Belfast Telegraph

Terry lands a whopping Skate catch

By Vic Thomas

Kircubbin sea angler Terry Jackson topped off an excellent day's offshore fishing by landing a magnificent skate, weighing an estimated 166lbs and, measuring two metres and 20 centimetres, well over Irish specimen length. The big fish was, of course, returned to its habitat.

Skate have been off the specimen list since 1972, however new thinking by the Irish Specimen Fish Committee has allowed length-based measurements to be accepted for certain shark, skate and ray species which gives specimen hunters like Kircubbin's Terry Jackson another challenge.

A break in the inclement weather gave Terry an opportunity to get off-shore to check out a new secret mark. It proved bountiful, first with dogfish, including a 1.100Kgs blackmouth, well over the magical specimen barrier.

Bullhuss and Congers then showed, with fish to 25lbs and a lesser spotted dogfish just one ounce under specimen weight.

Terry then connected into something a tad larger that felt distinctly like a tope and eventually a gleaming angry female broke the surface and a wrestling match began. She was just short of the 1.6 metre specimen length, a quick photograph was taken and she was returned safely to the water.

Finally Terry's skate rod buckled with line peeling off the reel under heavy pressure and, setting the hook, he had found his target species, which put up an admirable fight with long runs along the sea bed and powerful lunges in a bid to find the safety of the sea-bed.

But Terry eventually prevailed and to say he was delighted is an under-statement!

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Meanwhile, it has been a good fishing season on the Lower Bann and on the private beats of Carnroe, Movanagher, Portna and Culiff Rock, where anglers have seen a great run of Atlantic salmon back on the Bann after the dismal runs of recent years.

This is very likely due to the coastal nets being made redundant for the past four years resulting in the fish gaining free passage to our shores. All tributaries on the Bann are seeing fish like never before in recent years, and if all get to their spawning beds then the outlook for a great comeback of Atlantic salmon looks very promising.

There were fish caught every day in the last week of fishing at Carnroe, except for Sunday, the final day, when water levels were a bit chaotic.

Davy Miller banked a good fish of 12lbs on fly off The Point; Billy Thompson had one at 4lbs from the Island Stream on fly; Ian Ramsey took one at 6lbs and another at 4lbs on prawn and Eddie Fry banked a seven pounder from the Island Stream on fly.

Tony Lyle grassed a super salmon of 15lbs on prawn from The Slope and David Agnew bagged a brace at 8lbs and 5lbs on fly. Lee Beverland did well landing two salmon at 6lbs and 4lbs on fly and prawn; Richard McDowell took one at 6lbs on fly; Bertie Hanna banked a beauty at 14lbs and another at 6lbs on fly and prawn and Billy Thompson bagged two at 5lbs and 6lbs on prawn.

Ronnie Gilbert tempted one at 5lbs off The Risk beat on prawn; Peter Simpson took a ten pounder on spinner and Nigel Wilson landed another fourteen pounder plus one at 5lbs from The Slope on prawn.

Peter Montgomery, fishing the fly, caught one at 5lbs; Anthony McCormack-Tant had one at 5lbs on prawn off The Risk beat and saving the best to last, Tom Heasley banked a magnificent salmon of 20lbs on fly.

Belfast Telegraph


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