Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Angling: Henry sets European record with 29kg tuna

The catch of the week goes to Henry Macaulay who is normally a sea trout enthusiast.

Henry, looking for something a bit different from his usual sport, went sea fishing with his son Barry and friends Derek Noble and skipper Adrian Hanley. After steaming 70 miles offshore the intrepid anglers found what they were searching for - Albacore Tuna!

A number of fish were caught but Henry's was by far the best, a cracker of a fish which, after 45 minutes of an epic battle, was weighed in at 64.59 lbs, smashing the Irish record and also setting a new European line class record!

In a blow by blow account, Derek describes the record-breaking trip.

03.00a.m. Fired up the twin engines and left Cahirciveen Marina. On board were sea trout enthusiast Henry Macaulay, his son Barry and top charter skipper of the Cahirciveen boat 'Wey Chieftain' Adrian Hanley. We steamed in a South Westerly direction for four hours with four Penn International 12lb class rods with 12Lt reels loaded with 20lb IGFA line and trolling began.

07.50a.m. Two reels start screaming at the same time! Henry takes one and Adrian grabs the other. I could tell by the initial run this was no ordinary Albacore.

Ten minutes later Adrian's fish was lost, the hook pulled. Thirty minutes passed and still no sign of Henry's fish.

I thought we might have hooked a small Bluefin tuna that sometimes travel with the Albacore. Henry, who had never fished Tuna before, played the fish with great skill.

His knowledge of fighting game fish was showing. After an arm-wrenching 45 minute battle we saw colour and yes it was an Albacore.

I grabbed the leader, gaffed him and heaved him through the transom door.

What a fish! Certainly the biggest Albacore I had ever seen. I guessed the weight at 30 kilos and immediately knew we had smashed the Irish record held by well known fisherman Alan Glanville of Dunmore East with a fish of 16.5kg.

I couldn't remember what the European record on a 20lb line was but knew this fish must be close.

We continued fishing until 18.00hrs and headed north east for home. On board was a total of nine Albacore tuna. What a day! Steaming back to Cahirciveen at 16 knots I couldn't help but think, could this possibly be a 20lb line class world record!

On arrival at the marina at 22.00hrs the fish weighed in at just over 29 kgs, a new European record by over 1 kg and, incredibly, only 10.5 kgs short of the current world record!

On weighing the fish on two different certified scales the following day, Henry had indeed set a new European record for Cahirciveen.

It will be 60 days before Henry's record will be ratified by the European Federation as strict rules must be adhered to and the line must be tested. The previous record was set in the Canary Islands in 1977.

Closer to home, skippers Liam Carey of "Bluefin Charters" and John and Gerald Cuniffe operating out of Mullaghmore reported excellent blue shark fishing in Donegal Bay.

A phenomenal 17 blues, including many specimens up to 140 lbs, have been boated with the best of the fishing taking place approximately four miles northwest of Inishmurry Island, in about 70 metres of water.

Sam Harris took a magnificent 140lbs blue shark while on board skipper Liam Carey's charter boat "Kiwi Girl".

Later that same day, another specimen of 130lbs was taken by Mullaghmore SAC member, Declan Kilgannon.

The very next day three shark were landed by Barry Lord, UK, with a best of 110 lbs.

Anglers on board skipper Gerald Cuniffe's boat "Roustabout" also enjoyed fantastic blue shark action with four blues landed and two more lost.

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