The recent spell of hot settled weather during late July brought the Sharks closer to shore in reasonable numbers.

I’m going to relate the tale of the various encounters with “Jaws” as accurately as I can, in the words of those who were there and involved, as I hope it may better convey some of their excitement and tension.

The largest specimen captured on rod and line fell to, Bill Sumner, Paul Bright and Terry, who were out for a day pleasure fishing aboard the privately owned “Offshore” boat, “Red Dwarf” about 12 miles off Dartmouth.

Here’s what Paul told me.  “There were three adults and two children, out for a days pleasure fishing.  We had put a traditional bag of Mackerel over the side as “Rubby Dubby”, to see if there were any sharks about.  I don’t think we really expected to catch one.  The children were busy catching mackerel, as we lazily drifted on the tide.

We had trotted out mackerel flapper baits behind the boat, suspended on balloons.  We were using 50 lb. class boat rods, loaded with 50 lb. b.s. mono and some old wire traces that hadn’t seen the light for years.

Some people say that amounts to fishing too heavy, and yes, for general sport fishing purposes it is, but if you intend to catch and release, then you need to retrieve the fish quickly to minimise stress, rather than letting it exhaust itself.

After about two hours, young Jacob Dart shouted out, “There’s a big shark under the boat.”  We all looked but no one could see anything.  The same thing happened a few moments later.  “There he is” shouted the excited youngster.  Again we looked and nobody saw it.  This time, the lad was ticked off.  “Don’t say these things unless it’s true”.

Then Bill Sumner saw the shark, a massive “Blue”.  It had swum up the scent trail and was now nosing the Rubby Dubby bag.  The shark turned away and swam back towards the stern of the boat, where it took two baits presented on different rods, in quick succession.

Not surprisingly, as the Shark was attached to two rods, it put up a powerful, though not spectacular fight, before coming alongside the boat.  It was between 6’ 6” and 7 feet long.  Bill and Terry have both previously caught shark to 130 lbs, and they estimated its weight to be about 110 lbs, so I reckon their estimate is good.

To be frank, we were not very well prepared.  We had to cut the wire traces using an old pair of pliers, which were just not really up to the task.

That was the only fish of the day, but what an exciting encounter for all on board.”

Paul also told me they have since found out more about the Shark tagging scheme.  They intend to participate in it for the general good of the species.

You can learn more about the Shark Tagging programme by visiting www.sue-jeri.demon.co.uk and join them in their valuable endeavours, while still enjoying your angling.


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