Our very own Anthony Sherlock tells his story. He is an Irish sea angler who now works for Deeper, as a Country Manager for the UK. He shares with us how he got into fishing, his tips on sea fishing and catching pike, how he ended up in Lithuania working for Deeper, and his ambitious fishing goal.
So tell us, how did you get into fishing?
I've been fishing since I was about 8 years old. It was my great-uncle that got me into fishing. He was very much into sea fishing--won lots of competitions and all of that. So one day he decided to take me fishing. He got me a fishing rod and took me to Dodder river on the south side of Dublin. We started out with some trout fishing, then we progressed to sea fishing, beach casting & spinning for bass off the rocks. As I got older, I started to target larger predators and I cut my teeth chasing tope from the boat, out of Courtown in County Wexford.
It got to the point where I was fishing at a very high level, I was even asked to represent Leinster (the biggest province of Ireland). This meant every single Sunday at roughly 4-5am, I would be out of bed and getting ready for either a day on the shore or out on the boat. Now I have toned it down a bit because of family commitments, but I still try to get a rod out at least every second weekend.
Our anglers love tips. Do you have any tips for shore angling?
Research your planned location, look out for features on the beach, if there is a stream running into the sea, I recommend setting up beside it. Dawn and dusk are usually pretty good all round times no matter if you are fishing in the sea, river or a lake. When on the beach, I usually set up two rods, one long and one short. I have caught my biggest fish in the surf literally yards from the shore. And last but not least, don't forget your personal safety. Make sure you check the tides before trying out a new beach, the last thing you want to do is get cut off from a rising tide.
What about pike fishing?
A decent rod and good lures are important. I like to have a selection of different colour jigs, spinners and wobblers on me as I walk along the chosen river or lake. Keep it light, this helps you cover more ground. But above all, keep in mind the location and the water conditions. Pike like to sit flat on the bottom, they are lazy ambush predators. You should look for something like a sunken or fallen tree to find them. For example, a pike could sit under a tree all day and wait for the silvers to come along. So if you find a shoal of silvers, you can be sure that a pike is not far away. Also, don't forget to take with you good pliers to snip the hook if you need to, believe it or not, pike are a very fragile fish and you need to handle them with care.
How does the Deeper PRO+ come in handy? (we had to ask!)
The PRO+ is really great for locating pike. If I am in an area where I haven't fished before and wondering what structures are below, I will cast the Deeper a couple of times and see if there is a sunken tree or a large drop or anything else a pike might be hiding behind. Another good hint is to look for baitfish. If there are no baitfish, the pike will not be around, so there is no point in setting up and casting out--I will just move on to the next spot.
Tell us more about fishing in Ireland.
In Ireland, it’s all about catch and release. Personally, I like to "catch, kiss, and release". If you catch a pike or a large perch, you would never dream of bringing it home for the plate. You just put it back for the kids to catch another day. In the Emerald Isle, our pike can grow huge. Some are so large we call them "crocs". In the right conditions, they can grow up to the 10-15kg range. Pike, angling in general, attract a lot of tourism. Ireland gets roughly 150,000 angling tourists to our shores each year in search of pike, coarse and other bountiful fish the Irish Sea has to offer. Believe it or not, angling tourism in Ireland brings in more money than golf tourism.
We all want to know, how did you end up working for Deeper in Lithuania?
Well, a lot of things came together. Since I've always had a huge interest in fishing, I knew of Deeper for quite a long time. I am married to a Lithuanian girl. My wife wanted to come back home, and I was also looking for a new challenge at the time. So here I am, working as a Country Manager for the UK.
How does it feel working for Deeper?
I have been passionate about fishing from a very young age. Most evenings, when I have a few spare moments, I'm either researching the latest techniques or planning my next fishing trip. Since fishing is ingrained into my soul, to be part of a company so heavily involved in recreational fishing is definitely a childhood dream come true.
We also love epic fishing stories. Let’s hear some.
I used to fish for tope very close to some of the most popular beaches in Ireland. In early summer, the large females would be going into pup, so they were looking for warm, shallow water. These big females become ravenous, they will take any fish that is small enough to fit in their mouth. To target them, we used a cox’s meat hook, similar to a small butchers hook that can easily hang a rack of beef or lamb. Some tope, when in pup, are so big they can straighten these meat hooks! They are so powerful, they can chew straight through wire. I’ve hooked a few that have chomped through a 150lb wire!
One morning, in Lithuania, I went fishing with a buddy to this huge lake. It was about -6°C/ 21°F, the ice was solid (we thought), a lot of people were fishing, it was perfect. At around 11 am the sun came up and you could hear the ice moving. I weigh just shy of 100kg, so it got pretty unnerving. As I am walking down the ice, it starts cracking. I just go “NO, NO, NO”. We started drilling holes and using the Deeper PRO+ to see how deep the water was. We wanted to make sure the water was shallow enough for us to get straight back out if we fell in. Quite a few holes later, we reached the shore safely. I now only fish on ice that is 24-30cm thick, so thick an elephant can tap dance on it.
What is your next fishing goal?
My goal is to catch the largest pike in Lithuania. I saw a 13kg pike caught near Alytus. That's the biggest I've seen here and my goal is to beat it!