30 Years a Sharker – Spencer Wright.
I suppose I am fortunate that I was born on the Isle of Wight and from as young as I can remember, have always been an angling fanatic, so sooner or later, was going to realise that my surroundings were a Shark angling hotspot!
By the time I was a teenager, my family had our own boat, and also frequently attended days out on local charter boats, which how the shark bug dug deep. One of the boats and skippers who we used to regularly fish with, also happened to be a Shark fanatic, who went on to dedicate his life to chasing them, and quite rightly is openly known now as the most successful Thresher fisherman in the UK.
At 13 my first trip out set the seed. Although I wasn’t allowed to fish on this Shark trip, my school friend actually hooked a thresher accidentally on his feathers, which took off at great speed and smashed him up with seconds – he wasn’t the only one who was hooked!
I then spent a couple of my summer holidays crewing aboard the boat, ‘Thresher 1’ and then ‘Drifter’, and although I was deemed too young to fish, I seen some sights to behold and just enjoyed being afloat - the Thresher obsession began!
At the age of 16 something happened in my fishing life. I caught a Carp and my live changed overnight, and then have I have managed to spend 30 years chasing large carp, all over the country to fuel my passion, but, in all that time, I was always aware of what was happening out at sea with regards to Shark captures, through my fishing colleagues.
Now fast forward 30 years and I needed a new challenge and through a random beach fishing trip, my life turned full circle again. I started sea fishing again, and then started to go on a local charter boat, and the more I went the more I wanted.
A boat was soon purchased in a sorry state of repair, and two years of my life and an obscene amount of money later my Duver 23 was afloat. I had at the time, had one thing in my mind. Revenge and Shark fishing!
I had in those couple of years previously, booked up some charter trips with ‘Wight Water’ from Milford Haven in South Wales, to lose my Sharking virginity, so to speak, but all of these were blown off, so had fate been involved all that time….
My Duver 23 turned out to be as much trouble in the water, as it had been out of it, so one day, out on my friends charter boat, he mentioned he was willing to sell it, at more than a fair price, and I knew who the buyer was going to be – me!
With a bigger boat, a Mitchell 31, I had a substantial platform to fish from safely, and life never looked back.
I had a rough idea of areas to fish, but this was going back 30 years as a kid when I was crewing on the boat, so it was me, making my own decisions and doing my own thing, so accrued some second hand Shark gear, and once the summer was here, that was me done –tunnel vision!
With limited knowledge I set out on my first ever drift and alone proceeded to hook something, but after a minute it came off, so logged the spot and vowed to return.
My forth trip back was to be something which changed my life forever. I was on a drift and was waiting for the tide to turn, when one of my reels ripped into action with the most savage take I have ever witnessed to this day. After stripping 100 yards of line from my reel and myself hanging on for dear-life, I bare witness to one of the greatest sights, a shark angler can see. A full breaching Thresher Shark, completely clear of the water, attached to my line. It was frantic and I was frantic!
The thirty minute fight was something I could only dream off, as this creature smashed the surface with its tail and jumped with gay abandonment. And then alongside the boat, in its watery domain, she lay there, with colours of purple and gold, silver and bronze, and I was left mesmerized, by one of the most spectacular leviathans, I have ever had the pleasure to witness, and with the hook removed, and a flick of her long tail, she powered off into the depths.
An hour later, my best ever day afloat reached another level! I then managed to hook a substantial Porbeagle and the 100 minute fight, nearly broke me, but managed to battle through the pain barrier to get her boat-side, and unhook it.
1 day and 2 different species of shark, both of a decent size, and on only my fourth trip out. A definite red-letter day!
My first season got better, with me banking numerous other Sharks, but although it had been a massive success and learning curve, mistakes had been made and lessoned needed to be learned and advice from friends and colleagues taken on-board, but I was ready for round two.
New gear was sourced from British Big Game Fishing, as I wanted to upgrade the tackle I had been using, and I was keen to go again, and go harder!
As I had mentioned, I had caught well, but had also missed opportunity’s, so with the help of good friends, Martin and Stuart from British Big Game Fishing, I felt I would learn valuable lessons, which would hopefully turn into more fish caught, and that was certainly the truth.
Year two was something I could have never of dreamt of. I was fortunate enough to turn opportunities into captures and multiple Thresher’s being drawn alongside my Mitchell 31, ‘Esk Lady’, with varying sizes from 100lb to some much larger. All landed single-handily. And to be brutally honest, I haven’t looked back.
Thresher’s quite magnificent creatures. Every one, completely unique in there looks and colours. It is a sight to behold, and I am grateful that I have been able to fulfil this life-long dream of mine, to fish for Sharks and capture one, on my own boat, using my own methods and it also being a legendary long-tail.
The hunger burns stronger now ever. I have the gear and capabilities to catch them. My knowledge has increased ten-fold, but still the hardest part is the effort involved in getting to the grounds and putting in the inordinate amount of time, it takes, to track down one of these denizens, of deep blue sea.
Tackle used from BBGF:-
BBGF 90lb Hollow Core Braid backing
80lb Suffix Ultra Supreme IGFA Mono
BBGF 20ft 450lb wire rubbing leaders spliced on to the main line for a smooth 100% strength, knotless connection.
BBGF 3ft 450lb wire bite traces
SeaTech 285g Float
BBGF In-line torpedo leads
BBGF 10/0 Circle Hooks