The Blues Brothers in Donegal Bay, 14/15th Sept. 2016

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The Blues Brothers in Donegal Bay, 14/15th Sept. 2016

Postby johnwest » Fri Sep 16, 2016 11:07 pm

O.k., so we’re not brothers but myself and Chuckaroo decided to give the sharks another go as there seemed to be a break in the weather in mid-week so with time booked off work and accommodation sorted we met at Killybegs and set off. Again it took a while to gather up some mackerel for bait and rubby-dubby, the mackerel we did get being mostly mini-macks with barely a handful big enough for hook bait. A few scad added to the bulk so with the bare minimum, if even that, we steamed out at 20mph to where we had been recommended to try. The theoretical north wind combined with the flood tide should have given us a nice drift across the tide but the wind died away and the boat barely moved, I had to really zoom in on the plotter to see any change of position at all. We were able to bottom fish in 240 ft with only 4/5oz leads so slow was the drift and this produced lots of small whiting to the feathers, I wonder do the blues feed on them? Having previously been blown out several times it was looking like we would be beaten by the other extreme of being practically becalmed. We stuck with it for most of the afternoon and early evening and with an hour of daylight left we headed inshore to try a few drifts over the sand in shallower water. On the way, we were joined by a pod of dolphins which treated us to a display of leaps and bow-riding. This was a new spot to try and in less than an hour we had a spotty ray each and a dab and doggy added to the catch before it was time to head in. Another sharking wipeout.
Next morning was dull and wet but we set off a bit earlier, (no 3 hour drives this time). Same problem finding bait, first fish was a good sized launce before eventually we started getting tiny mackerel. At least they were coming thick and fast and as they say in Scotland, “many’s a mickerel mak’s a mackerel”, or something like that. One lucky drop produced a handful of hookbait sized mackerel so off we went, this time a bit further out into the bay. There was a nice westerly breeze which would keep us moving along and so long as the windier weather forecast for later didn’t come too soon, we should be fine. Chuckaroo chopped fish and I tramped them into oblivion along with the bran and oil and it was with optimism that we filled the onion bag and tied it to the cleat. Hooks baited and over the side, we fished one rod each, mine at about 20ft deep and Chuckaroo’s at about 30ft and further out from the boat. Now we waited and fished lighter rods on the bottom to fill time and top up the fish supply. Again, plenty of small whiting though I did get one half decent one on a whole mini-mack. A small gurnard also attacked the feathers along with a couple of small mackerel but reeling up small fish from 240 ft becomes tiresome so the rods were stowed in the rocket launcher on the stern. Sadly the wind seemed to die away and again the boat was barely moving. After 3-4 hours, we had barely moved a mile if that and I think doubts were setting in, were we covering enough ground, was the rubby-dubby working properly, was there enough particles coming out of the bag, were the baits at the right depth etc. At one point I saw something conical and dark sticking out of the water some distance off but too far to see clearly though I was sure it wasn’t a bird, a seal possibly but I didn’t think so. A short while later, Chuckaroo’s reel gave a few clicks for no apparent reason, it was too calm for a wave or swell to have caused it. His float was perfectly still in the water so we paid no more attention until a short while later it started moving across the surface. Jaws revisited. Chuckaroo tightened into the fish as I reeled in my shark rod and the other light rod and stowed them in the rocket launcher, little did we realise the fun this would generate! Shark on, and then apparently off again but it was heading straight for the boat. Chuckaroo reeled like crazy to take up the slack and the rod took on a pleasing bend as the weight of the fish took effect. This fish was going to fight dirty! It dived under the boat and then caught the line around the rubby-dubby bag. We got that sorted and stowed the bag on board out of the way only for it take the line around the engine. Fortunately it was the 200lb rubbing trace that bore the brunt of this manoeuvre, not the 35lb mainline. Once the line was freed from the engine, I raised the leg out of the water to prevent a repeat. The shark then headed for the front of the boat so Chuckaroo had to get the tip of his rod above the 3 rods standing upright in the stern, then over the top of the radio aerial and around the bows while I did my best to get out of the way. A few runs vertically down and the shark was starting to tire so we thought it was time to consider getting it aboard. With the trace swivel at the rod eye, I grabbed the trace and pulled the shark towards the boat, it wasn’t too happy and started to thrash around before making a run. A loop of the mono trace caught around my finger tip but I managed to twist my finger free before it hurt, (too much anyway). I won’t make that mistake again. Anyhow, the shark was alongside again and I grabbed a pectoral and started hauling, I don’t know what Chuckaroo was holding, perhaps his breath, but whatever, the shark was aboard. Chuckaroo was astride it to stop it thrashing around, a quick bit of work with the pliers and it was photo time. I washed it down with the magic sponge to clean it up a bit while Chuckaroo lifted it in his arms (sleeves rolled up at this point, he won’t make that mistake again!). We also measured the nose to fork length as we had no means of weighing it, back in the water and hold it for a while until it regained its composure before it swam off. Magnificent! At this point I realised that the dark conical thing I had seen earlier had been a shark dorsal fin. Three trips amounting to 4 days fishing and at last success had come. After savouring the moment it was time to get the dubby bag back in the water in the hope that the slick wasn’t interrupted for too long. The next run would be mine regardless of whose rod it came to, otherwise Chuckaroo would have been facing a long walk home starting from the middle of Donegal Bay, though at this moment in time I think he probably felt like he could have walked on water. As it happened, the next run came to his rod, he can now justifiably refer to this as his “shark rod”. I had rebaited the rod and was paying out the line, a very slow process given the calm conditions and the float was barely 20ft from the boat when I saw a shark swim past the boat about 15ft down. A few moments later there was a splash at the float as a shark took a snap at it, I’ve heard of getting caught hook, line and sinker but hook, line and float? Then the shark swam past the boat again just under the surface and Chuckaroo spotted that it had the trace trailing out of its mouth. “You’ve got him”. So while he reeled in the other rod, I tightened into the shark and set the hook. Unlike Chuckaroo’s fish which was a streetfighter, this one was Marquis of Queensbury rules, it tore off away from the boat stripping line and diving deep repeatedly. I have had a few decent tope over the years but this was something special, the power of these fish! I don’t know how long it took but eventually the fish came alongside. In the meantime Chuckaroo had done a great job clearing the decks, (we only thought we were ready for his fish). We got the fish in quickly and relatively easily; if nothing else, we’re fast learners. A few photos and a quick forklength measure and back into the water. We had both got our first blue shark and after a lot of waiting and frustration, two sharks come to the boat in an hour, just like buses. After all the doubts, we must have done something right. At this point I must acknowledge some tips and advice I received; JimC’s articles on sharking in Topfisher, Enda O’Callaghan from Killybegs and Rushnaldo from the site. That said, just call me Quint!
We settled for that and headed inshore for a “wind down” for the last hour or so. We tried the same mark as yesterday again and in a short time we had a few more spotted rays and a dogfish. Chuckaroo thought he was into a good fish but it was a spotty coming in backwards, still a nice fish. The forecast stiffening wind and rain suddenly arrived and with the sea getting a nasty chop, we headed back to port for a celebratory drink. I had a sparkling water and lime while Chuckaroo had a much more butch drink, a pint of coke. His forearms were on fire now from the sharkskin exfoliation, he may be 6ft 12” but he’s quite a delicate wee thing really!
By the way, the sharks measured 64” and 66” nose to fork, combined with the pics, any estimates of weights would be very welcome.
I’ve just remembered what happened to Quint, on second thoughts just call me johnwest.
Attachments
14.JPG
Spotty at dusk
14.JPG (101.76 KiB) Viewed 358 times
13.JPG
Chuckaroo's supper
12.JPG
Chuckaroo cracks a smile
11.JPG
Result!
2013 species; 31

2014 species; 27

2015 species; 28

2016 species; 32

2017 species;28

2018 species; 33

2019 species; ballan wrasse, coalfish, cuckoo wrasse, dab, dogfish, flounder, goldsinny wrasse, mackerel, plaice, pollack, poorcod, pouting, scad, sea scorpion, spotty ray, spurdog, thornback, tub gurnard, turbot, whiting.

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Re: The Blues Brothers in Donegal Bay, 14/15th Sept. 2016

Postby johnwest » Fri Sep 16, 2016 11:16 pm

Some more pics...
Attachments
10.JPG
Back ye go
9.JPG
A satisfying bend
8.JPG
Blue on Blue
7.jpg
And away
6.JPG
What are you looking at?
2013 species; 31

2014 species; 27

2015 species; 28

2016 species; 32

2017 species;28

2018 species; 33

2019 species; ballan wrasse, coalfish, cuckoo wrasse, dab, dogfish, flounder, goldsinny wrasse, mackerel, plaice, pollack, poorcod, pouting, scad, sea scorpion, spotty ray, spurdog, thornback, tub gurnard, turbot, whiting.

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Re: The Blues Brothers in Donegal Bay, 14/15th Sept. 2016

Postby johnwest » Fri Sep 16, 2016 11:22 pm

Another few pics... No doubt Chuckaroo will have something to add.
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5.JPG
Ray coming in backwards
4.JPG
Spotty ray
3.JPG
Shark onboard
2.JPG
Hurry up with the Photo Chuckaroo
1.jpg
End of a Perfect Day
2013 species; 31

2014 species; 27

2015 species; 28

2016 species; 32

2017 species;28

2018 species; 33

2019 species; ballan wrasse, coalfish, cuckoo wrasse, dab, dogfish, flounder, goldsinny wrasse, mackerel, plaice, pollack, poorcod, pouting, scad, sea scorpion, spotty ray, spurdog, thornback, tub gurnard, turbot, whiting.

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Re: The Blues Brothers in Donegal Bay, 14/15th Sept. 2016

Postby SeanA101080 » Sat Sep 17, 2016 12:55 am

Great fishing lads.

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Re: The Blues Brothers in Donegal Bay, 14/15th Sept. 2016

Postby keymcg » Sat Sep 17, 2016 7:15 am

There's something special about the blues. As you say JW their power has to be seen to be believed. Nice to see them being taken on ( relatively! ) light tackle too. Well done to the pair of you.
Hoping to get out for them on Sunday weather permitting probably in the same general area you were in.

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Re: The Blues Brothers in Donegal Bay, 14/15th Sept. 2016

Postby mickser » Sat Sep 17, 2016 10:55 am

A brilliant Read you should take up writing stories the description of your fishing was great
well done
mickser
I have not fished in two years hoping to change that this year with anything ?

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Re: The Blues Brothers in Donegal Bay, 14/15th Sept. 2016

Postby ste c » Sat Sep 17, 2016 3:29 pm

Well done lads

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Re: The Blues Brothers in Donegal Bay, 14/15th Sept. 2016

Postby corbyeire » Sat Sep 17, 2016 4:09 pm

well done, great article and pics. perserverance pays off

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Re: The Blues Brothers in Donegal Bay, 14/15th Sept. 2016

Postby Rob Millard » Sun Sep 18, 2016 10:15 am

Fantastic report, congratulations to you both!
Species 2019: Common Skate, Pollack, Whiting, Coalfish, Cod, Cuckoo Wrasse, Bull Huss, Lsd, Porbeagle Shark, Mackerel, Grey Gurnard, Thornback Ray, Plaice, Turbot, Ballan Wrasse, Dab, Smoothound, herring, haddock, Blonde Ray, Tope

Species 2018 : Porbeagle Shark, Spurdog, Lsd, Coalfish, Pollack, Ling, Mackerel, Haddock, Red Gurnard, Turbot, Dab, Thornback ray, Homelyn Ray, John Dory, Pouting, Ballan Wrasse, Smoothound, Tope, Bass, Bull Huss, Weaver, Painted Ray, Bluefin Tuna

Species 2017 : Cod, Coalfish, Whiting, Poor Cod, Pollack, Bull Huss, Ling, Pouting, Bass, Flounder, Painted Ray, Lsd, Tope, Ballan Wrasse, Mackerel, Herring, Launce, Haddock, Thornback Ray, Conger, Plaice, Turbot, Grey Gurnard, Red Gurnard, Cuckoo Ray, Tub Gurnard, Dab, Smoothound, black goby, Scad, Cuckoo Wrasse, Megrim

Species 2016 : (32)

Species 2015 : (30)

Species 2014 : (29)

Species 2013 : (34)

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Re: The Blues Brothers in Donegal Bay, 14/15th Sept. 2016

Postby rushnaldo » Sun Sep 18, 2016 10:35 pm

Fantastic report great pics well done lads

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Re: The Blues Brothers in Donegal Bay, 14/15th Sept. 2016

Postby ninted » Mon Sep 19, 2016 1:11 pm

Great stuff lads do you use circle hooks I do since I gut hooked my first blue, never had that problem since!

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Re: The Blues Brothers in Donegal Bay, 14/15th Sept. 2016

Postby pajo » Mon Sep 19, 2016 2:05 pm

Fair play to ye, men. Great report, great fishing and great fish!

Pajo

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Re: The Blues Brothers in Donegal Bay, 14/15th Sept. 2016

Postby johnwest » Tue Sep 20, 2016 10:41 am

ninted wrote:Great stuff lads do you use circle hooks I do since I gut hooked my first blue, never had that problem since!
That's definitely something to look at next year. What size/make would you recommend?
2013 species; 31

2014 species; 27

2015 species; 28

2016 species; 32

2017 species;28

2018 species; 33

2019 species; ballan wrasse, coalfish, cuckoo wrasse, dab, dogfish, flounder, goldsinny wrasse, mackerel, plaice, pollack, poorcod, pouting, scad, sea scorpion, spotty ray, spurdog, thornback, tub gurnard, turbot, whiting.
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Re: The Blues Brothers in Donegal Bay, 14/15th Sept. 2016

Postby ninted » Tue Sep 20, 2016 11:38 am

Most circles are pretty strong and good quality as they are quite specialist I haven't seen crappy ones in shops. I use quite small ones 6/0 I think but I'll check to make sure. They're very strong so larger sizes aren't necessary. Had blues to 150 with no issues played em quite hard.

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Re: The Blues Brothers in Donegal Bay, 14/15th Sept. 2016

Postby johnwest » Tue Sep 20, 2016 8:12 pm

ninted wrote:Most circles are pretty strong and good quality as they are quite specialist I haven't seen crappy ones in shops. I use quite small ones 6/0 I think but I'll check to make sure. They're very strong so larger sizes aren't necessary. Had blues to 150 with no issues played em quite hard.

There's no way one of those is getting into my boat!
2013 species; 31

2014 species; 27

2015 species; 28

2016 species; 32

2017 species;28

2018 species; 33

2019 species; ballan wrasse, coalfish, cuckoo wrasse, dab, dogfish, flounder, goldsinny wrasse, mackerel, plaice, pollack, poorcod, pouting, scad, sea scorpion, spotty ray, spurdog, thornback, tub gurnard, turbot, whiting.
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Re: The Blues Brothers in Donegal Bay, 14/15th Sept. 2016

Postby chuckaroo » Tue Sep 20, 2016 9:18 pm

Super concise account there Paddy. Just read over it all again and was reliving it all again.. what a great day out :D

Persistence paid off. As johnwest says, it was our fourth day trying for blue shark, we had been blown off the water prematurely on 2 previous occasions and had blanked on a third, it had been thoroughly frustrating considering the mileage and effort put in each time. But it was well worth it, what a stunning shark to catch, the success was made all the sweeter in the end I reckon 8)

We had a couple of very enjoyable days in general. We saw plenty of dolphins come right up to the boat (some pics and footage below), saw what we were pretty sure was a tuna smash on the surface, enjoyed the splendid scenery Donegal Bay has to offer and, enjoyed a little bit of scratching in between. All credit to you Paddy, thanks for all your efforts - organising the boat and preparing the rubby dubby and rigs, great stuff. Have added a wee pic too of the fine dinner you provided me lol - the whiting was delicious.

Thanks for all the comments. Enjoy a few more pics below and a few attempts made at taking a few videos underwater - easier said than done as i could just about reach the water hanging over the side of the boat! :lol:

Oh yes, regarding weight, I found one table online anyway that provides average fork-length/weight ratios for some sharks, to include blues. It is provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the States: http://nefsc.noaa.gov/nefsc/Narraganset ... pagelw.pdf
From the table -
My fish: 64" = 5.33' = approx 58lb
Johnwest's fish: 66" = 5.5' = 65lb
I'll settle for that anyway, the weights will be there abouts. Has anyone else on here got a different chart to see how it compares?

14322502_10157442651270582_5587899775280095430_n.jpg
dolphins close up!

14322276_10157442679695582_4219062573452212569_n.jpg
14322276_10157442679695582_4219062573452212569_n.jpg (29.31 KiB) Viewed 191 times

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http://youtube.com/watch?v=mw6tO3yhzM4

http://youtube.com/watch?v=iNH4IJk0ngo

ninted wrote:Great stuff lads do you use circle hooks I do since I gut hooked my first blue, never had that problem since!

ninted wrote:Most circles are pretty strong and good quality as they are quite specialist I haven't seen crappy ones in shops. I use quite small ones 6/0 I think but I'll check to make sure. They're very strong so larger sizes aren't necessary. Had blues to 150 with no issues played em quite hard.

Thanks ninted. Circle hooks are definitely a big consideration for next time, even a necessity. Both our sharks were gut hooked unfortunately, it was really disappointing - johnwest's fish was gut hooked even thought the fish was 'struck' pretty much as soon as it took the bait. They must try and swallow it pretty quickly, I felt bad about leaving a big hook and a few inches of heavy wire In them.

150lb? no problem :lol:
Would you have weighted that fish or used a chart ninted?
Last edited by chuckaroo on Wed Sep 21, 2016 10:10 am, edited 2 times in total.
Charlie

2019 targets:
a specimen flounder (2.5lb+ or 40cm+), first tope, first bluefin tuna
First wolffish, a 35lb+ shore-caught halibut, a 20lb+ shore-caught cod, a 10lb+ coley, a 4lb+ plaice (Norway)

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Re: The Blues Brothers in Donegal Bay, 14/15th Sept. 2016

Postby corbyeire » Tue Sep 20, 2016 10:48 pm

Wheres that dinner lol!
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Re: The Blues Brothers in Donegal Bay, 14/15th Sept. 2016

Postby chuckaroo » Tue Sep 20, 2016 11:48 pm

Oh yes. Lol.
Here!:
image.jpeg

And here's what happens what you pick up a shark with your sleeves rolled up! Lol
Lesson learned.. :P
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Charlie

2019 targets:
a specimen flounder (2.5lb+ or 40cm+), first tope, first bluefin tuna
First wolffish, a 35lb+ shore-caught halibut, a 20lb+ shore-caught cod, a 10lb+ coley, a 4lb+ plaice (Norway)
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Re: The Blues Brothers in Donegal Bay, 14/15th Sept. 2016

Postby jellybait » Wed Sep 21, 2016 7:37 am

Well Done Lads , Nothing like a plan eventually coming together ,makes it even better in the end

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Re: The Blues Brothers in Donegal Bay, 14/15th Sept. 2016

Postby ninted » Wed Sep 21, 2016 10:39 am

Well, we did the 'lift the shark and if it hurts then he's really big' test - yeah we used a formula based on length and girth etc. With circle hooks, just if you don't know, there is no strike. You let the fish run for a few secs and then just tighten the drag and hang on while the hook comes to the mouth and beds in. I haven't lost one yet apart from early dropped baits which would have happened regardless of the hook used..

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