A record-breaking trio of sharks during a single week for British and Irish anglers has proved that big predator sport just keeps getting better.
The first colossal specimen, estimated to weigh in excess of 1,300lb, is believed to be the biggest fish landed by an angler in the British Isles.
Measuring in at a staggering 4.6 metres, the huge six-gill shark was caught at the end of July by Tony Carrig, from Shannon, who was on Luke Aston’s boat Rahona out of Carrigaholt, County Clare, on the west coast of Ireland.
After an hour’s tug-of-war with the shark, it emerged from the depths, where marks could be made on the boat, which were measured later.
“This is one of the largest six-gills we’ve ever had, and 1,300lb is a conservative estimate, it might well have been 1,400 or 1,500lb,” said skipper Luke.
“In 2009, one of our clients, Joe Waldis, took one back to port that was 3.9m long and weighed 1,056lb. This was the third six-gill we’d had in the last 10 days; sometimes we’ll go days or weeks
without hooking one.”
Incredibly, the two remaining anglers to land a record thresher and a record blue were shark fishing the first time.
Minehead, Somerset angler Nick Lane boated the giant thresher, estimated to weigh 368lb, while aboard Dan Hawkins’ charter boat, Reel Deal out of Ilfracombe, North Devon.
That smashes the previous record that stood at 323lb and was caught in 1982 by former Sea Angler contributor Steve Mills.
Nick, whose previous biggest fish was a 20lb blonde ray, said nothing could have prepared him for the fight: “The sound of the line screaming off the reel is one I will never ever forget. The fight was incredible, and afterwards I was left shaking and barely able to move.”
The fish took mackerel on a size 10/0 hook and was measured at just under 91in from the tip of the nose to the fork of the tail.
In another stunning session, Danny Fitch’s, on his first shark fishing trip, made history while fishing off the Welsh coast, as he set the hook into the jaws of a male blue shark estimated to weigh 242lb.
It was caught by the Norfolk angler while he fished with his friend Dave Burtenshaw aboard record-breaking shark skipper Andrew Alsop’s White Water, out of Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire.
It smashes the current Welsh record of 222lb, boated aboard Andrew’s vessel in 2010. Danny’s shark was accurately measured on board at 110in from the tip
of the nose to the fork of the tail with a girth of 42in.
“My biggest-ever sea fish up until this trip was a tope of around 40lb, so to catch a huge shark like this on my first-ever trip was like a dream come true,” said Danny.
The duo shared around 15 fish between them, with Danny boating other blues to 120lb, which were all caught on mackerel on a size 16/0 hook with 380lb wire trace.
Plans are afoot to create a British record sea fish list based on length rather than weight.
The British Record (rod-caught) Fish Committee is considering introducing a separate record list to provide for claims made in respect of sea fish that are either protected and may not be landed, or for those caught on boats and returned alive without being landed for weighing.
Such a length-based record list is not intended to replace the weight-based version, but, if introduced, would stand alongside it.
It was agreed that the Committee will work towards introducing length-based lists on a staged basis, perhaps starting with a list for species that may not be landed, extending the scheme to other species or categories if the pilot is successful.
The protocol for claims and minimum initial qualifying measurements will be addressed in due course.
A 64lb conger eel caught and released from open ground in the Bristol Channel was accepted as a new Welsh boat record on June 18.
The fish fell to Tim Theyer, a member of a charter party from the Cardiff-based South Wales Sea Anglers fishing on Andrew Alsop’s White Water, out of Penarth marina.
After being weighed and measured, the conger was returned. Evidence of the fish and the calibration for the scales was sent to the Welsh FSA. It was confirmed on June 18 as the new Welsh record, beating the previous best of 61lb caught in September 1995. The British record is 133lb 4oz caught by charter skipper Vic Evans in 1995 off Torquay, Devon.