Over the past few years the SSTP has worked alongside the Scottish Association of Marine Science (SAMS) to incorporate events into our annual Spurdog Tagathon which allow non-anglers or inexperienced to get involved and try the sport first hand.
SAMS is based at Dunstaffnage near the mouth of Loch Etive making it the perfect venue for training sessions, and shore and boat angling. In previous years SAMS has kindly donated boat time on its research vessel MV Calanus to take out keen students however this year the boat was unavailable and as such we focused on shore angling which proved no less productive!
During this year’s Spurdog Tagathon weekend, SSACN Coaches David McNair and Lewis Cowie ran a series of classroom sessions to cover the basics of the SSTP’s work, shark tagging and handling, and minimising stress in sharks. Following each classroom session participants were invited out on to shore to have a go at angling first hand. Angling methods were explained and participants were able to try their hand at casting using shore fishing gear, a first for all of them!
The weather on the Saturday might not have played ball but the fish certainly did with spurdog to just over 10lb and thornback rays to over 6lb resulting in 3 fish tagged. The Sunday shore angling session got off to a slow start (as is often the case when trying to produce fish on demand!) but the day was saved with the capture of a small male spurdog of around 3lb. This fish was tagged and quickly released.
Overall the sessions were a big success and proved extremely popular with participants. The SSTP feel it is particularly important to involve non-anglers in events, both to raise awareness and give the public an insight into the sport of recreational sea angling.