This last month has followed the usual pattern for August: mixed weather, and mixed bags of fish. Some days have been calm and glorious, others torrential rain and strong winds. It is a month separating the main run of summer species from the early arrival of winter species so it can be unpredictable. One of the distractions, for those with a lot of patience, is shark fishing but more on that later.

The larger tope usually move off again by August but there were still some good specimens caught: Peter Churchill 50lb; Dan Churchill 50lb; Clive Smith 40lb and Dean Lodge 40lb.

Calmer sunny days means drifting for bass is a very pleasant way of fishing. We have good stocks in the area. Graham Jones caught his personal best of 11lb and Grant Childs shows one of 6lb 15oz. Most common species of rays are resident on many marks and although the undulate ray stocks are under pressure we seen to catch a good number of them. Mackerel shoals are again scarce although some huge individuals have been caught, James Atkins shows an example. Scad are plentiful however, and make good fresh baits.

Our main event of the month was a Species Competition, organised by Chris Ellis. This was a SMAC competition and we plan to hold this as an Open competition next year, and we will be working with sponsors to put up an attractive prize table. The competition was won by Bill Arnold with 10 species (tompot blenny, corkwing wrasse, ballan wrasse, tub gurnard, plaice, pouting, conger eel, dog fish, scad, black bream); Steve Andrews in second place with 9 and Kris Scott in third with 8 so it was a close fight to the end.

The Juniors also did well – Jake Kelly shows off his silver eel and Max Churchill a smoothhound.

Sharks are always a possibility south of the Island, although they are not in sufficient numbers to rival the fishing further south. It takes a lot of research, planning and patience to catch one but the experience is amazing. These days the fish are released at the side of the boat to minimise further stress, so weights are estimates. We have two catches to report.

Ian Hewett captured an estimated 450 – 500lb Porbeagle equalling his previous best. The shark came up in the chum slick and showed on the surface close to the floats before taking a live Horse Mackerel fished 30 feet below. The fish was officially ‘caught’ after a 2hr struggle when the skipper Peter Churchill touched the leader but it took off again and fought for a further hour before she was ready to finally come alongside to be photographed and released – see pictures.

Heber Crawford fished solo in his own boat and caught his first thresher shark. Coincidentally Peter Churchill was nearby and seeing the action was able to approach and take photos. It was estimated to weigh 220lb and the story of the catch in Heber’s own words makes great reading. See the article “Solo Shark Fishing”.

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