This past weekend saw SSACN hold its 4th annual skate angling event in the Sound of Jura, Argyll on the west coast of Scotland attracting anglers from all over the country to pursue the magnificent common skate. In this post-event report we will aim to give a rundown of the event and pick out some of the notable captures and recaptures from the weekend.
The Skate Recapture Event (formerly the Skate Tagathon) aims to collect data on common skate in the area through the Scottish Shark Tagging Programme (SSTP). The SSTP has collected a considerable amount of tagging data on skate in the area with the help of volunteer recreational sea anglers, this data showed good numbers of recaptures suggesting a level of site fidelity in common skate in the Sound.
The data was also used as the foundation of a Marine Scotland Science project in the area that aimed to collect large amounts of information on the movement of skate using sophisticated electronic tags and acoustic listening devices moored in the area
As a result, the decision was made in 2012 to cease tagging new skate in the area, however the event continues as both a recapture event and a great social event on the Scottish angling calendar. The aim of this weekend was to catch skate and record data on tagged fish.
The event kicked off on Friday morning with light westerly winds and glorious sunshine making the first day of the event the highlight of the weekend as far as weather is concerned! Around 10 boats were out fishing and enjoying the weather though the fishing was fairly mixed with sporadic bursts of activity throughout the day.
At the end of the day eight skate had been caught, four of which were recaptures of tagged fish. Amongst the recaptures was a male fish originally tagged in 2009 being recaptured for the 5th time and a big female of 202lbs recaptured for the first time after being tagged in April 2011. Alongside the skate anglers also reported catches of thornback rays to 10lb, conger eels to 30lb, spurdog and lesser spotted dogfish.
Unfortunately the weather deteriorated overnight bringing a brisk south/south-westerly wind blowing right up the Sound of Jura making for fairly uncomfortable fishing. Despite this twelve boats ventured out and three skate were caught.
Thankfully the weather relented slightly and the wind moved back to the west though with winds forecast to increase throughout the day some anglers opted to make the trip home early. The final day saw only one skate caught, a fish of 169lb which was recaptured for the first time after being tagged in July 2011 after a total of 647 days at liberty.
We would like to thank everyone for coming along and making the event what it was, we look forward to seeing you all again next year! We would also like to say a huge thank you to the Ardfern Yacht Centre for accommodating the event and offering anglers fishing the event special deals on launching, parking and berthing. Finally thank you to the Galley of Lorne Inn for holding our registration event.
With another skate event in the books we now look forward to the next big event: Sharkatag 2013! So it’s time to put away the skate rods and look out something lighter as we look to target fast-running, hard-fighting fish including tope, rays, bull huss and smoothhound around the south-west coast of Scotland.
With such a great variety of angling opportunities on offer in the Solway anyone can get involved in Sharkatag whether you fish from the shore, boat or kayak! We just hope that this year the weather is a little kinder to us!
Skate Recapture Event 2013