bait that seemed to be deeper.

With four rods out, all fishing mackerel flappers, we were able to cover a spread of depths, the furthest rod fishing about 100yds from the boat (mine) set at about 130ft, then working back to the boat at progressively shallower depths with the closest set at around 30ft.
 

Three of the rods were fishing circle hooks on wire traces with an extended heavy 250lb mono rubbing trace. I was fishing a long 49-strand wire trace with an 8/0 standard J pattern hook. I prefer the standard J hook as I feel the circle hooks look overly large and can, in clear water conditions, put the sharks off.

After a couple of hours we had our first run to my rod a small fish of around 40lbs but indicating our slick was working well. This was confirmed soon after as one of the closer rods produced a bigger fish of around 70lbs. A further two fish followed to give a total of four sharks for the day with expectations high for the following day as we headed in to port.

 The next day the sea conditions were about the same with the first fish coming at about midday, but this was a small pup of about 25lbs. We then had a period of three hours with no activity and Malc was starting to worry that the wind had pushed us a little further to the north and away from the wrecks he was aiming to drift over.
 

The thing about sharking is that you get times when nothing happens, then out of the blue a reel screams off and all hell breaks loose as you try to get all the other baits back aboard to eliminate potential tangles with the hooked shark.

This is exactly what happened this day, as my rod, fishing at extreme distance 150yds out and about 130ft deep had a savage take. I was using a new Penn Fathom reel loaded with 30lb mono (for sharking I prefer mono to braid as you often get crossed lines and it is easy to get cut off on braid) mounted on the new Penn TRQ 20/30lb boat rod.

As I tightened down on to the fish I knew immediately it was big and felt heavy, little did I know how big! The shark stayed deep and refused to run but just held its distance. Eventually I managed to gain a little line only to have the shark turn and just swim leisurely away. 

After 40 minutes we managed to see colour in the water about 20-yards off the stern of the boat. Even at that distance you could see it was large causing Malc to utter an expletive which I can’t repeat here but ended in “XXXX me did you see the size of that!”

A further very tense ten minutes got the shark to the side of the boat with Malc now holding the wire leader. The shark was measured at over 8’6” long and with a girth of over 40” this was a potential

UK
record. Malc estimated it at well over 200lbs and subsequently, using various formula tables, the weight was estimated at between 200 to 250lbs, however there was no way we were going to kill this magnificent beast just to claim a record and intended to return it alive.

 

As we were taking one last look at the fish the hook suddenly snapped just below the bend and with a slow flick of her tail she was gone. We all just stared at the hole in the water where the shark had been!

 

 

 

I was shaking with the effort of fighting her for 50-minutes on a seriously pitching and rolling deck, but the others were still eager to get baits in the water! Almost straight away we had another screamer of a run and after a strong fight a fish of around 70lbs was at the side of the boat.

Without a doubt we had a lot of sharks now in the rubby dubby trail but the weather was worsening rapidly so we reluctantly headed for home. It was a fantastic couple of days and I can’t wait to get back out again to resume the battle with the monster blues!

 

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