In early October I was lucky enough to go on a shark fishing trip to Penzance for a couple of days. Having never done this type of fishing before we didn’t know what to expect so the whole trip would be a huge learning curve.
On the Monday, the skipper had been out early to get the mackerel for the chum. After collecting us, we headed out catching some more mackerel for the hook-baits.
It takes about a hour to get the fishing mark on an 8 hour trip. Once there, the skipper put out the chum and quickly tackled up and we were sharking in no time. The set up is surprisingly simple a lot like bass float fishing but with with stronger end gear such as heavy wire and thick leader.
The four of us had already drawn straws to set the order in which we take the runs and it wasn’t long before Dan was into the first shark. The sharks came thick and fast although they were on the smaller side.
In all we had 35 sharks on the first day with John landing the biggest. Having run out of mackerel we headed in to catch more for tomorrow’s trip.
Once back in the bay we eventually located the mackerel allowing us to catch enough for the next day’s chum and hook bait. Being used to fishing around The Needles this exercise was eye opening for myself as we were in 70ft of water but only a couple of minutes outside the harbour.
On day 2 we got to the boat earlier as there was a stronger wind that was increasing in the afternoon. The skipper’s deck hand, Kieren, was on board as well adding an entertaining dynamic to the trip as it gave the skip someone else to take make fun of besides Mick, Dan and John!
As on the day before, the chum was put out and the rods were prepared and then set. It took a little longer to get our first run this time but as soon as we landed one another rod was off. The weather, albeit rougher, was helping the fishing as the boat drifted more allowing us to cover more ground attracting more and more sharks with the slick from the chum. The four of us were also treated to dolphins swimming around the boat some of which jumping.
Amongst the higher number of blue’s was a porbeagle around 45/50lb that John had the privilege of landing. The fish fought harder than the blue sharks the same size and the colours on the fish were incredible.
After safely returning the porbeagle and putting fresh baits out we were into the sharks again with 3 different blue sharks being on at once. A few sharks later and John was hooked into something big. This shark had been tempted on the deeper bait so we had to retrieve the other 3 baits as not to tangle the lines.
After what seemed like 5 minutes but was in truth nearer to 30 John had successfully landed a fish of a lifetime, an amazing specimen of a blue shark that was 7ft long with a calculated weight of 198.44lb that was one of the boats biggest this season.
The shark was safely returned after a few quick pictures with the 3 of us required to safely hold the fish. After an obligatory soaking of John we put the rods back out and continued to catch. By 3pm we had caught 51 sharks and the skipper called it a day with the wind increasing as forecast.
What an incredible experience. In total we had 86 sharks over the 2 days fishing with Fin-Nor rods and reels lighter than most would use for cod fishing by The Needles. If nothing else, this is a testament to the quality and strength of their gear. I for one learnt a great deal and that is all thanks to Chippy the skipper of Bite Adventures. He was very patient with our inexperience of shark fishing (especially on the first day) and was always happy to answer any questions we had and needed no invitation to take the mick out of Mick.
Can’t wait for our trip next year……..
If you are planning a trip to penzance then we can recommend The Lugger Inn, the 5 bed room we had was ideal for our two night stay. The Lugger is ideally located and breakfast is included with your room.
Photo credits: John Wardropper and Dan Pestell