caught a shark in UK waters (excl tope, spurdogs etc) so when Sandy and I
visited Looe a few weeks ago I took the opportunity to book a trip for Blue
Shark aboard the Mystique II. I was
joined on the day by fishing buddies Reg, Graham and Jonathan.
We arrived on
the quay at 8.30 setting out promptly. The first stop not too far out was to
catch a few mackerel for fresh bait on the way out to the sharking area.
Initially the sea was rough but Dave, the skipper, said it would get easier
farther out and as usual, skippers know what they are talking about. When we
reached our chosen area about 20 miles out Dave, the skipper, put out the chum
and then set about showing us how to bait, set the floats etc on the first rod
which was then set out. As he got the second one ready to bait, the first rod
started to run and the click of the check sounded. We thought something was
wrong, not expecting a take that fast.
Dave told Jonathan that it was a fish and he duly caught a small blue
We each had a
rod and once one was caught, the angler then left his rod for the others
establishing a rota and trying to ensure we all caught a fish. In the quiet
spells between runs we fished with feathers over the side catching mostly
whiting and a few more mackerel to keep the bait stock up.
Graham was next
with a better fish, then I had another smallish one of around 25lbs and finally
Reg got his first shark.
On the next
round of the rota, Jonathan caught another baby shark, Graham had another, I
had a decent fish of about 55lbs then Reg had another before finally Jonathan
had a much better fish. As we were about
to pack up, Graham had another male fish.
In all we ended
up with 10 blue shark; nothing huge, but far more than we hoped for. As well as
a bag or mackerel and whiting with an odd gurnard and scad.
highlight of the trip was watching a sunfish circling the boat following the
seagulls. It then lay flat on the surface allowing the gulls to pick the
parasites from his skin before swimming away. It was a fascinating interlude of
about 15 minutes. I have seen one off Ilfracombe before, but didn’t know of
this practice which Dave told us to watch out for. You can just see the dorsal
fin to the left of the gulls in the picture below.
We also enjoyed
watching the agility of a storm petrel fling around the boat.
It was one of those
days when things go absolutely right including the weather. A great day out
with friends, all catching fish and seeing interesting sights at sea too.
Thanks to Dave the skipper who obviously knew what he was doing and joined in
the banter that is all part of the day out.
We got back at
6.30 in time for fish and chips and a cold beer, a great way to end the day.
The great news
is since the finning was addressed (commercially cutting the fins off sharks
for shark fin soup and chucking the body alive over the side), the numbers have
risen. Several years ago they landed just over 80 sharks at Looe in the year.
The combined total from the Looe boats yesterday was 42 in a day. I guess as
they go grow bigger the sport will get even better.
next year already.