Portrush 20th July 2014

This was the clubs only remaining trip to Portrush, on board” Causeway Lass”, with Skipper Richard Connors, our other 2 bookings having to be cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances. 9 members and 1 guest attended. Portrush was the chosen venue for our “Tom Hamill Memorial Trophy”, and the club member catching the biggest fish of the day would be awarded this at our A.G.M. at the end of the season.

Roy McCoy

Stephen Montgomery

Dan McMahon

Gerard Girvan

Glen Murphy

Alan Buchanan

John McCourt

Dennis Stevens

Bill Bannon

Gareth Peoples (guest)

We had high hopes for this trip, as Skipper Richard has had good successes of late with Tope, and these were to be our main target species for the day. The forecast couldn’t have been better with light winds and tides predicted, and this forecast proved to be correct.

We set off at 09.00 and headed towards the mouth of the Foyle estuary, stopping on the way to gather mackerel for bait. At first the baitfish were patchy, but we soon found the shoals and wasted no time in filling a box for use both as bait and “rubby-dubby”.

Richard set the anchor over our chosen mark, and down went our tope rigs baited with large mackerel fillets or flappers. First into a fish was John McCourt, when after fishing for just 10 minutes, his rod buckled right over as a good fish swam off with his bait. After a brief battle, the fish was being skilfully tailed and lifted through the open access door by skipper Richard and his very able deckhand Connor. This was Johns first Tope, and his biggest ever catch, and was greeted by a huge cheer from the other club members. It was photographed, weighed at 26lb, and safely returned.


Almost immediately, Stephen Montgomery’s rod bent into a good fish, which put up a great struggle on his very sporting outfit, before surfacing beside the boat. This was an even better fish than Johns, and made another few dives for freedom, before once again being tailed by Connor. On the scales it weighed 39lb, a new club record, beating the 38lb Tope record set last season on Richards’s boat by Alan Campbell.


Dan McMahon was next into a fish, which made a few heart-stopping runs, a cracking Tope of 36lb12oz. This was followed by a 29lb 4oz fish for Gerard Girvan, his first ever Tope. After a short quiet spell, Stephen Montgomery was into yet another good fish, 40lbs on the scales, beating his own record set just an hour before. In no time at all, John McCourt hooked up again, this fish making some powerful runs, before being landed, and weighed in at 32lb 2oz. Alan Buchanan then took the only Tope landed that day from the Port side of the boat, with a new personal best fish of 28lbs 5oz.


The best fish of the day though then fell to Dan McMahon, who landed another huge Tope, and broke the club record yet again with a fish of 42lb 11oz.

The fishing went quiet now apart from the usual dogfish, and some rare catches of large spider crabs, never seen before on a club outing. These were taken home and cooked by Dennis Stevens, and tasted very nice according to him.

Richard suggested a move to more mixed ground for our last 2 hours fishing. This ground produced some nice Spurdogs, best being a nice 13lb 4oz specimen for Stephen Montgomery, a 12lb 2oz specimen for Bill Bannon and an 11lb 10oz fish for Dan McMahon, just 4oz below specimen weight. Roy McCoy took a Spur of around 7lb 10oz to complete a great days sport. Other species on caught from this mark were Whiting, Red and Grey Gurnards, Codling, Dogfish and Scad.

Once again Richard came up trumps, with surely the best days fishing in club history. No fewer than 11 double figure fish taken, and the club Tope record broken three times within 2 hours. All the Tope and Spurdogs were safely released back to the sea.

We wish to thank Richard and Connor, for all their help landing and unhooking those big Tope and Spurdogs, and look forward to our return visits next season.


“Tom Hamill Memorial Trophy 2014”, Winner Daniel McMahon.


1st place                 Dan McMahon                42lb 11oz Tope           15 points

2nd place                Stephen Montgomery      40lb Tope                  10 points

3rd place                 Stephen Montgomery      39lb Tope                   5 points



Photos of Portrush

Mariner Sea Angling Club


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