Wicklow Boat Charter’s skipper Kit Dunne reports on a few recent trips when he recorded Treble Specimens of Tope and Smooth-Hounds. And for this great achievement the boat wins Catch of the Week. Having recorded 3 Specimen Tope in an evening session recently, soon after Kit’s boat the LISIN boasted a treble of Specimen Smooth-Hounds with the Kilkenny Specimen Hunters group. After some great results with specimen Hounds lately the signs were there for big Tope, the pack Tope had showed up and I considered the big ones could be about too so we set off to target the big females. The Irish Specimen Tope weight is 40lb and the length based threshold is 1600mm long.

BullHuss numbers are creeping up, another good one today.
BullHuss numbers are creeping up, another good one today.

With a small party of 4 we set off to try for some mackerel first, not too fruitful to be frank ! One lousy Mackerel and a few Coalies were caught. Not put off by this we set anchor on my favoured mark and start baiting up heavily to create a scent. It wasn’t too long before we had a run, Matt had his bait lifted and a run started, not committed the fish just dropped the bait and dis-appeared soon after.

It was a good sign anyway !

Gary Walsh shows off 1 of his 3 Thornback Ray
Gary Walsh shows off 1 of his 3 Thornback Ray

Not long after after we had 3 more takes and baits dropped but then as the tide picked up the fish took more readily. I lifted my rod as I seen a keen bite, letting the ratchet off I let line go freely, and away it went, no ratchet – no noise but I could feel the line rip off the reel, this was BIG. After a struggle, some fine nods and a few long runs I had the Tope by the boat, this was only the start of it.

Kit's Specimen Tope of 45lb was 1640mm long.
Kit's Specimen Tope of 45lb was 1640mm long.

This fish was long and fat, luckily I had 2 new large and long nets made of heavy trawl netting. I put faith in keen specimen hunter John Millerick as he netted the fish. After what seemed an age we managed to net her, she weighed in at 45lb comfortably, was 1640mm long, well need I say more she was a length based specimen. We photographed her on the measure, recorded and tagged we let her away in good health.

Dublin Angling's crew show off John Brierton's specimen Hound of 13.4lb
Dublin Angling's crew show off John Brierton's specimen Hound of 13.4lb

After that excitement I thought it was over, not a chance, Kieran hooked up in the next hour and it was to be the same story again. He tired the fish out after what was a massive run in the increasing tide, and eventually she was beside the boat. I netted this one after a few attempts, recorded and tagged another one at 1610mm long. Kieran caught the only fresh mackerel and wasn’t giving it up easily, he baited up again with fresh and went and caught another, we never imagined this was going to be the result, but it was one of those days. Three specimen Tope were caught and released in that one session.

John Barry with his  3.5Kg Hound
John Barry with his 3.5Kg Hound

Within a week later on a charter with we never imagined we might get 3 specimens again, but we did, we landed 3 specimen weight Smooth-Hounds among many other fine fish. Catches of Thornback Ray have increased recently with showing more and more, and Gurnards are very prolific.

Dave Sexton with a fine SmoothHound of 8.1lb
Dave Sexton with a fine SmoothHound of 8.1lb

On a recent trip we had Gurnards in 4’s on feathers. The temperatures are at last up and the pace has picked up, roll on July and August.

Kit Dunne
Lisin

Go fishing…

Angling Charters are offered on a full-day, half-day and evening trip basis and can be tailored to suit your needs.
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Kit Dunne
Wicklow Boat Charters,
Telephone: +353 (0)87 6832179 +353 (0)404 67031
Email: [email protected] Website: www.wicklowboatcharters.ie