A new record smoothhound for match angler

A match angler has smashed the British shore-caught smoothhound record with the capture of this 25lb specimen.

Chris Mack swapped his pole for a beachcaster rod and took a trip to Sutton-on-Sea in Lincolnshire where he punched a peeler crab hookbait out to an area of sand and clay at 150yds range.

The Hull-based angler, who usually spends his time competing against some of the best match anglers in the UK at Lindholme Lakes in Doncaster, thought he’d received a bite from a small flatfish when the tip of his rod indicated the faintest of bites.

But when he lifted into it he realised a much bigger specimen was responsible. The ‘Starry’ smoothhound, which smashed his personal best for the species by 7lb, put his 15lb mainline coupled with a 60lb shockleader to the test.

The fish beats the current British best, a smoothie of 23lb 2oz caught in 1972. Chris, however, won’t be submitting a record claim.

“I’m not really bothered about records and to determine whether it’s a ‘starry or a ‘common smoothhound it’s often necessary to kill the fish which is something I’m not prepared to do,” Chris told Angling Times.

“I love my match fishing, but there’s nothing better than getting out on the beach and whacking some baits out as it’s something completely different. It’s good to mix your fishing up a bit.

“When the tip of my rod twitched I thought it was a bite from a little ‘flattie’, but I had a shock when the strike was met with such heavy resistance and then it started heading out to sea.

“I knew it was a big fish, but it was a real surprise when I first saw it appear in the surf and once I got it on the beach I know it was going to be something special before I’d even got it in the sling and on the scales,” he added.

- The Starry Smoothhound is found in the northeast Atlantic from the British Isles and North
Sea to Mauritania and the Canary Isles, including the Mediterranean Sea.
- Can reach a maximum length of 4.5ft, but the average size 3.2ft.
- Grey or greyish brown colour with a scattering of small white spots on its dorsal.
- Prefers places where the seabed is sand or gravel.
- They feed mostly on crustaceans, such as crabs, lobsters and molluscs.

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