Thursday, 23 June 2016

17/6/16 Tope Fishing With Clive

 15lb Undulate

 9lb Thornback

My good friend and marina neighbour Clive , along with his brother Kim, have been small boat fishing in our local 'arena' for several decades and, consequently have amassed a wealth of knowledge and understanding, and caught a few decent fish along the way too.
In my opinion, as a 'tyro', nothing is more valuable in our chosen branch of this glorious sport than 'experience' so when the opportunity to fish with someone like Clive arises, I jump at the chance , not only for the good company but for the 'snippets' of invaluable information that I tend to pick up. What Clive doesn't realise, is that when I get back home , I hastily jot things down in my little black note book which is often consulted to plan and execute subsequent forays afloat and has indeed proved to be a very useful tool.
Clive learned much of his 'trade' from one of our port's most famous anglers-Dutton Everington. Dutton was a very prominent charter skipper in the sixties and seventies often appearing in, and writing articles for contemporary magazines  such as 'Angling'- a very high quality publication which also regularly featured material by the likes of Darling, Gammon and Gibbinson and was aimed at the 'allround' angler- perhaps a more common 'specie' at that time.
Sadly,I doubt very much whether nowadays such a magazine could succeed primarily because of the internet,  which gives such convenient and instant access to the written word, but also because it appears to me that 'angling' has become a much more 'specialised' pursuit with most anglers concentrating on just one aspect of the sport. It's rare to find a carp angler who goes boat fishing at sea.
Clive however, is something of an 'all rounder' particularly in salt water, although I understand he's also quite useful with a trout fly rod, and I do have a cunning plan to one day, select a suitable hostelry, ply him 'ale' and write 'stuff' down as he says it. Watch this space!
Anyway, today's target was tope and Clive joined me for a trip to 'our' favourite deep mark somewhere 'out west'.
Three years ago I had some exceptional tope fishing from these marks but have struggled a little since then and this year has proved no different. I've had one or two reasonable fish to 35lb this time around, but generally the fish have been of a smaller average size. Today sport was 'consistent' but hardly spectacular with about fifteen tope to the boat to 'upper teen' size. Clive had a nice undulate ray of 15lb, and I had a 9lb thornback to punctuate proceedings but generally the fishing was slower in comparison to previous sessions. We moved the boat a couple of times seeking an improvement in sport,but this proved to be mostly unsuccessful.
As I've found on past trips, once the tide flooded hard anchoring became a little difficult and we were forced to end proceedings slightly earlier than originally planned.Whatever the case it was still an enjoyable day afloat in good company and I will look forward to future runs out with Clive.
I always feel the tope 'season' passes by far too quickly and whether I'll get another crack at these worthy adversaries this year remains to be seen- I hope so because there is a very real chance of connecting with something 'special' in these waters.



  1. I'm absolutely loving your blog. I've recently put a deposit on a little 15 footer, my first fishing boat. I am furiously planning my first trips out when this lockdown passes. Not knowing the marks as I grew up in Portsmouth your stories are giving me hope that there are lots of options to get stuck into and skill up. I love the stories about sharing in Cornwall but am hoping there's an outside chance from littlehampton? You've scared me talking about the sand bar at the river mouth. My first trip is not only going to result in inevitable embarrassment at the slip launching for the fire time but followed up with an squeaky bum time escape from the river over the bar! Anyway thanks for the content and I hope you are still fishing as not seen many articles for a couple of year. All the best. Jim.