Tope Fishing off Pwllheli

Author: Dave Cook Date: 30-05-2009

After a long winter and the summer cut short the previous year it was time to get the boat out again. I decided to move the boat this year to another company for launching to enable me to get more time out on the water and hoping this would give me a better chance of catching more Tope.

A 60 plus pound Tope off caughtPwllheli.I booked a week off work in May and headed down to Pwllheli, unfortunately the weather had other plans and it rained nearly constantly for a week and with it came the wind.

It soon got to Thursday and all hopes of getting out were fading fast, I went to bed that evening and awoke to find a break in the weather although cloudy the sea was nice and calm.

I managed to get out and straight away I tried for Mackerel and worked hard for 2 hours trying to catch bait finally I managed a few but I was running out of time and had to come in.

I woke up early on the Saturday morning no wind, fantastic !! Straight down to the boat yard and out, this time I headed straight to where the mackerel were the day before BINGO! Straight into a shoal filled the bucket in about 20 minutes.

I headed straight out to my favourite Tope mark a bit further out and anchored up quickly, I made a wire cage a few years ago and I fill this with a few spare mackerel chopped up to create a scent trail.

After tackling up with my favourite 9/0 Eagle claw circle hooks (de-barbed for conservation) I dropped my mackerel flapper down to the bottom in 45 feet of water. I like to be sporting and use a 20 pound class rod matched up with a Daiwa SlOSH30 and 25 pound Red Ice.

Within 5 minutes had my first run, I put the reel in gear and felt some weight then all of a sudden it went slack, I wound up the line and to my amazement a Tope chased it to the surface, this was only a small fish about 8 or 10 pounds, it proceeded to grab the bait and engulf it. I set the hook and brought it aboard where it went crazy, small Tope are much harder to handle than larger ones.

I dropped down again and straight away in again, this was completely different a long slow fight progressed and then all of a sudden she broke surface, she was huge I estimated between 70 and 80 pounds, she came right to the side and as I lent down to grab her she shook her head and the hook came out, gutted, my heart sank as she swam off into the depths.

I dropped back down again feeling really sad, not for long though, I got good one again from a decent fish, it fought right to the boat, as it came in I knew it was a good one and after measuring her and photographing her calculated the weight to be 53 pounds, excellent start. Within minutes I had another on again a good fish and this one turned out to be 49 pounds.

After a few hours of battling with 20 and 30 pound Tope I had just a couple of baits left, I dropped down to the bottom again after about 10 minute I got a slow run, I hooked into the fish which was again a slow but deep fighter which is unusual in this depth of water. I kept pumping this fish and slowly it came to the surface, this was a nice long fish and it looked bigger than the others. I brought her along side and leaned over she was very calm and relaxed, I grabbed by the pectoral fin and lifted slightly to get a hold of the dorsal as well, this one was a better fish, after a good tug of war getting her safely into the boat I calculated her weight to be just over 60 pounds, a pound short of my previous best.

I decided to call it a day, I gave the last mackerel in the bucket to a seagull that had waited patiently at the side of the boat all day and went back into port a happy man.

All in all I had 15 Tope that day some bigger than others plus a couple of doggies although they didn't get much of a look in!

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