Tom Collins of in Union Hall West Cork reports on a very successful trip at the weekend…

A last minute opening came up this Saturday as a result of a weekend cancellation for a keen group of anglers from Limerick aboard Loch an Iasc operating from Union Hall. This group of experienced anglers had an early season target species of Common Skate for which I was delighted to take on the challenge. With plenty of large fresh mackerel caught for hook baits, optimisms were high on our course set offshore to the skate grounds. With the anchor set in a tight gulley amongst the peaky reefs that extend south west towards the Fastnet, large baits were lowered towards the seabed in anticipation of epic battles that happen too few in an anglers lifetime.

Measurements taken indicate that this skate weighed about 170lb

Today was one of those days that become a lifetime experience as opposed to a standard Saturdays charter lobbing Pollack over the gunnels and into un-iced fish boxes to be gutted 8 hours later, par boiled in the early summers sunshine. Within 10 minutes the first skate was hooked which began a 4 hour battle with an uncommon monster skate which was never to be seen. Fortunately enough we had an enthusiastic angling doctor on board who was able to advise on how to diffuse the build-up of lactic acid within the human body after a physically melting fight that finally resulted in failed tackle. In the meantime while two skate were fighting stubbornly, locked on the seabed, novice skate angler Gregory Roche managed to muscle a magnificent skate of 174lb to the boat within 45 mins. With superb team work this magnificent example of a prehistoric flat fish was boated, measured, and safely released without harm.

Gregory’s next skate was bigger again, heading for 210lb and wins our Catch of the Week


The day progressed to see broken rods, broken tackle, and broken men with the favour being in the hands of huge skate. One angler stood out however, with super energetic skills to raise another huge skate off the seabed 70 meters below the clear West Cork waters. This specimen took a lot longer for Gregory to get to the transom of Loch An Iasc but with patience, skill, and a lot of strength within the hour we could see the colour below the stern of another colossal skate. It took six good men to carefully manoeuvre the 210lb skate over the gunnels and after a quick measure and photo shoot it was a skippers delight to watch this specimen skate dive towards the depths to nurture, reproduce and continue the top European fishery that is West Cork Skate fishing.

 Tom Collins

Go Fishing…

Sea angling charters ltd is a modern and energetic business driven at the helm by experienced angler and skipper Tom Collins. We operate a fully insured and licensed charter boat from the picturesque fishing port in Reen, Union Hall, Co. Cork. Reen pier is situated 2 miles west of Union Hall village and is central to some of the most productive fishing grounds and whale feeding areas off the Irish coast. Whether you are a seasoned angler in pursuit of a catch of a lifetime or a passing tourist hoping to get that photo of a breaching whale we aim to fulfil your every need.

Tel: +353 87 2792983