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Boat Fishing A few big fish for my Yorkshire pals

Discussion in 'Sea Fishing Forum - Shore, Boat & Kayak Fishing' started by rupert, Sep 14, 2016.

  1. rupert

    rupert Blenny

    At a fiftieth party in July, a friend of a friend approached me, asking if I could take him out in my boat to try for a shark. Richard had fished in some pretty exotic places round the world, but having never fished with him, I didn’t really know good his sea fishing skills where, or for that matter, how good his sea legs might be.

    The last thing you need with big fish, is people who can’t operate the gear they’re given, or waste their day dispensing diced carrot over the gunnels. To me, tope fishing sounded a sensible option for a first shark – and once Richard had seen a few photos on my phone, he said he would love to be given the chance to catch one of these.

    We arranged to meet on 23rd July at Hornsea boat launch at 7.30 am. Richard drove up from his Bedfordshire home to meet me there. Conditions looked good, a near flat, clear sea and a big 6m+ tide. All we needed was some fresh bait before we could anchor up, further down the coast. I felt pretty confident I could put him on a tope or two.

    Normally, the mackerel can be feathered near one of the two buoys, a short distance out from the beach launch point, but there were none to be caught. Changing the sinkers to a heavier lead and trolling them 30 metres behind the boat, at 3 to 4 knots, normally locates mackerel before all that long. We trolled for an hour and a half and never had a rattle on the rod tips!! By this time we were not that far from the wind farm. Having stopped the boat, to have a rethink, the rods started to rattle and we caught the bucketful required to keep us in bait all day. Sod’s law.

    There were two other boats already anchored up, one of which was maybe 500 metres away from the mark I was going to fish, the other nearly a mile away. That gave sufficient space and there were no pot buoys nearby that might get in our way either. When fishing for tope, you need at least 200 metres clearance from obstacles, as the bigger fish can sometimes run this sort of distance and more.

    I set two rods up with float fished baits fished near the bottom, but 40 and 60 meters downtide of the boat and two on 6oz legers over the side. Frozen chum was dispensed and with four traps set all we needed to do was wait.


    After a couple of hours, the nearest boat decided to re-position and anchored less than 75 metres away from us. Some folks use no common sense! The seas a pretty big place and two boats anchored so close to each other has every chance of ending in tears if a tope is hooked. They could easily run round our lines or anchor rope, or ours visa versa and chaff clean through the line in seconds.

    As it happened, I needn’t have worried as neither boat had contact with tope and Richard and I called it a day around 4.30pm! Having dragged Richard all the way up from Bedfordshire, I felt really bad that I hadn’t given him his first tope that day. Still, we had a good natter and a tasty picnic whilst waiting and even saw a sunfish basking on the surface. I wasn’t aware of any tope being landed that day, so we were all in the same boat, so to speak!


    The second tope mission took place on 23rd August with Keith Pickering (Stickman). Same big tides, same good clear weather, but this time 8 tope landed, with a few near misses with hook pulls etc. The only difference was that I put the chum deep down on the anchor rope, rather than from a horse hay net hung from the stern of the boat. (I’ve had my best day of 27 tope landed, doing the horse hay net routine, so I know that method really can work!).

    Not only was the fishing good sport, but sending the photo’s drip feed to Richard throughout the day, proved excellent sport too, tormenting him that they could be caught after all!

    Keith landed the biggest of the day, which we weighed at exactly 55lbs which beat his previous P.B. by 25lbs.

    Weighing Keith’s 55lber



    Tiddler being released



    Tope mission 3 was scheduled for Wednesday 31st August.

    I had qiven a days boat fishing to a charity auction of promises. I agreed seven days in advance with chap who won the day, that weather permitting the 31st August would be the day, as the tides looked favourable for tope. I had booked the day of work and the weather and everything else seemed spot on…….until my mobile pinged at Tuesday lunchtime – “Sorry, we can’t come with you tomorrow now.” Grrrrrrr…………

    I knew however, a certain Stickman who might be more than happy to fill their shoes at short notice!

    We had another great day, again with 8 tope boated, the biggest two being 48 and 50lb weighed. Again, Bedfordshire Richard was bombarded with more pictures. I agreed to leave him alone after the picture of the mid-morning 50lber and give him the post-match score.

    He’s now keen to risk the drive from Bedfordshire again.

    One of several I had that day


    Whilst feathering for the mackerel , I caught a pollack of around 1 1/2lb. I cut this into a flapper, and sent it downtide under a float. (I use sliding catfish floats that will support 300 grams). Within 15 minutes, the baitrunner 12000 sounded and the rod was away. I played what felt like a useful tope – until the hook pulled out. That’s the trouble with big baits sometimes, BUT, one hopes big bait big fish!




    Mission 4 on Saturday 10th September involved a change of venue to fish in Bridlington bay. Anthony last fished with me there two years ago ,when we had a great day on the thornbacks, at this same time of year. The thornback mark can throw up tope too and so whilst Anthony targeted those, I had three rods out for tope.

    It was a small tide, which tope generally don’t favour, but Bridlington bay can be pretty weedy, so at least our lines shouldn’t be smothered today, even if the tope fed in a picky manner. The Smithwick sands were thick with launce, but no mackerel there. There were however a good number close to the Smithwick buoy, which gave us our fresh bait for the day.

    The first run came within 20 minutes and as soon as I had the rod clear of the holder passed it to Anthony – “There’s your first tope”. I’m not convinced he believed me at first, until the rod bucked and the reel shrieked. It was the perfect size for someone’s first tope too. A manageable but sporty 30lber.

    Here it is


    I took the second on a float fished bait. It was a smaller fish, so we didn’t weigh it, probably just over 20lbs or so.

    We had a quiet spell into the early afternoon, the only excitement being a small one man catamaran that sailed close by my boat then tacked across the stern tangling and busting the line on my furthest float rod. What is it with other sea users that they can’t give me a bit of space!! He realised his error and did retrieve my catfish float, but the rubbing leader, weight, wire trace and baited hook were lost, which was far from ideal.

    Although Anthony fished hard all day, the thornback eluded him. He caught dab, whiting, mackerel and a few edible crabs on his fresh mackerel strip, launce fillet and squid, but none of the target species. I gave Anthony the third tope hook up of the day, which was slightly smaller than his first at 28lbs.


    It’s been great fun helping a few pals obtain and increase their tope PB’s. They’re fun sporting fish, and just off our doorstep.

    Hopefully the 2016 tope season isn’t over just yet………………
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  2. andyo123

    andyo123 Whitby Fishing Forum _ Simply The Best

    Fantastic report and pictures thanks for sharing.
  3. faraday

    faraday Whitby Fishing Forum _ Simply The Best

    Wish i had the time to pursue a subject like this...

    Great report.
  4. jc

    jc Whitby Fishing Forum _ Simply The Best

    lovely report well done to all
  5. brian carragher

    brian carragher Whitby Fishing Forum _ Simply The Best

    Brilliant that is Rupert

    As always a fantastic write up combined with superb pictures puts the reader right in the middle of the action, just the tonic the forum needs to generate interest and enthuse anglers into having a go
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  6. SteveLee

    SteveLee Whitby Fishing Forum _ Simply The Best

    Great report. & pictures.
  7. tatch1

    tatch1 Whitby Fishing Forum _ Simply The Best

    Cracking report & photos Rupert
  8. robq

    robq Rockling

    Thanks for the quality pics and report Rupert:)

    A rarity these days !
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  9. limpet

    limpet Blenny

    great stuff lads well done
  10. navmanfish

    navmanfish Whitby Fishing Forum _ Simply The Best

    After conger interest recently any one tried for these?

    Old excellent report.
  11. brian carragher

    brian carragher Whitby Fishing Forum _ Simply The Best

    You know what my plans are Bry, any success and I'll put something up
  12. smokey

    smokey Rockling

    Brian check your messages.
  13. rupert

    rupert Blenny

  14. rupert

    rupert Blenny

  15. rupert

    rupert Blenny

    Had three tope trips so far this summer. Got 4 pals their first ever Tope. Smiles all round as you can see from the pictures above.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2018
  16. navmanfish

    navmanfish Whitby Fishing Forum _ Simply The Best


    Couple taken in nets up here,following these herring/spratts?

    More small commercials netting for pot bait,shame tope might suffer .

    Good pics & happy faces ,great whites for sport @2043, be long gone by then.
  17. brian carragher

    brian carragher Whitby Fishing Forum _ Simply The Best

    Awesome pics Rupert, real nice fishing, thats what I'm after if I ever get afloat this year
  18. rupert

    rupert Blenny

    The middle picture was the smallest tope I've ever seen!! But, a first is a first. Paul was still capped !!

    Has anyone seen any pictures of these netted fish taken further North? I'd love to think they really were tope, but I have a sneaky suspicion they may be spurdog, as I've caught these myself well offshore off Whitby, when targeting Porbeagle? Trouble is, to those not in the know, they are a very similar profile and shape at first glance.

    My most northerly tope was caught in Bridlington bay, where they can be quite plentiful in autumn, but in terms of distance, from the rumours, we're not talking that much further North, so it can't be ruled out?

    Please prove me wrong with pics, as I well freely admit, I may well be wrong - and I do hope I am !!
  19. navmanfish

    navmanfish Whitby Fishing Forum _ Simply The Best


    Plenty used to be caught at hummersea 70_80,s in nets left on scars by

    Locals, also in nets used by boats.

    One big female was "pupping" in bottom of boat & local kids were trying to

    Gather them up & put back into sea.

    Regarding pictures,

    I think you can't "land" tope( I stand correcting) so chances of a commercial taking pics of

    A dead tope are rather slim.

    If any one visits the ship inn marske, a picture in the bar gallery shows a local caught

    Tope mid 70,s.

    Not able to upload copy but will try .
  20. rupert

    rupert Blenny

    That's fascinating.

    Get your wire traces out and lets have some pictures.

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