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Tope fishing Mull of Galloway


henry d
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I was asked by friends if I fancied the MOGSAF this year and although it is not my thing I accepted, it's been a long year or so.

First day after a later than expected time we launched into a slight chop and filled up on mackerel and a few whiting quite quickly. Got to our mark quickly, anchored up and sent down a variety of baits and a bag of rubby dubby. Although it was a tope event there were smaller prizes for thornback, smoothound/starry, and huss and total length of biggest fish, all fish to be measured, photographed and returned.

As the tide strengthened we started to get bites and a couple of cleaned hooks, so the doggies were about! I had a couple of good nods then a short run, more nods and a short run which I tightened into and rather than a screaming fight a heavy weight kited about in the tide and a nice thornback was netted, the biggest on our boat that weekend at 52cm across. Unfortunately due to me hoping for a tope or similar I gave her too long and the hook was well down but it was a barbless circle and with two of us working together got her back. 

We seemed to get periods of time when it was action stations, then long lulls, dogs were a minor irritation but the skipper had two decent runs on from a small but fiesty tope the other a similar sized starry other than that we had a few thornback. We checked in, had a pint, cleaned and stowed and back to the hotel for a meal a few more beers and bed.

We had discussed tactics previously as the forecast was for strong southerly winds and the organisers placed a limit on where we could fish. There were a few boats that had gone south on the Saturday but struggled like the rest of us, but no one could go there today. We were 21st iirc and middle of the pack for the species apart from huss as we didn't get one, so tactics were to target huss and see if we could get a bigger smoothie as tope were thin on the ground. Shortly after anchoring I had a run, not a screamer, but a steady run and I slowly wound up the lever drag, as I was using circles, and it was fish on. A decent fight with a lot of angry head shakes saw our first huss come in, the circle was neatly in the corner and dropped out as we laid it on the deck. Now came the fun and games! As we set up the measure the huss was allowed to slowly sinuate in the aft corner, but he suddenly starts to thrash across the deck and wrap around my friend's leg and he managed to jump up enough to release it just before it got it's teeth into him. Now I had to unwind it and get it straight enough for a good measure. Mr Angry had other ideas! Its surprising how they can even twist like a spiral and into an S shape at the same time, but by putting a cloth over it's eyes and steadily straightening it from head to tail we got a good picture.

Now we need to get a bigger smoothie! That was the skipper's job, she was using hermit but the dogs loved it too however during a lull we saw a double knock on her rod then it screamed off but as she tightened up it dropped the bait! Apart from a couple of short runs that was it however the other crew member had a beautiful but small starry and a thornback and I got a slightly smaller huss that came to the net like a sack of spuds. Given Sunday's conditions I don't think we did badly but we were over the moon to find out we placed 17th however we did feel like we could have kicked ourselves as we had forgotten that there was a £10 prize for biggest mackerel and that they would have been added to the total length tally, so we could have placed better.

Anyway, a great weekend and I am still feeling bushed from the early alarm calls, long days at sea and the battering coming back in on Sunday.

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