Retired teacher Andrew Wenden turned a few heads when he put his 47lb 11oz stingray on the scales at the end of a match on the Isle of Wight because it turned out to be a new island record.
The 61-year-old Brighstone angler fished at Gurnard and had been expecting to catch smoothhounds and bass on his jelly crabs. An hour into the competition his rod arched over at an alarming angle and line peeled off his reel at speed.
“I saw a wing kiting 30 to 40 yards from the shore,” said Andrew, “and I knew a ray was on. The ray scrapped hard and I struggled to keep up with it, trying not fall over the weed and rocks.
“I tried not to bully the fish because I knew my 40lb trace and 6/0 Kamasan hook could easily straighten, so I eased off at the weed 12ft out. This is where the real fight started, as the ray wanted out and I was exhausted!
“After powering down again the ray surfaced and we were scared at the size of it and wary of its tail, which was waving around.”
Club angler Anton James went into the water to help, but the stinger was in no mood to be handled. Andrew got behind it and they tried to get a hold of this slippery, slimy and dangerous ray because they didn’t have a gaff.
“Luckily we were wearing waders and managed to guide it up the beach with our feet, by which time I was breathing so heavily I couldn’t speak, while Anton kept an eye on the wicked tail. It’s a fish of a lifetime,” said Andrew, “and my biggest shore specimen in over 45 years of sea angling.”