Wfsa press report Scotland skate trip

Many an angler would love to catch a huge common skate from a boat but catching one from the shore is the ultimate prize that many an of us only dream of. Not only did we do this once we actually hooked up eights times in total and landed four,  plus many species that you would never think you could catch from the same environment.                                                                                          

It stared back last year when some of the lads from SWSA met up with some lads from down South to arrange two trips one to Isle of White and one to Scotland. Paul Swainston lives in Southampton we have known each other for six years. Paul suggested a venue in Scotland where he had been before with a colleague, selecting a few anglers fitting to take on the job - Paul arranged the trip.

We stayed at Lochaline dive center which we used as our base. It sleeps 24 based on two people sharing self-catering or ask when you book for food prices. 

The center has a dry room, its ideal for your smelly clothes to hang up and dry. It's run by Faith and Callum Finnigan they are amazing  hosts. If you've never tried haggis ask for a cooked breakfast with haggis - i can highly recommend it. The center is good for walkers, mountain bikers, divers, people working, and for us fisherman. 

Lee with his target species

Top match angler Lee Byrne from Barry, smashing the species out right left and center from ling up to 10lb to strings of pollock on lures wrasse, Congers, spurs, dogs,  coal fish and thorn back rays. Lee was using a selection of baits from Ammo. 

Jamie with just one of his spurs

Jamie Sargent from Swansea,  another experience angler was also hitting the species and bagging up on coal fish on Sabikis.,pollock, conger and spurs. again Ammo baits. 

Ben Eastman was the first to experience the shear power of of the monsters from the deep, using Ammo mackerel on Cox and rawl 10/0 meat hooks, he hooked in to a beautiful specimen which took the 24 year old from Barry about 30 minutes to land with the length at 84 inches and the width at 66 inches our guides gave Ben the weight 196lb. We only lifted her out to the edge of the water and she was safely released, a video of her swimming away can be shown. well done Ben he also had his pb conger of the shore of just over 18 lb plus spurs and thornies dogs and many other species 


Male skate Paul swainston

Female skate Paul swainston

Next to bag up with with a feisty male skate was Paul Swainston from Southampton using BAITS ARE US. mackerel and 10/0 Cox and rawl meat hooks with 250lb mono. The male are more aggressive than the female so it can put up a fight like you never seen making huge runs and going to ground, this 56 inch across by 70 inch in length took Paul two and a half hours to land weighing in at 98lb. 

No sooner had he put his rod back on his stand the other rod took off.

With Paul screaming skate on! We all started to move towards him with disbelief. this girl was a dead lump, taking a further three and a half hours to land. The lad had a total of six hours of pain with the rod like a letter C, but top marks to the guy, not once did he pass his rod with his trophy finish of 67 inches across and 86 in length, it weighed in at a whopping 202lb that's 300lb of fish in total amazing off the shore.  He also had countless species through the week. 

Biggest skate of the week to John Howcroft

Cracking ling for John

John Howcroft from Cardiff was on form as well,at  one point there was a three way hook up with John, Paul, and Nick Beevis . John had scaled down one of his rods using 8/0 sakuma manta extras and 250lb mono targeting the ling, when this monster female decided to take the smaller bait, dragging John deep into the kelp beds. Then three hours and 36mins later John pulled it from the kelp with Paul shouting polite words of encouragement in his ear, it came in at 67 inches in width and 89 inches in length smashing his Pb shore and boat record with a huge 210lb 

John also smashed some cracking species with one being a huge ling. Amazing achievement John. Well done all the weights are based on estimations confirmed by our guides not us, there is a graph the below, click on the link  .

Nick bevies with a lovely codling.

Well myself and Nick Beevis both had skate on and lost them, mine after two hours spat the hook...  full story will be in the sea angler magazine soon. We would like to thank Paul Swainston and Davy Holt for arranging the trip, also Dave Murry and Ronnie Camble for your constant tips, Andrew alsop supplying some heavy duty tackle.. and Garry Evans tackle shop..  

We actually seen 3 skate swimming towards us on top of the water as well as seals, otters, sea eagles, porpoises, wild deer and stags. Not many groups of traveling anglers can say they have experienced what we did in a weeks fishing in the UK. 

I have already booked my trip back next year. 


Robert Cole WFSA press officer and club chairman of the SWSA

Lee Byrne

Jamie Sargent

Nick Beevis


Ben Eastman

John Howcroft

Paul Swainston


Robert Cole Wfsa press officer.