The forecast was giving 4ft swell with a moderate onshore breeze which on the North coast tends to whip up a bouncy sea. It was on the limit of what i will launch in off the North but it was worth a shot, at least the sun was shining. We met early morning at the launch spot and i ran through what Rob could expect if he hooked into a Tope, it would be his second kayak fishing session but he is a keen angler and wanted to catch one. Time to throw him in the deep end! We battled our way out against the swell and confused chop and began to fish.
Mackerel flappers sent to the bottom and we waited..... 30 minutes later a fish picked up my bait and made a half-hearted run but the hook didn't set... bugger! Not to worry, hopefully it would come back or there would be another.... I didn't have to wait too long before the rod tip was violently being pulled down as a fish picked up the bait. It seared off as i set the hook and seemed unstoppable as 150 yards of braid disappeared off the reel!
It made a u-turn and i had to reel fast to keep up with it, it started to come up through the water ...next thing it had fully breached on the surface before tearing off along the surface on another fast run!! This thing was mental! Rob made his way over to get some photos as the Tope made a B-line for his kayak giving him a scare! Soon enough the fish was subdued and was ready to come aboard for unhooking. Wooohooo! My first Tope of the year, a chunky male fish, 60 inch fork length with a 20 inch girth giving a calculated weight of 30lb.
A few quick photos later and it was powering off back to the depths. Rob watched in awe so it was his turn next. I gave him 15 minutes with only his bait in the water in the hope he would find a Tope but all was quiet. In fact all was quiet for the next hour or so and we were starting to think they had disappeared. A pod of Bottlenose Dolphins passed by which was nice to see but the chop was starting to take its toll and it was like fishing in a washing machine, the occasional feeling of sea sickness hitting us. We were starting to think about heading in as the wind had started to pick up and white caps were showing all around.
"Ive got a bite!" .... a fish had found Robs bait. Colourful language followed as the Tope went off on its first run with the hook firmly set. I don't think he was quite prepared for the power of a hooked Tope!
A few hard runs and sharp turns later and the fish was beside the boat. Rob managed to grab the trace first time and pull it onboard to be unhooked, measured and photographed before release. He was over the moon and I'm glad he got one! A lovely Tope of 24lb (calculated weight). Note the bare arms - Tope skin and bare skin do not mix well, as Rob found out!
Mission accomplished, we had both caught Tope! A few more drifts had to be done. I dropped my bait down and we spoke about Robs fish when out of the blue line started tearing off the reel! That didn't take long.... a fish powered off along the bottom as i struggled to slow it down, giving me a sleigh ride out to sea, rob having to paddle along to keep up.
5 minutes later and the fish was on the surface but wrapped up, it made a few small runs and eventually came untangled but then shed the hook just as i was about to bring it onboard....oh well! It wasn't as big as the first but was around the 25b mark.
That was it, we called it a day and paddled back both very happy. We had only been fishing for two hours so were more than pleased with having boated one Tope each. Im already looking forward to the next trip targeting these stunning sharks!
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