FLASHBACKS!!!!!                                                                        By Mike Pullen

Mike with a 100lb blue from Courtmacsherry in Ireland

The scream of the reel, the surge of the fish, the power in the boat engine, the salt wind howling as you wait for a good fishing day. Favourite methods, Floater fishing for carp, not monsters, but I’ve had them off the top to 15lbs or so. Trolling for Bass with a Redgill Sandeel from an open dinghy along Ireland’s rugged coastline. Best day we had was I think 19 up to about 9lbs. Now there’s heaven. Dozing on the bow of a boat in the warm sunshine (!!!) waiting for the scream of a shark reel .You free spool, lock up the lever drag and load up on a 100lb blue shark. Almost as much fun tagging them in the boat as the actual scrap. The slow tug-tug as a big Common Skate moves off with your whole Mackerel bait .When you set the hook just make a quick call to the osteopath so you are ready for a session to repair your back ! Chilling out on Richard Stanzyck’s skiff in on a warm Florida evening, the sun setting over Lignumvitae Island, rock music on the radio, cold beer in hand. A pair of rods sit in the holders.(Actually three as we usually run out a third close to the boat and lash it down).The Tarpon eats the bait and explodes across the surface while you try to force a doubled rod out of the holder, wondering if you have enough line on the reel.

But three flashbacks stick in the mind. At the age of 8 I broke the junior world record for Lemon Shark fishing in a rental boat off Islamorada in the Florida Keys. It was 180lbs, and I assure you it was mayhem. We even made the Richard and Judy TV show so it must have been a good catch. The section impregnated in my mind was when I stuck my head by the open jaws while Adam Watts held the wire trace, all just so we could get a good picture! I’m lucky to be alive! I also remember we were that bonkers on filming I would be secretly dragged  out of bed at midnight with some stealth  to film Bull sharks to 300lbs that “pater” was hooking off the old dock at Bud n’ Mary’s Marina, so even aged nine I was filming .

A couple of years ago I was out in a skiff in what is known as “Monster Alley”, fishing for Tarpon in the Florida Keys. At night, no moon, wind howling, electrical thunderstorm, we get the bite…..and in pouring rain the Tarpon had eaten a freelined crab on the lightest rod we could find, a 12lb Ugly Stick of 40 years vintage. This Tarpon dragged us in a strong current through every snag and over every flat it could. We should have lost it a dozen times, but in pouring rain we hauled it aboard for a photo (not allowed now), and it was a monster, around 140lbs.It was a team effort, and the skipper’s experience in boat handling in the pitch dark (he said put that) which finally secured the price,  was duly released. Thanks to the Florida Keys master angler Richard Stanzyck of Bud n’ Mary’s for having the confidence to lend us his prize Bonefish skiff at night.

Third vivid memory was seeing our biggest ever shark, which I was again photographer for. Fishing with Capt. Miguel Gamito out from El Hierro Island the old man had been pounding the fish as usual. But this time he was possibly on the physical limit. Over two hours of full pressure on a 130lb class outfit from the fighting chair he got a 1,500 pounder, with a fat belly that looked as wide as a dining table. I’ve never seen anything like it, and I’ve seen some of his other granders.Oh yes, and I got a 150lb Stingray the next day, so he doesn’t get all the credits.

I hope you all bear with us as we progress through the site. I’m on my final year at Bournemouth Uni and will be backing up the site as well as grinding out the exams. Fingers crossed you will think this is going to be one of the better sportfishing websites around.

MIKE PULLEN