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Well, what will it be this week? I donít know what to fish for at this time of year, it all looks so promising. Mind you, it looked promising a couple of weeks ago when I spent an afternoon at Bewl. Wet? I should say so, and a wind like a tornado to go with it. Not the best of conditions to go fly fishing but at least the company was good. Different too, because as well as my old fishing chum Pete Henton, we had along his grandson, a future angling star, Connor. This young man is all of 12 years old but is already a veteran angler. To my knowledge he has landed big carp, tench, pike etc and even a 40lb catfish. On that occasion he was kept anchored to the bank by both his dad and granddad or he would have got a soaking. He's a name to watch out in the future.

My fishing is usually of the coarse variety with the odd game session, such as that trip to Bewl, thrown in. Even rarer is a sea fishing trip but last week Jim Hickey and I ventured out on the high seas with regular columnist and top angling photographer Russ Symons. Where? Off of Padstow in Cornwall! Motorways make even a trip to the other end of the country a feasible proposition these days. Out of my depth? In more ways than one.

Russ is without doubt one the countries top sea-anglers but don't mention the word 'expert' to him. He stated quite bluntly "The definition of an 'expert' is, that X is the unknown quantity, and a spurt is a drip under pressure!". Russ is my kind of guy, softly spoken but with an air of complete authority, a man who's word you can trust. When he ventures an opinion, people listen. And so they should. Looking around his home office, the walls are adorned with certificates proclaiming his record captures. He caught me looking at one, for a 20lb 5oz pollack and muttered "I took and lost that record two or maybe three times. Probably been broken again by now so I s'pose I'll have to have another crack at it". He wasn't joking.

I had no idea what fish we were going out for and only when Jim and I arrived did we discover that it would be trolling for the legendary porbeagle sharks. Russ informed us that in this area, these big beauties had been fished almost to extinction by the dead-line tactics of commercial fishermen but in recent years enough have been sighted to make a deliberate sorty out to catch one a distinct possibility. Hence this exploratory trip.

We went courtesy of skipper Phil Britts in the Blue Fox. Expert assistance (even Russ wouldn't argue with that) was provided in the shape of Rod Hayes. Rod is to big game fishing what Damon Hill is to Grand Prix racing. For the last ten years Rod has been skippering big-game boats in exotic locations all over the world so there is little that anyone can teach him about trolling techniques. We were all learning on that day and gathered around as he showed us how to set up a trolling bait and even how to tie that most weird of knots, the Bimini Twist. I'm gonna have to practice that one for when I go hunting those big Spanish catfish again!

With the coastline only a few hundred yards away we sighted several monstrous sharks. And I mean big! Their triangular fins cut through the waves and people started shouting stuff like "we're gonna need a bigger boat" etc. The Jaws quotes didn't frighten me. Even I knew that they were basking sharks and completely harmless, even if they did weigh three tons each!

Now I am a little wary of big fish with triangular fins, with or without teeth, so I was not too upset when we had a break from trolling and bottom-fished a wreck for a couple of hours. But I was exhausted after it! As I was the sea-novice Russ gave me the guidance and soon I was cranking up fish after fish like the best of them. Pollack after ling arrived in the boat like they had homing devices fitted. Two hours of fighting those pollack on light 12lb class tackle and my arms were aching. The light tackle really made a difference to the fishing. When I was young my father used to take me sea fishing - then the rods were like broomsticks and bear no relation to the tackle used in modern sea fishing, if you haven't been out for a while then give it a try.

Trolling for the sharks produced no results that day. Rod blamed this on the lack of a down-rigger. "For every fish taken trolling normally, you'll get 10 with a down-rigger". Phil was on the mobile phone ordering one before he'd finished speaking. The porbeagle were there but we were ill-prepared for them. Next time Phil goes out he'll get one, or bust. You can see it in his eyes.

As I write, Russ is out plugging for bass on some Cornish shore and Rod is back in the Azores. He has promised to send us regular reports and keep us in touch with what's going on in the big-game fishing scene. So stay tuned. Oh, and if you want to try trolling for those shark, give Phil a ring on 0797 756 3807. He's out there now with his new downrigger!

By Geoff Maynard