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Blue shark fishing

Blue shark taken fishing at Baltimore

In a typical year the first blue shark appear off Baltimore around the middle of June. They work their way north along the Irish coast as the summer progresses, until in late September and October they start to disperse southwards again.

Irish blues, which are incidentally almost all female, run from 20 lbs (9 kg) to well over 100 lbs (45 kg). They are surface feeders and the usual way of catching them is float fishing with the aid of rubby dubby. Fishing is normally done on the drift, but the system also works reasonably well at anchor if the tide is not too strong. This introduces the possibility of catching a ton-up blue and a ton-up skate in the same session (it does happen). Though an oceanic species, blues run quite close inshore. The most productive fishing is often less than five miles from land.

Long wire traces, at least 12 ft (4 m) in length, are essential for blue shark. Small blues, especially, have a tendency to roll themselves up in the line, often getting it in their mouth in the process. All blues have cutter-like teeth that make short work anything much thinner than 150 lbs b.s. wire. They can sever the heaviest mono with ease.

Apart from the traces and a float (usually a balloon), blue shark fishing does not call for any special tackle. Ordinary 50 lb or 30 lb class equipment, with enough line on the reel to cope with a shark's initial run, is fine. Blues can be taken on much lighter line than this, but it is not encouraged. The risk of line breakage may be acceptable to the angler, but it is a more serious matter for the shark, which swims off with a wire trace in its jaws.

Like common skate and other species, sharks caught are tagged and returned carefully to the sea. Blues tagged off Baltimore have been recaptured in places as far apart as Alicante, New Jersey and Barbados. Through the tagging programme operated by the Central Fisheries Board anglers are making a valuable contribution to shark research and conservation.

Blue shark numbers fluctuate through the season. Often the cause is weather or water temperature. However, a blank day is the exception and catches of ten or more in a day are perfectly possible.

Blue shark off Baltimore Blues are not the only shark that may be attracted to a rubby dubby trail in these waters. Porbeagles are a distinct possibility. Six-gilled shark, however, though they have been caught off Baltimore to over 300 lbs (136 kg) are more likely to be encountered when bottom fishing. Mako shark have been taken in nets, generally in early summer, but not as yet on rod and line. But with sea temperatures rising who knows what might happen in future?
ABOVE: KELVIN TURNER WITH A LARGE BLUE SHARK. ALTHOUGH ALMOST ALL BLUES IN IRISH WATERS ARE FEMALE THE RECORD SHARK LIKE THIS ONE WAS A MALE
LEFT: A GOOD BLUE SHARK TURNS AWAY FROM THE BOAT
© Nick Dent 2005 Email nick@wreckfish.com Tel. +353-86-824 0642

sea angling in ireland | albacore | blue shark | common skate | wreck fishing