Once again we set out from Penzance with Robin Chapman on Bite Adventures hard to believe it was two years since our last trip when we had boated an incredible 35 sharks up to 100lb +.
There were five of us on the boat this year. Nick Smith, Pete Gregory, Rob Scoines, my son James Thomas and myself. It was Robs first shark trip and I hoped he would enjoy success and once again we were not to be disappointed.
After months of hot sunshine it was raining when we left the harbour and I was glad I had packed a few waterproofs despite the forecast that promised blue skies and hot sun.
The journey out to the shark grounds was as always full of anticipation with the thought of big blue shapes swimming through the mind. As always I relished the vast ocean panorama, the salt in the air and that vastness of sea and sky. There was of course plenty of banter and tales of previous trips. A brief pause to catch a few mackerel proved fruitless which I find a little concerning as these once prolific bait fish seem to be in serious decline.
We were close to twenty miles offshore when ”Bite Adventures” reached its destination and the welcome sound of the engine throttling down before it’s throbbing stopped. A brisk breeze was blowing promising a good drift as “Chippy” began preparing the rods and the all-important rubby-dubby.
Out went the baits at various depths suspended beneath bright green pop bottle floats that floated optimistically upon the water. These would be the main focus of attention for the next nine hours. It is hard to recall the next nine hours in detail, as it’s a blur of screaming reels, sinking floats, bent rods and aching arms. In all we caught 29 shark the biggest close to 80lb.
As always all shark were returned carefully to the ocean. Those that were brought on shore for a quick photo were handled firmly to avoid the fish thrashing around on the deck that was washed down with cold water to minimize stress to the fish. Small circle hooks were also employed to minimize deep hooking.
Between shark some of the party enjoyed catching a few species from the ocean floor using baited feathers. Haddock and brightly coloured gurnard were a welcome distraction.
Throughout the day we enjoyed frequent cups of hot tea and coffee along with an occasional soundtrack of AC/DC. Gannets dived into sea all around; storm petrels swooped over the waves. Every moment we watched those bobbing floats and searched the water for a glimpse of shark.
It was a satisfied party of anglers who journeyed back to Penzance as dolphin rolled in the wake of passing yachts and seagulls glided in our wake Next year is already booked lets just hope the weather permits another successful journey to the offshore shark grounds.
Many thanks to Robin Chapman for another superb day afloat and thanks to Happy Dangler Nick Smith for his help in sorting the trip and to Pete Gregory the Silver Fox for his tales of fishing around the world.