CHART toppers as Donegal Bay bluefin boats hit sensational form


Now I’ve watched my fair share of Wicked Tuna, but I’ve seen more bluefin tuna caught this week in Donegal Bay than in several seasons of the popular TV show. The difference being that all of the tuna caught in Irish waters were not only released, but they also provided invaluable data for the Tuna CHART (Catch and Release Tagging) Bluefin Tuna Data Collection Programme.

To add to that, they also have the potential to attract international angling tourists in future years who will travel to Ireland to spend their euros, pounds, dollars, yen, francs and krona on a sustainable big game fishery that can compete with any on the planet for its quality. The economic boost that this type of sustainable tourism could provide to badly hit rural regions in a post-Covid, post-Brexit Ireland could mean the difference between local enterprises and service providers continuing to exist while remaining profitable, or not, as the case may be.

To the fishing and first stop is with Kiwi Girl and Declan Kilgannon fishing Donegal Bay out of Mullaghmore in Sligo. Declan’s guests, Martin Kennedy and Jack Vassallo, managed to land a number of good fish on Tuesday 25th after a fantastic day on the water. If you’ve never seen a Penn International reel being put to the test by one of the most powerful fish on the planet, you can now – check out the video above.

Deep in the hurt locker on Kiwi Girl

Over with WildAtlanticWayAngling Tuna Mick reports on another fantastic day on the water last Friday 21st with the best BFT fishing in the world. He had Ciaran Flanagan, Colin Lynch, Nicky Mackin, Emmet Duffy, Paul Teague, Mark Thornton and Peter Mc Caughey and in terms of fish caught – they nearly had one for everyone in the audience. Smallest fish was 350 lbs and biggest was 620 lbs. It was one of their best days fishing ever as they were never more than 15 mins trolling without a fish on!!! Sensational stuff.

Another bluefin tagged and ready to release aboard wildatlanticwayangling

Not to be out-done by his neighbours in Donegal Bay, Adrian Molloy of also reports incredible fishing aboard Deep Blue where, in a spell of calm weather on Monday 24th, they caught a number of fish on both stand-up gear and from the fighting chair. The biggest two fish estimated at over 500 lbs and 450 lbs both taken on stand-up gear. One small fish was recorded at around 170 lbs and the others were in the 250 lbs – 350 lbs size range. A good day’s fishing by any standards! Adrian and his guests have had similar success aboard Deep Blue nearly every day in the last week when the weather allowed.

Holding tight aboard Deep Blue

If you want a skippers eye view of what it looks like when a 350 lbs bluefin tuna hits the surface while chasing a lure have a look at how Adrian sees it aboard Deep Blue below!


Tagged and ready to go, this is what it’s all about

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