Mid-summer Tope by Anthony Byrne
Since I had a Tope a number of weeks ago in Donegal, I was eager to get back up to see if they were still about.
I made a quick call to Graham Smith in Donegal and we formulated a plan.
That plan was to get a group of lads together and head to the North West of Donegal in search for that beautiful shark they call a Tope.
Myself and Macker shared a car and set off on our merry way at 7am on Saturday. The fishing stories were flying and we were eager to get on the water. It took three hours to get to the launch site were we met Tony and John. Graham and Fergal were soon there as well. We weren't long getting kitted out and on the water. Graham led the way to the mark stopping off to pick up fresh bait on the way. Everybody was hitting mackerel except me, in fact Graham hit 20 and he was 2 metres away from me, I couldn't catch one. First up was a small Pollack. I then decided to change to rigs that I know from my own grounds and sure enough I caught some fresh bait. Thank god as the stick was fierce!
We headed out to the chosen mark and anchored up in around 110ft of water. I soon remembered the lazy swells in Donegal can be quite daunting, big long lazy swells washing us back and forward. The fish were flying in, dogfish first followed by ling, gurnard, and mackerel oh and a few coalfish on the way out which gave me a chance to use my new species card which Graham had made for me.
With day one coming to a close the tope were no were to be seen. We headed towards the shore and filled up with mackerel and coalfish with the odd pollack for good measure. Fergal and Tony headed home and Macker, Graham and I set up camp for the night with John wanting the comfort of a B&B. A few beverages were had and we shared a fire cooked roasted chicken as we watched the sun set and waves gently move along the shore.
The decision was made to fish the same venue again the next morning. 6am came and we were awoken by the arrival of Bob and we got on the water very sharpish. Joe also arrived and both Joe and Bob fished in close to shore for pollack and coalfish. We weren't long in picking up fresh bait and Me, Graham and Macker headed to deep water. Well the fishing gods were in form today as the fish came in hard and fast. The first run fought hard but I lost it at the side of the kayak. I baited up and the beautiful sound came screaming from the reel zzzzzzzz. I let it run before striking and bang, fish on. He fought hard like a Celtic warrior; every time I gained an inch he took a metre. We fought for 15 minutes before a beautiful tope came to the kayak
While I was busy with the tope the lads were hitting them as well. Macker had two in total, excellent for his first time to target them and Graham had one and also hooked a skate but couldn't get him to the kayak as the line snapped. I wasn't long waiting for another and again that noise came from the reel zzzzzzz holy sh$t this lad fought hard. Twenty minutes it took to get him on the kayak. I was physically exhausted and drained but well worth the battle.
I was burnt out at this stage and enough was enough. The tides were picking up and the winds coming in. As I got in I was met by John who had missed all the action so he could have a nice lie in!
A top class weekend, one I will treasure for a long time.