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Sixgill sharks are one of the widest ranging sharks. They occur on continental and island shelves in temperate and tropical seas around the world, in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans. They normally live in depths of greater than 90 mtrs, can grow to 5 mtrs in length and reach 600kgs in weight. I first came across them as a by catch when I was fishing tangle nets of the west coast here. Although we never landed them they are targeted as a food source in some areas.

The first time one was caught from my boat on rod and line was when we were fishing on a reef I had first targeted for Congers and then had some success catching big Skate off. It took us a while to get the first one up and that was in 2008 but we have refined the fishing method and our positioning on the mark over the years and have had some regular success. In 2009 we landed an Irish Record of 480kg (1056lbs) and 3.91mtrs in length. We have over the years caught them over 4.5 mtrs in length.

So chances of catching one? You first off have to get the weather right. We fish for them at anchor in depths of over 60mtrs so that won’t work if there is much of a sea up. Also as the trace and bait are big, any more than 4 people fishing just leads to big tangles and I would say 2 fishing would be ideal. If you can arrange both of these and have some patience, our experience over the last couple of seasons is that you have a good chance of a hook up. We have also had Congers to almost 40lbs and Skate to over 200lbs while fishing on this reef. Most of the groups that have had success have been booked in for at least 3 days and we have picked the best day to try the Sixgill and have done other fishing the rest of the time.

The tackle required has to be reasonably heavy and we find we have had more success when using braid. The rods I use are 50 or 80lb class, paired with Graphlite 2 speed Penn reels loaded with 80lb braid. The trace I now use would have a strong 12/0 hook fixed to about a meter of 450 to 500lb wire and then have another 4 mtrs of 300 mono. We would use a big bait of a whole Coalfish and maybe some mackerel as well.