The tope is a strong, slimbodied member of the shark family and is found all around our coasts. The fact that it frequents shallow water facilitates the use of light tackle and permits the tope to show its superb fighting qualities.

How to hook tope

Tope pick up a bait and run a short distance before pausing to turn and swallow it. A ledger rig, therefore, is the most suitable terminal tackle as it allows the fish to seize the bait and move off with it without feeling drag or pressure. The fish should not be struck until it commences its second run, unless a very small bait is being used.

One method is to use an allwire trace of 40 lb b.s. Its overall length is 4ft because anything longer causes serious problems in casting. It is joined to a shock leader of 30 lb test and then to the main line. The sinker is attached to a free running swivel on the shock leader, which permits the fish to take line freely.

That essential wire

A similar trace is also used except that the short wire hooklink is followed by heavy monofilament of at least 40 lb test. Tope have sharp teeth so a shortwire link to the hook is essential. Their skin is as rough as glass paper when rubbed against the grain, and as they have a tendency to roll up on the trace, light nylon will part like thread. Allwire is therefore safer, but heavy nylon is preferred since it is more flexible and fishes better.

It should, however, be changed after each fish as it becomes unreliable due to abrasion and chafing. They should be razor sharp.