I've been itching to get a session in on the North Coast to see if i could catch a Tope. Conditions haven't been great for several weeks but things were shaping up for an evening session with a big Spring tide. With the light evening there was just enough time for a few hours on the water after work.
You really feel how much tide there is when you anchor your kayak. I was using 14oz of lead just to hold bottom. A big mackerel bait went down. It didn't take long before the first bites arrived but they weren't the aggressive takes of a Tope.... Dogfish. They were just holding onto the bait too and letting go at the surface. Something bigger finally wedged the bait in its mouth. A Bull Huss with beautiful markings....
It was a battle to keep the Smoothhound under control and play the Tope. I was in a right mess for a few minutes. The Smoothhound eventually calmed and stayed still allowing me to concentrate on playing the Tope. It was fighting well but i could tell it wasn't a big fish. It appeared below the kayak and then took off again taking line. It was quite fun in the pumping tide! On the second attempt i managed to keep it on a short leash until i could get a firm hold of its pectoral and pull it onto my lap. I had the smoothound pinned with my legs and the tope pinned with my hands.... it was all quite comical! Seeing as the Tope was the dangerous one i dealt with that first. Nicely jaw hooked so out it came and got a few quick photos before i sent it on its way. A fish of around 15-20lb and my first for this year.
It put up a really good fight but again i could tell it wasn't a big fish. I soon had a Tope of around 15-20lb on my lap. Again cleanly jaw hooked which makes things easy with unhooking.