Angling Notes: ‘Huge skate, blue shark, monster congers and a terrific selection of fish’

Greystones Ridge angler Bert McGregor celebrates his 70th birthday with a two-day angling extravaganza

Greystones Ridge angler Bert McGregor celebrated his 70th birthday in fine style last week with a two-day angling extravaganza out from Courtmacsherry with West Cork charter skipper, David (Dave) Edwards.

Along with Luke Walpole, David Coleman and Martin Kennedy, the group steamed for three hours out to a wartime wreck in almost 400 feet of water. Not one to waste time when it comes to top-class fishing, Bert fished through the night – 24 hours without sleep!!

“The fishing was fabulous, huge skate, blue shark, monster congers and a terrific selection of fish. It was one of my best fishing trips, worth every penny,” he said.

It all kicked off at about 4am. While fishing for megrim on light tackle with a tiny piece of mackerel on a size 2 hook at 380ft, Bert got a rather unusual bite. Next thing he was into 30 minutes of sheer tension and exhaustion as he slowly brought this unknown quantity up from the depths.

Finally, the fish surfaced and was carefully landed by the skipper. His catch revealed a most unusual skate, a blue skate of 45lb. If ratified by the specimen committee it will be the first recording of the species in Ireland.

A reminder regarding the national regulations that are in place to protect pike and coarse fish, has been issued by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI).

Under the Pike Bye Law (no. 809/2006), a ‘bag limit’ of one pike per day is only permitted, all additional pike must be returned safely to the waterbody. The same bye law prohibits the killing of pike that measure more than 50 centimetres. Again, these fish must also be returned to the water.

The Coarse Fish Bye Law (no. 806/2006), demands a bag limit of four per day and those that measure more than 25 centimetres must not be killed.

Pike are one of largest freshwater species in Ireland and can weigh over 15 kilos (33lbs), while coarse fish include roach, bream, rudd, tench and perch.

Meanwhile, additional regulations apply regardless of species. It is illegal to fish with more than two rods; illegal to transfer live roach from one water body to another and the use of live bait is prohibited. Breaches of fisheries legislation could result in fixed penalty fines, seizure of fishing equipment or criminal prosecution.

Catch and release is a conservation practice supported by IFI, whereby a fish is handled responsibly and returned. When coarse fishing, the use of large keep-nets is encouraged and pike and carp sacks are recommended to weigh fish.

Angling is a hugely popular leisure activity in Ireland, with over 325,000 adults taking part. According to an Amárach Research omnibus survey in 2021, 18 per cent of adults who have yet to try angling are ‘likely’ to try in the future.

IFI’s Suzanne Campion, said: “For anyone interested in angling, there is a network of active clubs, associations and federations all over the country that organise coaching events and competitions. A dedicated website with helpful information is also available at fishinginireland.info.

Mr Thomas McEnaney, a farmer from Ardragh in Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan, who pleaded guilty to allowing silage effluent to enter a watercourse, was fined €400 and ordered to pay €5,273.15 for costs and expenses by Judge Finnegan at Carrickmacross District Court last month.

Sitting at Carrickmacross District Court, Judge Raymond Finnegan convicted McEnaney of a breach of the Fisheries Acts.

Ailish Keane, senior environmental officer at Inland Fisheries, gave evidence that the silage pit was not fit for purpose when inspected as effluent was escaping through a surface water system into an open watercourse.

The effluent subsequently polluted a tributary of the Annalee River in the Erne River catchment.

Dr. Matthews, Director at IFI, said: “Streams, rivers and lakes are particularly prone to silage effluent discharges during summer months when water levels are low which can result in a major fish kill. Regular inspection and maintenance of silage pits and slurry storage facilities is essential.”

Teagasc, the Agriculture and Food Development Authority, has a range of initiatives to help the farming community target improvement of water quality. Further information is available at teagasc.ie/environment/

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