Portrush 14th July 2013

This was our 2nd attempt this season, at a trip on board Richard Connors boat, “Causeway Lass”, our first attempt being cancelled due to strong winds, 9 members attended.


Stephen Montgomery

Alan Buchanan

Mark Buchanan

Gerard Girvan

Paul Campbell

Bill Bannon

Alan Campbell

Glen Murphy

Dan McMahon


With a good forecast for the day, we decided on an extended 8 hour trip with Richard, in order to sample some of the offshore wrecking, and maybe an attempt at tope fishing near Culdaff. We left harbour at 08.00 sharp, and headed north-west, to the WW1 wreck of the H.M.S. Campbletown, approximately 25 miles out. Our day started well with everyone taking a succession of coalfish in the 2 – 4lb size range. As the tide strength increased during the course of the morning, the Pollock started to hit our lures. We caught a steady stream of decent Pollock, the best of which was an 8lb fish caught by Alan Buchanan, on a flying collar rig, armed with an orange side-winder lure.


As the tide strength increased further, we found it difficult to make contact with the wreck, and the fishing dropped off somewhat, so we moved to a piece of broken ground to try a few drifts there. We caught a few gurnards here, including a nice red gurnard or 2 from Dan McMahon, and a small tub gurnard for Alan Buchanan. We also took a few dozen Joey mackerel which we needed for our tope fishing attempt.


Richard then moved on to the chosen mark for the tope, and skilfully set the anchor, after attaching a large “rubby-dubby” bag to the chain.

Within 20 minutes of the “pick” going down, we were into our first tope of the day, a fish of 9lb 8oz for Stephen Montgomery. This was Stephens first ever tope, and he was well chuffed. A short while later it was Bill Bannons turn to hook up, and this looked to be a much more substantial fish, giving a great account for itself by pulling line from his multiplier repeatedly. As it surfaced beside the boat, it turned out to be not the expected tope, but a beautiful specimen spurdog, which pulled the scales to an incredible 19lb 2oz. This is by far the biggest spurdog caught by any member of our club, and only 3lb short of the Irish record.


On any one of the clubs last few years of fishing trips, this would have easily been the biggest catch of the day, but unfortunately for Bill, not on this special day.

Within minutes of Bill’s fish being safely returned to the sea, Alan Campbell’s reel signified another big fish was present, and Alan struggled to bring this fish to the boat. After what appeared to be an eternity, a huge tope surfaced astern, to be deftly tailed into the boat by Skipper Richard. This fish dwarfed Bill’s spurdog, and pulled the scales to 38lb, the biggest catch in club history. The tope carried a red I.D. tag from a previous angler, which was noted by Richard, and after a few photos were taken, she was released un-harmed to fight another day.


This was definitely Alan Campbell and Bill Bannon's day, as Alan went on to take another tope of 16lb and an 11lb 9oz spurdog, while Bill took another spur of 10lb 10oz and a bull-huss of 5lb. Stephen Montgomery also took his first ever bull-huss, weighing in at 6lb 8oz, and Alan Buchanan caught his first ever huss, weighing in at 6lb 4oz. There were also the usual L.S.D,s but not in any plague proportions. The final catch at the days end was a small tope of 6lb for Stephen Montgomery. All these fish were safely returned.


This was probably one of the best outings in the 28 year history of the club, and was much needed after some very disappointing trips of late. Many thanks to Richard for his skills at putting us in the right place at the right time.



1st place     Alan Campbell       38lb tope                      15 points


2nd place     Bill Bannon            19lb 2oz spurdog           10 points


3rd place     Alan Campbell        16lb tope                       5 points


Photos of Portrush

Mariner Sea Angling Club


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