Larne and District Angling Club recently organised a trip to Tralee, County Kerry.
Competition started with baited traces lobbed near and far, consisting of cocktails of spider crab, ragworm and fresh mackerel against a gradual incoming tide.
Barry Platt was first on the scorecard with a 40cm Bass, followed minutes later with a second 35cm. Junior angler Daniel Hagan was cleaning up his zone with three hooked flounder.
This, the first of two competitions, soon came to an end, and the scoreboards were collected. Platt finished in first place, Hagan in second with Benny Glass a close third.
On the second day’s fishing, anglers on the boat and went in search of a fresh catch. Competition got under way in open seas near Kerry Head, where pollock, wrasse and cod were soon being reeled. With the boats moving to more shallow waters, the competitors tried in vain to hook tope or stingray but the common catch - dogfish - did surface. With day two drawing to a close, the illusive stingray, native to the waters was still not hooked. Gannon Robinson took top spot, Hagan again claimed second with Glass in third.
On day three, the boat went in search of fresh mackerel but only a few were found. Rod tips bent down as the trace dragged itself from sand to weed depths of the sea bottom.
Then Anna Platt’s rod thumped down with force as a hooked fish tried in vain to break free. Anna reeled in the line and the outline of a ray came closer to the top side of the boat and a trace and ray was lifted into the boat. Loud cheers rang out as everyone noticed the species was actually a stingray weighing 10lbs 14ozs - the heaviest boat fish of the year so far.
The day ended with a second stingray catch, landed in flying style by Tommy Grainger. Both rays were returned to the waters.