A member of the shark family with "proper" shark like teeth and very muscular bodies these are extremely hard fighting fish. The initial bite can be a tentative tap on the rod tip that soon turns in to a reel screaming run with the rod bent double. The current British boat record is 82lb 8oz but it is suspected that this has been broken a couple of times locally but the anglers preferring to release such magnificent fish back to the sea rather than claim the record.
Certainly, there have been several 70lb fish caught over the years. The average weight is around 25-30lb with many 40lb+ fish caught each season.
The best time for catching big Tope is mid-April to mid-June on neap tides (for the deep-water marks). Even though the deeper water marks (80ft+) are fished on neap tides you may still need 1lb of lead at times so a 20/30 class rod and 7000 size reel are ideal though you can go much lighter if conditions allow.
Top bait is live Mackerel but frozen fish baits will also catch, Many Tope are caught on whole squid, and bait combinations such as Bluey, A few serious specimen hunters will take dabs and other flatfish to use as bait.
Terminal tackle is no more complicated than a simple running lead. The hook length needs to be bite proof and we recommend 6ft of heavy monofilament between 125lb breaking strain to 200lb breaking strain rather than wire traces, the reason for this is that because the wire is so thin it can damage the mouth of the fish as it fights really hard to escape. Circle hooks have become increasingly popular in recent years and a medium wire 6/0 - 8/0 is a good choice, Dointhedo recommends the use of these hooks as it ensures the fish are hooked in the mouth edge and are able to be returned with the minimum of distress. Also consider flattening the barb to make unhooking easier.
It is recommended that a mono leader of around 80lb test and 15ft long is used as the Tope often roll on the line and if their rough skin touches the braid it can snap like cotton.