Every year the Tope arrive in good numbers down in the South West of Kerry. I must admit that Tope fishing for me is not something that really does it for me and this more than likely comes down to my South African background where shark fishing was not something we did and really saw them as more of a nuisance, but that said, they do put up a great fight and I make it a day out when they arrive and land one or two before I start fishing for the other summer species that arrive around the coast of Ireland.
A Friend of mine informed me that there was a new spot we were going to and needless to say I was more than eager to try this new spot. This is where the Hobie Kayak really comes into its own and allows us to travel further distances to find new fishing grounds. I was on my Hobie Revolution 16 which is fitted with the Turbo fins for the mirage drive system and this really does help with keeping up a good pace when heading out to the longer distance fishing spots.
With a plan set for the rest morning and a car loaded up we met up the next morning where we rigged up and quickly got out on the water to start the trek out to the mark. We were about half way out when we spotted a large amount of birds working on the surface and then a good number of Dolphins chasing bait fish. Soon we were upon them and they came right towards us and as if they wanted to see what these contraptions peddling around the place where. Always an amazing feeling to share the water with these mammals.
A flat calm sea was on the forecast which was perfect for the day out on the water. I rigged up two rods with Tope Traces which consisted of both multipliers spooled with 30lb Braid. The rigs were simple with a single hook running ledger rig with a small length of nylon coated wired to stop the Tope from biting through the trace. My hook pattern for the Tope was a Cox and Rawle 8/0 Meat Hook which is very sharp and strong. With a chance there was certainly going to be some bigger Tope out here the larger 8/0 hook makes unhooking them a little easier but most importantly allows me to rig a large bait and still keep my finesse with bait presentation. Weights were dependent on the stage of the tide and even when out nearly 4km the tide still pushes hard. My rigs are tied with 50lb mono and my nylon coated wire is tied direct to the mono trace line which takes away the necessity of using crimps. A simple setup really and at the end of the day it is a bit of sport and making sure the fish swims away good and strong.
We anchored up when we reached our preferred spot and it was not long before my mackeral bait was picked up with a surging run. I was quickly on to a Tope and it felt like a decent fish with good solid runs as it stayed deep. After a good fight a decent Tope came to the surface and we got a couple of photos and sent the Tope away back down to carry on with his business.
While at Anchor I baited up with a full Mackeral with the head and tail removed. With there being a number of Dogfish in the area and knowing that the Tope will come up in the water column to take a bait, I was fishing approximately close to 5ft from the bottom which kept the bait away from the ravenous dogfish. It was not long before my rod doubled over and the reel starting singing. I lifted the rod out of my Scotty rod holders and lifted easy into the fish. I was definitely on to a good Tope as it kept running. Soon I was making up line on it and with the water clarity so good I could see the fish coming up from the depths and I was definitely into my best Tope. Getting the Tope to the surface I was able to get it onto my lap and Ciaran came over to take some photos. I was delighted with the size and I am not into estimating the weight of a fish, for me it’s about my own personal experience and what the day and fish means for me.
So what about the Cox and Rawle Meat Hook Pattern? I had no drop runs this day and the hooks are extremely sharp and strong which makes them ideal for the larger Tope. I really like the hook pattern with the wide gape which allows larger sized baits to be used which sometimes will separate the smaller fish from the larger ones.
The Hobie Kayak soon made it back to the shore in no time and with ease. Another Tope session done and a brilliant result and a mark that I am sure to visit again.