Summertime Boat fishing for Irish Tope. June to end September

The Tope is one of the hardest fighting fish found in our waters off Northern Ireland! With up to sixty pound females not uncommon and fish to thirty-five pounds regularly caught, tackle and anglers are put to the ultimate test!

The fishing can be fast and furious and sometimes down right chaotic with runs and if your not careful break-ups from every side of the boat If you would like to sample our form of Big Game Fishing then June to Mid September is the best period.

The cost of Tope fishing is naturally more expensive than our normal fishing trips at £400 as this is due to the distances we have to travel, which can be up to a sixty mile round trip.

For individuals interested in going Tope fishing we offer 6 ‘open boat trips per season’ taking 8 anglers each these places are limited and booking /time arrangements are advertised on the front page of our website.

For the novice we offer our usual free expert tuition with rod hire and tackle options if required, and of course all the usual facilities you would expect from a top of the range charter boat. Early booking is advised, as this exciting fishing is very popular.

Click here to book a trip – or contact Skipper Richard Connor 07712115751

We have clients from all over UK, Ireland and all over europe including Germany, Holland and Belgium.

Biggest fish caught 2006 Landed on the Causeway lass Weighed in at over 56lb! One of the largest fish caught in the area. Biggest fish caught in the area 2007 on the Causeway Lass a superb 59 pound female. Biggest fish 2008 54 pounds. Best fish in area 2009 56 pounds. Our biggest fish 2010 52 pounds.

We are proud of our reputation of being the ONLY Portrush Charter Boat putting our anglers on the best marks giving them the chance of specimen sized Tope!

Tackle used:

Hook sizes
The use of bronze finished hooks is the singularly most important factor in the release of hooked sharks, as any hook that has to be left in a fish will dissolve rapidly. A large hook, size 6/0 or above, is recommended.

Tope are a large, strong fish with sharp teeth and rough skin. Losing a fish because of an inappropriate trace increases the likelihood of fish mortality due to trailing line. The trace should be at least 2 metres in length so the tope’s tail can’t hit your main line. The preferred traces are either 2 metres of 250lb mono straight through or 25cm. of 150lb wire to a swivel attached to 175cm. of 100-150lb. mono/braid.

When to strike
The old books used to say, “Strike at the start of the second run”, but this will usually lead to a deep hooked fish. Once the tope has started the familiar screaming run, count to six on a big bait (full mackerel or flapper) or three on a small bait (fillet size) and wind down firmly into fish. It is imperative you wind quickly at first to get rid of the bow before lifting the rod to set the hook.

The wandering of an Irish Tope

The tagging of marine sport fishes was initiated in 1970 by the Inland Fisheries Trust. The tagging programme was introduced to discover the migratory patterns of sea angling species and as a conservation measure to get sea anglers to release their catches alive. The tagging operation was carried out on a voluntary basis and the charter boat skippers gave their full co-operation. The tope were tagged in the dorsal fin with jumbo rototags, which were originally designed as a tag for cattle.

The distribution of tope was known to be confined to the North East Atlantic Ocean but nothing was known of their migratory patterns until this study was initiated. Up to December 2000, a total of 3,220 tope were tagged and released. To date 268 (8.3%) have been recaptured. The migratory movements are shown in the illustration.

Results of migration patterns of 268 tagged tope in the North East Atlantic.

The greatest distance travelled by a tagged tope was 2,185 miles. This fish, released in Tralee Bay was recaptured in the Mediterranean Sea off the cost of Tunisia in less than 3 years after being tagged. The longest period a tagged tope had been at liberty was 5,538 days – over 15 years. This tope was tagged in Donegal Bay in 1982 and was taken on rod and line off the west coast of Scotland in 1997 and was released again alive.

Tope are recaptured in gill nets, tangle nets, by trawlers of various nationalities and by anglers at home and abroad. Recaptures have been made recorded from such locations as Denmark, Norway, the North Sea, Faroe Islands, United Kingdom, France, Spain, Portugal, the Atlantic coast of Morocco, the Canary Islands and the Azores Islands. Three recaptures were made in the Mediterranean Sea, off Spain, Algeria and Tunisia. Of course quite a number of tagged tope have been taken all around the Irish Coast.

A number of tope tagged in Irish waters have been recaptured close to their release point shortly after tagging. One fish was recaptured after 405 days close to its tagging site, was released alive and was again recaptured after another 405 days at liberty only 50 miles away. This poses the question – where did this fish travel to in the intervening periods? If a similar study was to be carried out off the Iberian coasts, the Canary Islands and the Azores further information would be obtained which might show cyclical movements within its distribution range.

We know that some tags have fallen off tope after being released. Tags have been returned after they were found on beaches on Irish shores and from Penzance in Cornwall. A few tags were returned after they were found caught up in gill nets, demonstrating that there could be a significant loss of tags when tope come into contact with gill nets. Undoubtedly some of these tags would fall out of the gill nets and be lost.

The 8.3% recapture rate must be regarded as a minimum figure. It is expected that additional returns will be made on fish tagged over the last three to four years. It is also a possibility that some captors may not return their tags and an allowance must also be made for fish shedding their tags.

A lot of valuable information has been collected during this voluntary tagging programme. The charter skippers take details of the tagged fish and also note the number of anglers on board, the other species of fish caught as well as the nationalities of the anglers. On the 88 charter boats participating last year, the total number of rod angling days was 38,430.