Shark trips are available from mid June to October. We steam to an area known as the Celtic Deep, around 30-35 miles offshore and fish up to 6 rods at a time. It’s a 12 hour day usually leaving at 7am.
Best time for Porbeagles has traditionally been early in the season although we caught them throughout the season in 2019 with 45 in total up to 300lb. Due to Covid restrictions we were not able to get going till 10th July last year but porgy numbers were good, with 43, averaging 2.5/trip with 9 in one day up till mid August. Threshers were leaping as usual July/August plus a large Mako on one trip. There was a lot going on in the Deep last year, major tuna and whale activity.
Tuna have been more prominent from late August on. We were fortunate enough to land a 300lb fish in August 2016 and lost a couple in 2017 and again last year. We are not allowed to target them but occasionally hook up on the shark gear.
All equipment can be provided free of charge. As with all local charters, there is a strict catch and release policy.
The technique is to drift fish with baits set from floats at varying depths and distances from the boat. If you are thinking of bringing your own tackle then 50lb class is typical although some use as little as 30lb for blues, not recommended early season. I don’t advise the use of braid main line unless as backing and lever drag reels are preferable. A coloured mono-filament line is easier to see to avoid tangles and bird strikes.
Trace wise I use a 5′ length of 350-400lb 49 strand stainless wire biting trace connected by a quality link swivel to 20′ of the same as a rubbing trace. I prefer 14/0 Mustard Demon circle hooks but anything similar is fine. Poor quality hooks will straighten out if the shark is being brought aboard. Circle hooks are preferable to prevent deep hooking and barbs must be removed or crushed. Depending on the conditions a 5oz lead may be incorporate on the rubbing trace or clipped onto the main line link swivel. Weights are best kept well up the trace and fixed not sliding. They’re not necessary if conditions are calm. This year I intend to utilise more heavy mono leaders and shorter biting traces following some experimentation last season. There is a fear of loosing fish with mono but catch rates appear better.
A variety of floats are used but you don’t need anything fancy. 500ml plastic bottles, Mountain Dew or similar are bright green so easy to spot. Some anglers slosh a bit of paint around inside clear bottles to make them stand out. A variety of colours make identification between anglers easier. Cable tie a swivel to the neck of the bottle rather than tie them on and they don’t get as tangled around each other or your rod tip etc. We use a zip slide on the main line (make sure the hole through the centre is not too big) and cocktail stick to fix it to the main line once the depth is set.
We don’t waste time trying to catch bait so anglers are expected to bring their own. Fresh mackerel or small pollack in the early season are ideal but the shark will go for pretty much anything, frozen mackerel, squid (large), trout etc is fine. We may be able to supply frozen mackerel if pre-arranged. Chum and dubby is provided but any additional bait or scraps is appreciated. If conditions are suitable we fish the bottom for whiting and haddock as they make good live bait. It is deep so braid is best but you still need 12-16 ounces of lead.