Here come the Tope

We have not had a good run of Tope in the Estuary for a long time so it was a lovely surprise this week to see some cracking fish turning up.
The biggest reported was a 57 lb fish on Derek Mole’s boat Eastern Promise on Saturday followed by a 51lb and another 4 over 40lb.
There are plenty of fish between 30 and 50lb and a good run of 10 to 20lb fish as well, both male and female. Best baits are fresh mackerel but the frozen baits are starting to work as more Tope turn up and get competitive.
Because of the chances of hooking one of these big fish have increased significantly anglers should now rig up as if they are targeting them if they are using fish baits.
Re-spool your reels with good quality 25-30lb line with a shock leader, traces should be wire or heavy 150-200lb mono, 8/0 hooks and 210 gram gripper leads.
You will also need a big T bar or long nosed pliers, if you want to weigh them use a big sling and do not weigh them from the tail but support the whole body.
Finally the most important point. keep away from the mouth, hold the fish under the pecs or by the dorsal if you are feeling strong. if you get a bite from one of these fish you will be taking a ride in a helicopter for lots of stitches !!!.
There are a lot more Smooth hounds showing up especially inshore where we have seen several fish up to 16lb. These fish have been taking squid baits whilst roker fishing but anglers targeting them with hermit crab have had better results.
There are more Bass now with the biggest we have seen at a cracking 11lb from an inshore mark last week on squid.
There are still plenty of Thornbacks inshore although by the time of my next report they will probably have moved offshore.
There are a few mackerel but they are well scattered, hopefully by next week’s neap tides there will be more.
Prospects are excellent, if the Tope hang around the Estuary for the summer it could be our best season for quite some time.
Tight lines.