Ballycastle 28th July 2013

Skipper/Boat: Sean McKay/Lady Lynda


Dan McMahon

Roy McCoy

Alan Campbell

Frank Montgomery

Jimmy Silcock

Glen Murphy


Weather: Lovely at first, rain later in the day


Rigs: Sidewinders on booms, hokkais, Mackerel flappers and mini feathers

Bait: Mackerel, Squid and Rag worm
After the clubs last trip in Portrush, there was a new found optimism amongst us as we boarded Sean McKays Lady Lynda for a days angling out of Ballycastle. Earlier in the season, Sean had arranged this date for us to give us a real good slack tide to go out fishing on. This meant we could push right out into some of the deeper water marks on the far side of Rathlin Island. True to his word and with the sun blazing we started the long steam out just after 8am. Sean had gathered enough mackerel for us the day before to use as bait, meaning we could get straight out to our chosen marks.


We were greeted on the way to Rathlin by several pods of dolphins which looked majestic as they came leaping out of the water. When we finally arrived at our mark, Sean instructed us to try for pollock on a boom, with either a sidewinder or jellyworm at the business end. The first few drifts only produced two fish both falling to Dan McMahon on a pink sidewinder. A quick move over to another mark soon had Jimmy Silcock into the action with a lovely pollock just over the 6lb mark. Unfortunately for us this was all to be had at these marks, so we headed to a mark named bull point to feather some fresh bait for a go on the sand later in the day. We were not disappointed as there was a huge shoal of mackerel directly under us as soon as we arrived. After about 20 mins the bait buckets were filled and Sean moved us over to one of his favourite sand banks, were he duly set out fresh rubby dubby on a dropped anchor.


It did not take long for the first bites to arrive. Frank Montgomery, Glen and Alan Campbell soon had some nice dogfish landed. Roy McCoy soon landed some nice dabs. We also took some nice grey, red and tub gurnards. After a huge rain shower Alan Campbell got a much more solid take on his rod. Sean predicted it was a spurdog biting at him, and to start winding slowly. After a couple of turns he was soon into a lovely spur just under the 10lb mark. This cheered the mood up on board, the heavy rain showers having given us all a soaking. The spurdog was released, and again there was a steady catch of dogfish for around an hour.


Then suddenly Alan Campbell’s rod got a serious knock once again. Sean, along with some of the more experienced guys on the boat knew what it was straight away, a common skate. Alan was soon harnessed up by Sean and battle commenced. These big flatfish are well known for their stubbornness not to move of the bottom, this proved to be the case for Alan. He pulled and pulled got 5 yards back on the reel, and the skate replied by taking 20 yards back a second later. After about 30 mins Alan finally got it of the bottom and started making good ground on it, but the fish far from done, stripped more line off the reel, and settled back on the bottom of the sea bed. Another half hour passed with both angler and fish tiring fast, but thankfully Alan was really starting to put the pressure on the fish, and we caught our first glance of it as it came though the water. Sean then pointed out just because we could now see the fish it didn’t mean it was landed, and told Alan not to count his chickens yet.


The skate made one last bid from freedom around 1 hour 30 mins into the fight but Alan under the instructions of Sean had it beat. As the fish came it was expertly gaffed in and the huge cheer went up by all. The fish was huge, Sean in quick time had it unhooked and measured and after a quick photo opportunity the fish was released none the worse and swam off as graceful as anything you can imagine. After the release Sean came out of the wheelhouse and told us the great news that the fish weighed in at a massive 186lb according to measurements. This was great news, even better news was the fish counts in a cup competition we are having in memory of our former chairman Tom Hamill. The competition is to be fished on all Ballycastle trips this season with the biggest fish overall to take the honours, it would be fitting for a new club record to win the cup.


We then headed for shore with a new club record safely intact and memories of a lifetime for all who were on board, and we are all really looking forward to our 2 remaining trips with Sean later in the season.


1st place       Alan Campbell     186lb skate       15 points

2nd place       Alan Campbell     9lb spurdog       10 points

3rd place       Jimmy Silcock       6lb pollock       5 points



Photos of Ballycastle

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