It’s not easy for a skipper to switch from their ‘bread and butter’ fishing – be that wreck and reef fishing, targeting shark species or ground fishing – to trying something completely different which requires not only specialised tackle and tactics but a whole new approach than the norm. That is what many of the skippers who have signed up to participate in the Bluefin Tuna CHART Programme have had to do in the last year or two, pretty much start from scratch and learn a whole new type of fishing.

So it’s really nice to be able to report on a first tagged fish of the season from a part of the country that hasn’t tagged one yet in 2020, and that fish was caught by Luke Aston’s crew aboard the Clare Dragoon, fishing out of Carrigaholt Sea Angling Centre; this fish of 300 lbs+ was caught, tagged and released last Thursday August 27th. Congratulations to Luke and crew, it’s great to see the effort and expense begin to pay off with this potentially lucrative ‘new’ brand of fishing for the area.

First BFT of 2020 for the Clare Dragoon

Needless to say the boats fishing off of the Donegal and Sligo coastlines are well underway this season with several more BFT tagged in the last week. Killybegs Fishing Charters, who are approved members of Failte Ireland’s Covid-19 Safety Charter for operating in line with current Government public health advice, have had some good success with fish up to a whopping 101 inches and a double hook up where both fish were brought alongside safely – great fun!

Hard labour aboard the MV Fiona Tee….
…but the rewards make it all worthwhile

Kiwi Girl continued her run of good fishing with some really tough battles on stand up gear for those anglers who wanted to test their mettle against one of the fastest fish in the seas! Several more fish were tagged by Declan and crew who are making a real success of the CHART tagging licence this year.

He’s a stand up guy!

Adrian Molloy has some more nice footage from aboard Deep Blue, this time John McBride was on camera and caught a tuna busting out after baitfish in the area – you can view the footage on the Facebook page. Adrian has tagged a number of fish all in the 400 lbs size range in the last number of days while over with WildAtlanticWayAngling Tuna Mick has been busy too, Mick has had consistent success this season with some excellent fishing days.

Another BFT for TunaMick
And yet another bluefin for Deep Blue


Authorised Vessels

Anglers wishing to engage in this fishery must only do so on a sea angling vessel specifically authorised to participate in the pilot programme.  Any person engaging in this fishery on any vessel which is not appropriately authorised will be in breach of the Sea-Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction (Bluefin Tuna) Regulations.

A full list of authorised skippers can be found below:


Vessel name

Current Port

Adrian Molloy
Killybegs, Co. Donegal
Brian McGilloway
Killybegs Co. Donegal
Donal McMenamin
Killybegs, Co. Donegal
Michael Callaghan
Killybegs, Teelin, Co. Donegal
Michael McGettigan
Killybegs, Co. Donegal
Patrick O’Doherty
Bundoran Pier Co. Donegal
Daryl Ewing
Rosses Point, Co. Sligo
Declan Kilgannon
Mullaghmore Co. Sligo
John Brittain
Cleggan, Co. Galway
Luke Aston
Carrigaholt, Co. Clare
Noel Kelleher
Kilrush, Co. Clare
Peter Power
Mullaghmore Co. Sligo
Thomas McCallion
Rosses Point, Co. Sligo
Carroll O’Donoghue
Kinsale, Co. Cork
David Edwards
Courtmacsherry, Co. Cork
Derek Schwartau
Ballycotton, Co. Cork
Séan Maxwell
Courtmacsherry, Co. Cork
Tony Santry
Marlogue, Cobh Island, Cork Harbor
Adrian Nowotynski
Union Hall Co. Cork
Kieran Collins
Baltimore, Co. Cork
Tom Collins
Reen, Union Hall, Co. Cork