Surprise capture of one of UK’s rarest fish


by Aidan Bordiuk |
Published on

Of all the species to catch in British waters, the shad is one of the rarest, especially when caught in freshwater, which unsurprisingly left Dan Spearman in complete shock when he landed this enormous specimen.

Dan wasspinning for mullet on a tidal stretch of a North Devon river when he connected with the fish that is believed to be an allis shad, even rarer than the twaite shad that can also be caught from UK rivers.

As if this wasn't enough, the fish measured 63cm, and Dan estimated it weighed around 5lb, which would have beaten the current British Record of 4lb 12oz for the species which was caught in 1977, which incidentally, was only 60cm long.

The fish wasn't weighed as they are shad are on the red list of threatened species in the UK. They must not be caught by design, and any landed must be carefully handled and swiftly released. They often make their way upstream into freshwater to spawn.

"I was spinning for mullet using a Mepps size 4 spinner in bronze on a tidal river on a North Devon river," he told us.

"When I had the take, I thought it was a monster mullet until it started jumping clear of the water. I have never known mullet to be airborne during the fight so had my suspicions it could be something else."

"When I netted the fish I realised it was a shad, so I quickly took some pictures of this special fish and realised it back unharmed."

"I have been told it is an allis shad as the species tends to grow larger and has less discernible spots on its flank, either way I'm over the moon with the capture," Dan said.

WANT TO CATCH SOME OF THE UK'S WEIRDEST AND RAREST FISH? CHECK OUT OUR WHERE TO FISH GUIDE.

Dan with his incredibly rare capture.
Dan with his incredibly rare capture.

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