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Sharking - Catch Report


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Tommy Lap Dance, Newboy Alan (from WSF) and myself headed out of Weymouth on Quest II yesterday morning.


Our intended quarry were the Porgies, Threshers and possibly even a Mako, all of which are kown to frequent the waters off Portland Bill and around the miriad of wrecks sunk well this side of the channel.


Quest II looked akin to something out of jaws. A bemused yacht crew watched as we loaded up huge sacks of frozen, secrect formula Sea Magnet, rods and reels, heavier than anything I usually use in this country, SERIOUS traces with enormous Seamaster Hooks, oh, and a packet of balloons.


As we left Weymouth the sound of Alan whistling that tune from Jaws, something about "Fair Spanish Ladies" echoed under the lifting bridge and Quest II headed South.


We stopped at the Bill for just a few minutes to get some fresh bait and the mackerel seemed only too pleased to oblidge, so again South was our direction and an hour on I cut the engine over an interesting looking contour line that runs directly from Start Point in the West right the way to St Catherine's point in the East. Our drift line would take us over or very close to a number of wrecks and the sea depth was between 160 and 180 feet.


First job was to get the rubby dubby over and so out of my enormous cool box came the first frozen block of Wedger's secret formula "Sea Magnet". Into the sack she went and over the side, instantly setting up a good slick of fishy oils on the surface and juicy smelly bits drifting off in the small tide.

It could have been no more than a minute or two before the Sea Magnet drew in what seemed like an endless shoal of mackerel. Skitting about on the surface as far as you could sea and peering into the crystal clear depths they were darting around, barracking each other and eating their fill of the secret formula.


Alan watched as Tommy Lap Dance and I got the first couple of sets of gear out. The first out at about 150 feet from the boat and set at about 80 feet deep, four more at slightly shallow intervals culminating in a sixth rod with a freelined live mackerel tethered to the closest rod with just 5 feet of line in the water in addition to the 20 foot trace length. After inspecting and watching the first set-ups, Alan got the idea very quickly and could soon set up his own equipment and new exactly how to "thread" the deadbaits from the cut tail end up towards the gills.


Everything was perfect, the sea was calm, perhaps too calm, as the oily slick could be clearly seen and the seagulls squabbled all around us waiting expectantly. The hours ticked away, but certainly not silently. Tommy Lap Dance, who is 73 coming on 23, kept us amused and enthrawled with his tales of huge Marlin, Tuna and Shark from trips and mult million pound competitions around the world. This guys has been around a bit, he knows many a famous angler and even knows Joyce Yallop the famous Mako shark record holder of decades gone by. When not keeping us amused with fishy tales, he discussed his still current antics with the ladies and how he was "unsure whether to go fishing tomorrow or not as he had a lady friend coming round at 6". I soon started to understand why his nickname involves "Lap Dance".

To top up the Sea Magnet, Alan and I caught a string of mackerel every now and then. Now this wasn't complicated, we ended up playing a a game of dropping your feathers down to a depth of 20 feet and watching them whilst trying not to let mackerel get on your hooks. It was nye on impossible and usualy a full house of five would come up.


Every now and then the humming and whistling of "Fair Spanish Ladies" would be heard from one of us around the boat... the odd freighter or tanker would steam by and so did the hours...

The tide took and age to turn, but by mid afternoon we were heading in the general direction from whence we had come.

At five we pulled in a couple of strings of fresh mackerel to take home and at six, reluctantly and a little bit jaded we pulled in the lines.... slowly, one by one, "just in case".

Quest II's virgin sharking trip may not have caught one, or even seen one, but it was a gorgeous day on the water. You couldn't have asked for more peaceful conditions and excellent company.

Wedger's "Sea Magnet" seems to be a fantastic mackerel attractant, but first impressions suggest it may be shark repellent... maybe we need to give it another try?

.... Sometime soon I hope.


On steaming in, when I got a phone signal, I caled our resident diesel man and asked what time he was serving to... "What you been doing today Tom?"

"Where you been?"

"Should have gone east you pillock! A huge Porgie has been hanging around the XXXX Bouy for the last four days. Came right alongside Colin Penny's boat and they were only breaming!"


You live and learn.





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tom we were on the quay yesterday at bikers night and watched tango bravo come in with a 200lb porgie dead mad.gif


he wasn't guna tell us were he caught it laugh.gif


me and dad weren't too impressed mad.gif


nice fish though biggrin.gif



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difficlt one for the skipper - you wonder when the decision was discussed but you can't blame a skipper under such circumstances.


with a landed value around 800 it's a valuable fish as well

But only valuable if you have a license to sell fish, worthless if you havent or at least should be

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Aparently the crew wanted to keep and eat the first shark sick.gifsad.gif


None of them seemed to amused by my comments, which were delibratly load so they all heard them including the skipper.


Steve said that it took over an hour to get to the boat and was floating tail down by the time it did so.


An amazing fish, just a shame to see it dead on the quayside surounded by grockles



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Spoke to one of the guys that was on that trip yesterday, and he reckons that the fish was 90% dead by the time it was brought alongside. Not sure whether that justifies the end result, just repeating what he told me.


They had also lost one previous to the capture!



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p.s, like u actually had any diffuculty getting anyway, its just boats like Gnasher that u cant get crew for...haha




Whats the closest reported sightings of shark to in club waters? Do any rougue fish ever get into the solent or anound the ledge? Do they ever chase the maccy tight up to shore? Dont worry, im not planning a shark trip on my tiddler its just out of interest. I know there has been huge basking sharks spotted close in recently.

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You will get shark right the way through the bay, but they will "concentrate" or "pack" up as much as they do (?) on the contour lines and shelves around any of the headlands, tide rips and features such as wrecks etc. Pretty mcuh anywhere that the food chain is in abundance.


I would hazard a guess that Steve Porter's was well in what we would descibe as club waters. He rarely goeas outside club waters and in addition to that he was describing getting caught around a pot buff which suggests he wasn't a million miles off shore.....



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The following story is absolutely "true"


Some (30 ish)years ago an old school mate of mine used to regularly do a spot of commercial style fishing by beach netting in the Bristol Channel.(whether legal or not I was never sure)

Basically it involved laying a net at the low water mark of the storm beach and leaving over the full tide to be collected at the next low tide.

On this paricular occassion he laid the net at Morva Beach near Port Talbot at a spot which was only accessible by trudging 2 miles across pathways through sand dunes.

The following day saw him riding across the dunes with his young son on the back of his trusty Honda 50 to drag in the net.


They got to the net before it was fully exposed and waded in to drag it in .

At This point they discovered there was something really big in the net and they just could move it.

When the tide finally exposed the net they were confronted with a massive Thresher shark drowned due to being trapped in the net.

There was no way they could shift it so quick as a flash my mate got on his bike (I think he left his son there to look after the net- wouldn't get away with that nowadays)and rode to the nearest telephone box where he phoned the local newspaper with the story.He instructed the newspaper to contact the local fishmonger and within an hour both reporter and fishmonger had driven their vehicles across the sand dunes and were at the beach.

My Mate got his picture in the paper stradling this damn great shark and sold the shark to the fishmonger for 60p a lb.

As the fishmonger couldnt get the shark into his van he cut the fish up on the beach.


Punchline was- the Thresher meat taken and sold for weeks on end to the local population weighed a total of 385 LBS and the shark measured 21 feet from the tip of its outstretched tail to its nose



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I was Sad enough having seen the fish man handled onto the quay and to read that it was sold questions the legality of act and the stupidity of putting it in the press.


Is the boat licenced to sell its catch? mad.gif


Peerhaps Dave M would like to answer that one after speaking to the skipper ph34r.gif


I believe it is[sorry WAS] one of the mackeral sharks, so not hard to confuse the echo on that one.


There are pot buoys as far out as the rips so that does not really indicate that the capture was that close to shore.


When out two weeks ago we saw a good thresher chasing bait fish, she leapt right out of the water 100 ft from the boat, and we were about two miles off the coast



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It is just a shame the fish has been publised so much - a great fish and worked hard for by the sounds of it by the skipper.


It was the perogative of the anglers and the condition of the fish that lead it to be killed / die, however the coverage in the press has not done it too many favours.



Edited by Adam F
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It is just a shame the fish has been publised so much - a great fish and worked hard for by the sounds of it by the skipper.


It was the perogative of the anglers and the condition of the fish that lead it to be killed / die, however the coverage in the press has not done it too many favours.



Nice editing Adam wink.gif

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A reply from Steve Porter:


Since meeting Steve properly for the first time over in Alderney in May I have found his tips and advice invaluable, not to mention his courtesy and helpful manner refreshing.


Since getting interested in having a go at Sharking this Summer and knowing that Steve had been trying for many years I have been picking his brains over recent months as to techniques.


Steve has sent me the email below and reads a little oddly at the start as he is actually replying to a question I posed him first, but then he explains about the shark that has caused such a stir.


After reading it, you can then be the judge yourself as you now have his own response. Personally I believe what Steve has written to me, knowing his personality. In addition, I believe that he is more than a tad embarrassed by the whole situation as it has got way out of hand, by a bunch of anglers wanting nothing more than their pictures in the paper.

I think we have all carried a lot of respect for him in the past and I know he respects us as small boat anglers and keeps half an eye out for us when he is at sea so maybe we can now put the story to rest as "the one that didn't get away".


Steve's email:

Hi Tom


Thanks for email. I tend to have four rods over when shark fishing. Our one took the high bait, just 20 foot below the surface.


On the subject of killing the shark, it was never my intention to land one. I don't even carry a gaff or any equipment suitable to do the job. It is true that this particular charter did want to keep their first one as they had all eaten shark before and praised the quality of the meat. I advised against killing one but at the end of the day, any shark caught would be theirs having paid me good money. In the end though, circumstances dictated what happened. Having battled for an hour, once alongside the shark just gave in and died. I have never seen it happen before but in the time it took to handline the trace in, the fish appeared to die and began to sink to the bottom, just the trace keeping the head up. Only seconds earlier we had seen the shark for the first time as it swam past the boat. It was very strange, almost as if it had suffered some sort of heart attack, if sharks have them. Anyway, the bottom line is that this shark could not have been released. I now have the death of this great creature on my conscience and it keeps occupying my thoughts. We have just one more shark outing this year, which is later in August. We are going to downsize our hooks and future shark bookings will be accepted only if the anglers agree to release all sharks where possible.


A further complication and embarrassment to me is that the shark appeared in the Echo last night, strung up outside United Fish Wholesalers who claimed that they were looking forward to distributing the delicacy to local restaurants. The paper didn't report the story correctly but the picture and article should never have been in the paper. I now have an issue with my anglers. Most people know that I am the biggest campaigner against black fish sales and I am hoping the Southern Sea Fisheries will investigate the story since "Amateur fishermen" and distribution by a fish wholesaler were written in the same newspaper article and should never go together.


Bye for now



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