An­gler takes an hour to reel in world record ray off Portrush coast

Belfast Telegraph - - NEWS - BY JAMES GANT

AN an­gler has caught the world’s largest skate off the coast of Portrush af­ter an hour of “stren­u­ous fight­ing”.

Hamish Cur­rie (59), orig­i­nally from Salt­coats, Ayr­shire, landed the 8ft 3in-long catch in the last week of June, but chose not to re­veal the record un­til the shark­ing sea­son ended in Oc­to­ber.

“I felt good pulling it up, but I spe­cialise in big game an­gling. I don’t do mack­erel trips or any­thing like that,” he said.

“I re­alised how big it was go­ing to be be­fore it came up on deck. As soon as I got it off the bot­tom of the seabed I knew this was the real deal. “I have caught big fish the same as that be­fore but lost them.

“It was so an­noy­ing. Cry­ing. I was in the pain locker, as they call it.

“I was tired, but so was the fish.” Mr Cur­rie, joined by his girl­friend and a friend on his boat Preda­tor, had the beast on the line for 65 min­utes and brought it to the sur­face three times, only for it to over­power him and re­turn to the ocean floor 40 me­tres be­low.

But, us­ing a live 6lb bull huss as bait, Mr Cur­rie got the 7ft wide, 300lb ray on deck.

It smashed the pre­vi­ous record, a 208lb gi­ant caught off the Scot­tish coast in 2014. But Mr Cur­rie said: “They won’t give me the world record though, be­cause I didn’t kill it and I’m not go­ing to kill a fish for a record, I’m not pre­pared to do that.

“They will likely give it the world catch and re­lease record, be­cause it’s mea­sured on a mat in the pic­ture.”

Mr Cur­rie has a his­tory of bat­tling big beasts.

In 2012 he es­caped a shark at­tack off the coast of Is­lay in the Scot­tish In­ner He­brides. A 7ft por­bea­gle bit into his steel toe-capped boot and clamped around his foot, but his crew man­aged to free him from the beast.

His lat­est catch, es­ti­mated to be around 30 years old, was tagged and re­turned to the sea within four min­utes.

But he thinks he can do bet­ter. “Of course I will beat that record, I know I will,” he said.

Hamish Cur­rie with his mam­moth skate, which he tagged and re­leased

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