Tope In The Bay Off Fleetwood

by Jordan Russell

lancashire-news-logoAllan Cordwell enjoyed a trip with Blue Mink Boat Charters out of Fleetwood as a finale to three consecutive days out on the water in search of specimen tope. The previous two trips with Andy Shaw and Milnrow SAC were successful in terms of numbers and species of fish but due to a late algae bloom which resulted in the bay’s waters resembling soup, mackerel and large tope were frustratingly absent, despite strong easterly blows churning the water up which felt like trying to fish in a washing machine.

It was an early start for Allan and his boy Mat which saw them on the beach for a 07:00 sail. Unfortunately they became embroiled in an incident that despite best efforts resulted in a negative outcome. However, after ensuring Mathew was ok, they still managed to make the sail and in glorious sunshine and calm seas we headed out into the bay.

They feathered for bait which resulted in fresh whiting with a solitary mackerel and moved to anchor up. A few other mackerel came aboard but not in the numbers hoped for. Fortunately, Allan was carrying plenty of frozen in reserve.

The sea state was significantly clearer than the previous two trips and confidence was was high, it all just felt right. Nothing Allan could put his finger on but clearer water, an abundance of huge jellyfish and mackerel present signalled the best chance of good tope out of the trips so far.

Baits were dropped down with Mathew electing to fish crab baits and the fresh mackerel to Allan’s rod. It wasn’t long before Mathew had landed his first of many hounds of the trip and Allan’s rod produced the first of a number of bull huss.

Fresh whiting produced more huss and also for a number of other anglers aboard. The tide slackened and Allan decided to capitalise on the float method he’d practiced the day before which had produced two small tope. He changed rods and drifted a full mackerel 50 yards out from the stern at around 40 foot deep and it wasn’t long before the float plunged under and Allan was playing a hard fighting fish. Sadly, the fish was lost and a second bait drifted out into the depths. Mathew continued to land a mix of dogfish, smoothhound and small tope and was hammering his way through out bait supply at a fair rate.

Whilst assisting unhooking a nice smooth hound for Mathew, Allan saw his line tighten and realised the float had been pulled under. He quickly wound down into the fish which gave a good account of itself and landed his first tope of the day at around 20lb. Matty then latched into what we thought was a monster hound on a large crab bait. He played the fish well and to our surprise, boarded a double figure tope which was a new personal best for him.

Allan with a tope

Allan with a tope

By now the tide and action was picking up and Allan reverted back to bottom fishing full mackerel baits. It wasn’t long before a screaming run developed resulting in another small tope coming aboard. Huss were now becoming abundant with plenty coming aboard to other anglers. Another run developed on Allan’s rod and he was into what felt like a good fish. Eventually, the tope was landed and returned once measuring and photography was completed. It was a long fish at 5 feet and went 36lb. He was pleased to be off the mark with his decent fish of the year. They fished on with more huss, hounds and dogfish being landed along with another tope of similar size.

We eventually upped anchor and headed back to port. A superb session despite the initial upset on the beach.

Fleetwood and District Angling Club fished their latest match at Stanah where 12 anglers enjoyed another day of sunshine and calm seas, it might not be good for the fishing but makes it a very pleasant day out.

The concept of this match was the total points your best two flounders to win. While most anglers caught fish only half had the required two flounders. Paul Smith got off to a cracking start having a double shot of flounder. A few fish came up early on but it tailed off as it approached high tide. Crab was best bait, but ragworm with bluey caught a few fish including a 56cm bass for John Hodgson. Congratulations to Paul Smith who held on to his lead to win the match.

Result for those with two founders

  1. Paul Smith – 38 cm and 37 m for 37 points
  2. John Beswick – 36 cm and 30 cm for 28 points
  3. Ken Forrest – 31 cm and 31 cm for 24 points
  4. John Hodgson – 37 cm and 19 cm for 21 points
  5. Ian Hewitt – 31 cm and 26 cm for 20 points
  6. Mike Owen – 29 cm and 28cm for 17 points
  7. Bob Egan – 28 cm and 25 cm for 15 points

The next match is on Saturday 17th June over low water at Five-Bar Gate with fishing from 4pm to 7pm hopefully the smoothhound will like the warm settled conditions.

Leyland and District Sea Angling Club went further afield this week to Cumbria.


1st Martin Darwin with a plaice and two dabs, also winning the biggest fish at 23cm, scoring 13 match points.

2nd Michael Darlington with a flounder worth 4 points.

Not the best days fishing, but a nice sunny day out. Thanks again to the members supporting the match.

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