Angler takes an hour to reel in world record ray off Portrush coast
An angler has caught the world's largest skate off the coast of Portrush after an hour of "strenuous fighting".
Hamish Currie (59), originally from Saltcoats, Ayrshire, landed the 8ft 3in-long catch in the last week of June, but chose not to reveal the record until the sharking season ended in October.
"I felt good pulling it up, but I specialise in big game angling. I don't do mackerel trips or anything like that," he said.
"I realised how big it was going to be before it came up on deck. As soon as I got it off the bottom of the seabed I knew this was the real deal.
"I have caught big fish the same as that before but lost them.
"It was so annoying. Crying. I was in the pain locker, as they call it.
"I was tired, but so was the fish."
Mr Currie, joined by his girlfriend and a friend on his boat Predator, had the beast on the line for 65 minutes and brought it to the surface three times, only for it to overpower him and return to the ocean floor 40 metres below.
But, using a live 6lb bull huss as bait, Mr Currie got the 7ft wide, 300lb ray on deck.
It smashed the previous record, a 208lb giant caught off the Scottish coast in 2014.
But Mr Currie said: "They won't give me the world record though, because I didn't kill it and I'm not going to kill a fish for a record, I'm not prepared to do that.
"They will likely give it the world catch and release record, because it's measured on a mat in the picture."
Mr Currie has a history of battling big beasts. In 2012 he escaped a shark attack off the coast of Islay in the Scottish Inner Hebrides. A 7ft porbeagle bit into his steel toe-capped boot and clamped around his foot, but his crew managed to free him from the beast.
His latest catch, estimated to be around 30 years old, was tagged and return to the sea within four minutes.
But he thinks he can do better.
"Of course I will beat that record, I know I will," he said.