I was out practicing for an upcoming club species hunt when I started getting messages that the Porbeagles had reappeared and it was all over social media. It was very early but I wasn’t surprised and immediately started planning a trip while I tried to fool the mini species of Dundalk Bay.
I was unable to get my Monday night graveyard shift off work . I was sleepy but high on anticipation when I left home and pointed the battle bus north west at 9 in the morning straight after finishing work.
At half twelve I arrived and with the help of crewman for the day Mike, we launched “Fish Magnet “ straight onto the sand and waited for the tide to start flooding so we could float the boat and steam to the Shark marks. Kayak Graham arrived then. I’m fascinated with the skill and commitment involved in kayak fishing but it’s not for me as I can only swim the anchor stroke.
Soon we were at the mark and we started jigging for whatever baitfish were about. Retrieving my feather trace I noticed a dark blue shape emerge from the depths following my gear. This reminded me of when we first discovered Porbeagles at this mark, then they also followed our traces to the Top.
I told Mike what I’d seen. Literally in seconds he had a stale half frozen Mackerel on the hook. I wasn’t too long after him either. Perhaps 30 seconds later Mike yelped that he was hooked up.
Now my problem was to retrieve my bait without it being taken as a double hook-up here can be disastrous. I was forced to wind my bait in as fast as my right hand could turn the reel handle to avoid the snapping jaws of another Porbeagle that followed it right to the boatside. We noticed Kayak Graham was also hooked up.
Mikes fish put up a great account of itself and measured out at a little over 150lbs. It was my turn next and I wasn’t waiting long for my first taste of action as a Porbeagle took my bait, swam to the surface then charged at full pelt into the transom of the boat before tearing off 80 meters of line, surfacing and then spitting the hook back in my face. It was one bad ass Shark and deserved its premature freedom.
Soon enough I was hooked up again. After a winter catching small stuff my big fish memory was still only kicking in, but despite this I managed to get this one boat side for measuring tagging and release.
Next up it was Mike again. He skilfully fought and brought another brute boatside that measured up just shy of 2 meters fork length. A lovely female. It was my turn again and just as I was setting up a drift, word came through that Graham on his Kayak would like some assistance in measuring up his Shark. We soon picked him out on the horizon and helped him measure and release his prize after congratulating him. I have huge respect for Graham, he is a true trail blazer and always kind with information.
When we returned to the mark it was obvious the tidal flow had changed and indeed the Sharks had switched off. So rather than flog a dead horse we headed for shore and a celebratory pint. Mike was a super crew man, his knowledge and experience certainly helped produce great results on the day.
That night the Galway gang of JP, Stuart and Mike arrived after a long troublesome journey. The chat was all about Porbeagles and I think they were that excited after hearing my stories that they didn’t notice the cold as they slept in Mikes van that night. I poshed it up by staying in the local hostel. LOL.
The view from the Sandrock Hostel over Trawbreaga Bay is truly stunning. After a restful sleep with a Mug of tea for breakfast it was time to get the boat wet and see what awaited us. Different crew today in the Shape of Mike from Galway and Gee Gee from France.
I have seen before many a time how the Shark fishing can just switch off, so it was some relief when we arrived at the mark to see J.P. hooked up. It wasn’t long before the Porbeagles were pulling at our baits and I was hooked up. This shark fought very hard and dirty but was alongside after about 25 mins. She was on her way about 3 mins later sporting a fisheries board tag in her dorsal. I love the shark release, they always swim away strongly and defiantly after a short run boat side to get the water flowing their gills.
The next fish was Mike’s and after a bruising near 80 minute encounter which included a snapped Rod he had is first Porbeagle alongside. With a 2 meter tail length and a big girth she was an impressive animal. Mike was ecstatic, it was his first ever Porbeagle . Gee Gee snapped away the trophy shots. It was a special moment.
An issue was that as the Sharks were being played was that other Sharks were swimming with them and slicing the line as they did this. So it became important to keep the fish on a short a line as possible to try and minimise the risk. We then got another one boatside who released himself as I went to tag him.
About this stage of the day it was noticeable that the sharks were following the baits, butting them but not taking them no matter how we varied the retrieve so I decided we should catch some fresh baits before returning to Shark fishing. Gee Gee and Mike weren’t long catching enough Pollack and Coalies to last us the rest of the day.
Well the fresh bait appeared to make a big difference and soon I was hooked up into a strong angry Porgie who just kept pulling the boat round in circles. After 50 minutes a gorgeous 2.2 meter tail length female Porbeagle was alongside posing for photographs before being released to continue terrorising its smaller ocean neighbours.
Mike hooked up again and he really enjoyed this fight as the pressure was off and he was in his element. We didn’t attempt to take any sharks inboard this trip so with the Shark alongside more photographs and some video taken it was time to head for shore, say our goodbyes and promise to meet up again soon.
There were many moments to savour over the two days. Incredible scenery, stunning weather, lost Sharks, boated Sharks, sharks ramming boats, snapped rods, firsts, personal bests and new friendships.
I have now realised what I loved most about those couple of days . It was meeting great people and making great memories in beautiful surroundings.
Now back to the grey factory to reflect and day dream about my next trip. Good Luck.