UK Pro Team member Nathan Evans shares his tips on how to catch Tope. Tope are a species of shark that can be found across the UK. They can grow to over 80 lbs in weight and over six feet in length but such specimens are rare and fish in the 10-40 lb range are much more common. They have the classic shark shape with a mouth full of sharp teeth to match.
Tope are one of the biggest fish we catch from the kayak in the UK and what more does everyone want to catch than a bigger fish than their last. Peak time for Tope is from May to September. Although many deep water marks can be found holding them throughout the winter months, if you’re lucky enough to find them.
You don’t need to go overboard with strong tackle for these fish, a 12 /20lb outfit paired with a multiplier and 50lb braid will do fine, on the terminal end I use 200lb mono with size 10/0 circle hooks.
There are various marks I choose to fish in West Wales but what they have in common is an average depth of around 40 to 60ft, at least a mild tidal flow and ideally mixed ground of rock, sand or even sudden drop offs find these areas and you will find the fish.
When it comes down to bait you can’t beat a fresh live mackerel either hooked through the nose or eye socket to keep it alive and the bigger your bait the better don’t be scared of using a mackerel on 1 to 2lb as the tope have huge mouths full of plenty of teeth so watch your fingers.
Fishing for tope can become a battle of wills, some days you can sit there all day without so much as a bite and the temptation to find other species becomes hard to resist but in this game perseverance is the key and you will finally be rewarded.
If you are interested in targeting these toothy beasts then check out my simple guide on how to make a mono tope rig, there are other rigs which incorporate wire and J hooks but this is my first rig of choice.
What makes up my smaller shark rig –
Step 1. Cut your mono to a 6ft length and thread on two double mono crimps, double crimping reduces the chance of a crimp failing.
Step 2. Thread on your hook and crimp your crimps into place leaving a loop between crimp and hook to allow the hook to articulate
Step 3. Thread on heat shrink tubing and Shrink to size over the crimps to protect hands from any sharp ends.
Step 4. Repeat at opposite end of the 6ft mono with a swivel. Cover with Shrink tubing and Shrink to size.
That’s it all complete, fish this rig from a kayak at the end of a rubbing leader and running ledger. Tight Lines