As Chippy prepared the rubby-dubby mix the rest of us set about the task of catching fresh mackerel for bait, and to supplement the rubby-dubby later in the day.
Three sacks of rubby-dubby were hung overboard, so that with each roll of the boat, some of the smelly concoction would be washed out of the bags downtide setting up a scent trail.
The anglers on board drew lots to decide who would take the first, second, third shark etc. This is common practice when using hire gear. Four shark outfits were set up and before long a line of floats were awaiting the sharks. The nearest rod was set shallow with the depth increasing the further out the rod was fished. Bob the Builder, Bob Pollard of the Looe Sea Anglers Club, set up his own rod and a fifth float joined the lineup.
Within seconds another reel was screaming and Chippy passed the rod to me. The fight was soon over as the shark was only around 40lb and had wrapped itself up the wire trace.
After the initial excitement, all had gone quiet on the shark front. Chippy suggested to Bob that he might like to try a bigger bait near the bottom. We were drifting in around 250 feet of water.
Bob baited up with a big mackerel flapper and using 8oz of lead to keep the bait down set his float 220 feet deep. Bob's float sailed out past the furthest float and the wait recommenced. After a short wait Bob's reel clicked couple of times and the rod tip pulled over out of sync with the movement of the boat.
It was obvious that this was a big fish as the shark took a fair bit of line off Bob's fairly tight drag. Chippy asked Bob whether he needed to start the engine ready to follow the shark. Bob said not yet. The rest of us reeled in the other lines to avoid the big shark fouling them.
During the fight Bob on a couple of occasions cavalierly twanged the taut braid like a guitar; he confessed later that he just needed to rest his arms. Unlike mono which has a certain amount of stretch, on braid everything is felt by the angler.
After half an hour or so the shark surfaced, with the wire trace wrapped around its body. Chippy grabbed the tail and started to unravel the wire, as one more turn would have resulted in the braid rubbing against the shark resulting in a lost fish. It took three people to drag the shark on board through the open gate at the stern of the boat.
The fish was nicely hooked in the scissors, and was quickly unhooked before having its vital measurements taken. The tape measure recorded the length as 98 inches and the girth as 45 inches. Although not exceptionally long, this fish was exceptionally deep in the body. Chippy suspected this might be Bite's first 200lb blue shark and the charts confirmed a weight of 248lb.
Another small shark of around 40lb completed the day's sport.
Those of us on board were privileged to witness this extraordinary fish. It couldn't have happened to a better bloke, all credit to Bob for returning the fish.
As we sailed back into Penzance it all seemed a little surreal, Bob the Builder had just landed a British Record Blue Shark!
For the record the tackle Bob used was:
Rod: Penn Torque 30lb Class
Reel: Penn Torque 200
Braid: 65lb Whiplash
Trace and Strop (Rubbing Leader): 480lb Wire
Float: Drink Bottle
Here are a couple more shots of the monster.