The mission was set. Catch a Tope for a magazine article! My good friend Kyle is a writer for Saltwater Boat Angling magazine and they had a special shark edition coming up. Kyle also needed to catch his first Tope so we hatched a plan and waited for the next available weather window to try our luck.
There was fog hanging along the coast and we soon lost sight of the land after only a few hundred yards. Kayak fishing in fog is not particularly safe, especially so in high traffic areas. Luckily the stretch of coast we were fishing only see's the occasional potting boat so the risk of collision is minimal. The fog is incredibly disorientating though and it is essential to carry some form of navigation device so that you can track your position on the water and relative to the coastline. A GPS chart plotter is ideal, and a magnetic compass as a back up is definitely recommended. Without being equipped with such safety devices, launching in fog on a kayak is a definite no! Kyle and myself are well equipped and between us had two GPS chart plotters, a compass and a VHF radio with in-built GPS. If one device failed we had a few back ups!
We started fishing and sent down big mackerel baits in the hope of attracting a Tope. It didn't take me long....
Ideally i wanted to be alongside Kyle to assist him in bringing his first Tope onboard the kayak. It quickly became apparent that wasn't going to happen so i talked him through it instead. Job done and we both had Tope on our laps.... one of around 15-20lb for me and one of around 20-25lb for Kyle
The fish was first tagged off Cahore in SE Ireland on 2nd June 2014 with 1133 days and 260km between tagging and its first recapture by Kyle on 9th July 2017 off the North Cornwall coast. It measured 140cm total length with a 48cm girth on recapture and interestingly the fish has only grown approx. 12cm in length since it was tagged with no change in girth. The fish appeared to be in great health and the dorsal tag didn't appear to be causing it any damage. As with all Tope we catch, the fish was released... I wonder where and when it will be caught next!
Kyle made our session into an excellent article within Saltwater Boat Angling magazines Issue 16 Shark Special and i even made the front cover! Check it out!