Once again Sharkatag received terrific support with anglers fishing from over 50 boats and, reflecting the growth of this sector of our sport, a new record 20+ kayaks took part and although there were many tagging stalwarts a good number of newcomers to the sport and Sharkatag were also welcomed.
Friday was very disappointing in terms of the number of fish caught. Expectation was high, the weather was good, the tides were right but the fish failed to show; Saturday was equally difficult with the boats fishing off Ardwell having the most success, sadly the strong southerlies on Sunday made the day a washout – the first blown off day in the history of Sharkatag.
Worryingly though, evidence from the last three Sharkatags endorses the anecdotal evidence which suggests the numbers of tope are falling rapidly year upon year. We cannot be sure whether this is down to overfishing on their wintering grounds or a change in their Northern migration route due to some factor or another; equally concerning, the data also shows that although thornback ray stocks seem to be improving slightly, not one cuckoo ray, blonde ray or spotted ray has been caught.
Twenty years ago these species were abundant – we need to find out why these fish are disappearing.
But whatever the conditions, it doesn’t seem to dampen the spirits as feedback from one of this year’s newcomers shows : “We had a fantastic time at Sharkatag 3, it was truly a remarkable time. I have to say a big thank you to Andy Hibbert, Mark and Chris for all their help and advice during the 3 day event. Weather was not too brilliant but the atmosphere made up for the lumpy, snotty sea. We are all looking forward to getting back out next year. Just cant wait. As soon as the dates for Sharkatag 2012 are confirmed we will be signing up and booking our accommodation again at Brighouse Bay, A big thank you to all the organisers for their hard work and effort in providing us with such a marvellous event. Thanks to you all.“
The organising committee would like to thank everyone who helped make this event possible…. great effort everyone well done; a huge thank you also to everyone who came along and fished this weekend and a special mention for Shaun McGuire, the Harbour Master at the Isle of Whithorn, whose help and assistance was simply first class.
A full report covering this years event will be published in due course on our web sites, meanwhile photos from Sharkatag are being posted here – if you have any you’d like included, please send them to the firstname.lastname@example.org email address.
Thanks to all – the Sharkatag Team
NB :: Sharkatag 4 will be back in 2012…… so keep an eye on the website.