CRAIG MacKay had to endure a titanic five hour battle before landing a new shore caught British record common skate, weighing 223lb.
The 49-year-old from Halkirk in Scotland, used a whole mackerel bait from an undisclosed mark on the North coast of the country. And just 30 minutes after casting out he hooked in to the huge specimen and began an epic fight to land what he described as ‘the most amazing fish you could ever catch’.
“I could barely stand by the end and even had cramp throughout the scrap” he told Angling Times. “The fish stripped off yards and yards of line and then it swam beneath a huge undercut on the cliff.
It took me ages to get it out and then I had to move back to where I originally hooked the fish in order to be positioned low enough to lift it out onto the rocks - even then we had to wait for a big wave to get it high enough.”
The fish, which will go down in history as an unclaimed record due to the fact it was released alive by Craig, has smashed the official record of 169lb 6oz caught by Gordon MacKenzie from the Isle of Lewis back in 1994.
However, Craig, who has only been fishing for two years, knew a fish of this size was possible after his angling partner, Murray Farmer caught one of a similar weight last year.
“We knew they were there but I had never actually caught one before after losing four in previous sessions. I was desperate to give it another go this year with Murray.
“There was no way I would kill it to claim a record because skate of this size are as old as me. They are a beautiful fish which belong back in the ocean,” added Scot, who is already planning to break his record. “I want to see if there are bigger fish out there but will have to wait a few days as I am still sore from landing this one!”