Wales

Giant skate: Powys angler David Griffiths' 107kg fish

The skate
Image caption The one that didn't get away - but was then put back: The monster skate landed by David Griffiths

An angler who landed a giant skate after a 90-minute struggle says it followed a "classic Jaws moment".

David Griffiths, from Powys, hauled the 107kg (16st 12lb), 2.3m (7ft 6in) fish to the surface off Oban, Argyll.

He said it broke the British record by about 3.6kg (8lb), but it was not official because it was not weighed on a quay or bank.

Clicks of the rod's reel after a quiet day were the first clues to the fight ahead, but he ended up putting it back.

Mr Griffiths, a fishing book publisher from Sarn, near Newtown, said it took four people to lift the skate onto the fishing vessel Laura Dawn II during a trip with friends and his 12-year-old son William. On the same trip William landed a 51kg (113lb) skate.

He said it was only the second time he had been skate fishing and normally stuck to rivers.

"It was about halfway through the day and I had caught nothing. Then there was a click, click, click of the rod's reel - it was a classic Jaws moment," Mr Griffiths said.

"The boat's skipper Ronnie Campbell told me to put my harness on and standing up I secured the end of the rod into what's called a butt pad.

Image caption David Griffiths battled the skate for 90 minutes off Oban, Scotland

"The skate has a suction pad and was stuck to the sea bed 500ft below. After about 30 minutes it was within 100ft of the surface but then decided to go back down - it was a real battle."

Mr Griffiths did not let his opponent off the hook and after an hour-and-a-half he and three friends lifted the fish onto the boat during their trip on 2 April.

"The fish measured 91in (2.3m) from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail and 71in (1.8m) wide," added Mr Griffiths.

"We then used a conversion chart to get the weight. It broke the British record, but for it be official I would have had to kill the fish and then have it weighed on dry land.

"I don't agree with that, so I let the fish go after we'd taken a few photos."

Mr Griffiths, who used bait of mackerel and squid to lure the fish, said the skate had been a worthy adversary.

"When we got back to Oban a few locals heard about the catch and quipped: "That's a big fish. How many chips will you need with that?'"

Image caption David Griffiths put the skate back in the water after a few photographs

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