Back a few years ago i did this article in Irish angler digest
BLUE SHARKS [pronace glauca]
Blue sharks are pelagic and a migrating fish. It is an indigo-blue colour with a snow white under belly. They can be found world wide and can travel in large groups across the Atlantic following the gulf stream which passes the south of Ireland, there main food source are squid and mackerel. The females mature after five years and give birth to numerous pups. Blue sharks start to arrive in numbers to the south of Ireland around the middle of May and stay until mid November, The peak season is July to September and the Irish record stands at 206 lb., which is small, compared to that, they can grow to over 500lb and Length of up to 14 feet. They can swim at speeds of 35 k,p,h due to It slim shape, pointed nose and big fins which makes it one of our strongest and top sport fish in Ireland and to a lot of specimens hunters and anglers alike a fish of a life time.
Robert with a large pointed nose and big fined blue shark
Best time to shark fish
I start shark fishing in July when the temperature of the sea are starting to rise which normally brings the first wave of big females. In my experience, the big blues sharks are caught in September and October especially at night.
An old photo of my biggest shark. Length 8ft 6in caught in September 2002
My first experience with blue sharks.
I started shark fishing in youghal over 22 years ago on a 27ft trawler that did only 7 knots. On that boat I landed my first blue, it was just over 65lb and still to this day, I can remember the fight. Now a day when I go shark fishing, I use 6.2-meter quicksilver boat with a 75-horse power engine and it can do 21 knots in flat conditions. The only draw back is the weather has to be good. It is perfect for three anglers and just enough room to land some of the larger blues sharks. But if you have not got your own boat there is a lots of charter boats now that are geared up to take you shark fishing with some days landing over SIXTEEN sharks and are all tail landed so they can be returned alive.
How to un-hook, land and handle a shark by tailing it
when shark gets tired and ready to land hold the steal wire tightly with gloves until you can safely grab it tail
when tail is firmly held slide it up the gunnels until it mid section is sitting on it and with a help of a friend gently put it on the deck
Shark fishing for last few years has been extremely good with many big females well over a 100lb being caught and returned right through the summer months and into the autumn. This year their are good numbers of small sharks caught between 25lb to 55lb with some larger female’s exceeding the 100lb mark.
when unhooking a shark first turn it on it back and trap it between your legs this will stop it from turning over
Then when the shark is secure pull back on it nose until its mouth is open and unhook it with long nose pliers don’t forget they have teeth and still can close there mouth
Months before I go shark fishing I make sure that I stock up with buckets of fish waste which is donated by my locale fish monger, and then I just freeze it. The night before we went shark fishing I took out two buckets, it will make four chum bags. That’s more than enough for a day’s shark fishing, when there are fully thawed out I then added bran and fish oil [don’t add bran before freezing it, it turns it milky and looks crap] then all I needed was some fresh mackerel for hook baits and I am ready to go.
Cut up some fresh mackerel and add it to your chum when possible
Therefore, with the buckets out, gear packed fuel tank full, and a few hours sleep I was up and away with the boat behind me. It was not long after that my brothers Robert, Brian and my self was a float and were off searching for mackerel. After traveling about twenty minuets I saw lots of gannets diving, that a good sign and well worth checking out .I turned the boat and headed for the spot, we fished over it, and in 5 minutes we had our fresh mackerel for hook baits with a few to spare to add to our chum. With that done, we resumed our heading and headed for 200+ feet of water were we hoped to find some sharks.
When we arrived we first mixed our thawed out fish waste with bran and herring oil then added some chopped up fresh mackerel when it is all mixed we put it in an onion bag and then we hang it over the side of the boat. The rocking of the boat will releases the oil soaked bran and fish particles slowly over a wide area this will gives the sharks a chance to find us while we are getting our rods ready. When preparing our hook baits we cut our fresh mackerel into flappers this makes it easier for smaller sharks to get it in to their mouths as well as big sharks and can stop you missing many dropped runs.
Sharks are normally not hook or line shy so when hooking the flapper put the hook down through the nose and out through the bottom lip [or visa, versa] this leaves most of the hook showing and will give you a better chance of connection on a strike.
When setting your dept between your bait and float make sure it’s Down more than 40 feet this will stop gannets diving and attacking your bait, if your drift is to fast and your bait is starting to rise, you should put a two ounce lead on your steel wire about ten feet from your bait, it can be secured with a bit of tape. The only one that I might have less than 40ft is the one under the boat as sharks have taken my chum bag more than once
When everything was ready, we knew that the first couple of hours would be slow because the winds were weak and the tide was slack. This meant we would have a short trail for the sharks to follow and we would have to wait until the tide turned. When the tide turned and started to build it was taking our trail away at a nice speed, every thing was looking good. It was only a matter of time before we got our first run,
It is a lovely sound when the Penn reels spinning off, what a rush. With the fish hooked and the deep fast runs nearly over, we could see it was a blue shark. When landed, it weighed in at 65lb. as soon as the pictures were taken and the fish returned the other rod sprung in to action, it was blue around the same
size and fought as hard and they both looked in good condition.
our first blue shark of this year 65lb was landed by brain Kennedy
Things were starting to get a bit too quite so we put out another chum bag to keep our trail Strong, you could see the slick on the surface and it looked a lot better. We knew it was a waiting game before another shark would find us. fifty minutes passed before we saw a shark swimming around the boat and then went deep, a few moments later all hell broke loose it was a double hook up, what a crack, until the two sharks were at the boat at the same time so what to do. We looked at the sharks and we could see that one of them was lightly hooked. We decided to release that one at the side of the boat for safety, now we could land the other one and unhook it. It is nice to see sharks at this size, they are good sport and easier to handle on a small boat.
As the day was pushing on it was time to pack up and head for land until a reel screamed off, it was my Brother Robert’s rod, he grabbed it in a flash and lifted into the fish. It dove deep and was fighting a lot harder than the other sharks we had that day. As he got it in close to the boat, we could see it was at least 90lb. it fought for a good 20 minutes more with heavy head shakes and long fast runs before we could land it. With the shark unhooked, we put it in the sling to our delight it bottomed out our 100lb scales. As a specimens hunter’s I knew that this was over specimen weight. Therefore, for the well fair of the shark we quickly returned it.
With the first session out of the way, we knew that there were sharks around and it was time to get focus on them and stock up with some shark traces and steel wire.
Steel wire, sleeves, and ready mead shark traces.
With any window of opportunity, we were out there and by the middle of august, the sharks were there in numbers. Our best day shark fishing this year was 17 blues and missed one on a 12 Weight fly rod yes a fly rod. There is still a few weeks left in the season so my goal is to get one on a fly rod and on camcorder before there disappear.
Robert with a big blue shark length from tip of nose to tip of tail was 7feet 7in
Since that day The Irish Specimen Fish Committee has worked tirelessly over the years in a bid to protect our species, with DNA identification and a new length-based measurement for specimen, blue shark are now on the list
CHECK LIST & TIPS
1] oil all reels check line.
2] check all eyes on rods.
3] onion bags, fish oil, bran and balloons.
4 200 + steel wire 8o to 10o hooks de-barbed, 250LB swivels big crimps and 250 lb nylon for rubbing trace.
5] wire cutters long nose pliers for unhooking shark.
6] gloves for landing sharks.
7] insulating tapes and some 2-ounce leads.
Me with an 85lb blue shark
[ That a big one]