First skate, a recapture and a PB
My names Alain – I’ve been tope fishing out of Luce Bay and off the Yorkshire coast for the past two years, but I’ve been wanting to catch a skate for years.
I had planned a trip with my late brother in law to Oban, unfortunately it never happened, but when I read on the Whitby forum that a few yakkers were going up to Crinan skate fishing and anyone that fancied going would be welcome, I decided to get myself sorted out.
The forum guys were very helpful and advised me I would need a longer anchor rope, some 12/0 hooks (mustad 3406), 65lbs braid, 250lb nylon for the traces and some strong swivels – in my case I got hold of some 700lbs ones from Gerrys.
Having got all this lot sorted I drove from York up to Lochgilphead towing my boat and met up with the other lads who where already on the campsite. Neil kindly let me sleep in his caravan, far better than in the back of a sprinter van ! Thanks again Neil.
The next day we went to Crinan where there was some lads already on the water. I had been given some marks off a friend (mww on the forum) who had fished Crinan last year, so going out about a mile from the harbour I anchored up and started fishing.
All of a sudden my rod tip started nodding, I jumped up, stuck the rod but into the butt pad, clipped the Kidney harness on and started taking line in; as soon as I felt the fish I just lent back to set the hook – YAOOOOOOOOOOOOO – fish on – it turned out to be one of about 40lbs – my first skate.
I rebaited and sent it back down, sport was slow so I set up a lighter outfit to catch some dogfish and after a 2 minutes or so I was into dogfish left right and center; tiring of them I just sat back and was taking in the scenery when all of a sudden my rod tip was nodding again – this fish was a lot bigger and had a tag in it (2419) – my first recapture of a tagged fish.
After a hour or so, I upped anchor and moved to some deeper water a mile or so from my original location and once again anchored up.
After 1/2 an hour my rod tip dipped down and line was peeling from my reel, I went through all the same actions as before, but this time when I lent back everything locked up and I had a bend in the rod like I’ve never seen before – BIG FISH ON – so I grabbed my radio mike to let the other lads I had a good fish on, Paul replied asking me how long I’d had it on, I say 5mins, so he says give us a call after 1/2 an hour if it’s that big.
And so the fight went on, seemingly for ages, I would take a foot of line only for the fish to take 2 foot back; after a while Paul paddled over to take the odd picture, he got within 20 yards of me when there was a almighty CRACK.
I thought the rod had snapped, but Paul who had his paddle rate, jumped from his kayak into my boat, took one look and realized it was the cage on my reel which had gone, so quickly grabbing my spare rod & reel he helped me switch the fish over to them - his quick thinking saved me loosing my biggest fish of any species to date – Paul estimated it at around 140/150 lbs.
I’d like to thank Paul, Daz, Spud & Neil for all their help and making me feel welcome – cheers lads.