Back to Basics July 2021

Back to Basics – Tope Fishing by Martin Wood

Tope basics:With the summer now in full swing and waters warming up nicely we have started to see an abundance of summer species now flooding in although some areas are just starting to show so let’s look at one species that has great fighting qualities and is achievable to so any anglers around the UK. So where do we start with fishing for Tope?

Tope are a type of shark with a long streamline light grey body and white underside body in a typically shark shape with a mouth full of razor sharp teeth with which they prey upon fish as its main diet.They can grow up to 6ft in length and weigh up to 100LB’s the current shore record is around the 77lb mark.Tope are a hard fighting fish and well regarded by anglers for giving such a good account for themselves. Make sure when you fish for tope you have your drag /ratchet set so the fish can take line freely and you don’t lose your rod and rest even a small one will happily take your gear into the water with ease, make sure to let them take the bait sometimes you will get a “click click click” and then it stops just hold fire on striking, if the fish isn’t spooked then it will start running with it then strike and set the hook.Rigs:Pulley rig: 100lb rig body & 150lb-200lb mono trace or a plastic coated wire trace on the end leading to a 6/0-8/0 hook .Running ledger: 100lb rig body & 150lb-200lb mono trace or plastic coated wire trace on the end leading to a 6/0-8/0 hook.Baits:Mackerel: – Whole Joey mackerel with scored sides and hooked through the mid section or last quarter of the fish.

  • Whole fillet hooked through once and whipped up.
  • Flounder:
  • -Probably the best bait for Tope, take a whole or half a flounder whipped up and hook through once and whip on hook shank.
  • Pouting /small codling / poor cod/ whiting/ herring:
  • -All good baits either fillet the sides and whip up and hook once and then whip up the hook shank to keep attached.
  • Whole fish with hook through lower jaw up and out the top then hook behind the head and out and then whip shank into place.
  • Grounds:
  • Tope love nothing more than fast flowing water and sand running onto rocks where they can chase prey and corner them, they will also stalk wide and deep gulley’s and sandbanks on sandy beaches preying on fish using them like a highway and feeding in these areas.
  • Tope can also be caught over mixed ground or areas that contain a lot of flat fish like flounder, dab and plaice etc.

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