A Killybegs angler has caught a record sized specimen sea trout at the Erne estuary in Ballyshannon.
The fish was caught two weeks ago, on May 21st by the delighted father of four who says for him “it’s the fish of a life time”.
John Cunningham (48) spent ten minutes landing the fish after hooking it from the shore using a special mackerel bait. “It was good fun,” he laughed when asked to recall the battle to land the monster.
The 11 lb 1oz fish was more than five times the size of the average sea trout caught in Irish waters. It’s understood the previous local record in the Ballyshannon area for a sea trout was circa 8 lbs.
At 72cm long, it was 32cm over the limit to retain and it had to go back into the water for conservation.
The fish will be officially branded a specimen fish by the Irish Specimen Fish Committee. For a sea trout to become a specimen it must weigh over 6 lbs.
The record for an Irish sea trout is 16 lb 6 oz, caught in County Down in 1983. The fish landed by John Cunningham is believed to be the biggest one caught on a rod and line at sea, instead of inland in the rivers and lakes.
Mr Cunningham is a keen sports fisherman.
Local town councillor Billy Grimes said the achievement underlines just how rich the fishing grounds in and around Ballyshannon are and he suggested that the catch underlined the great attraction sea and river angling offers in and around Ballyshannon.