A NORTH Yorkshire angler has landed the big one - the largest fish ever caught from the British shoreline.
Daniel Bennett, 26, from Whitby, was on a fishing trip to the Isle of Skye, in the Inner Hebrides, with friends when he caught the 208lb skate.
Mr Bennett said the fish – which took around an hour and 15 minutes to land with rod and line – has created a buzz among the local fishing community and his Facebook page has been inundated with messages.
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He said: “I’ve been fishing for about 20 years and have caught some large fish, but never anything like this.
“A group of friends and I go fishing to Scotland every year because we like the different types of fish you can catch there, and have been to Skye for the last couple of years.
“Last year we caught a tope shark which weighed about 45 lbs – it was a shock to catch that from the shore.”
The angler caught the skate - a rare protected fish species similar to a stingray - after it latched onto half a mackerel fillet that he had used as bait.
The catch, which was 88.25 inches long by 66.75 inches wide, is being checked by the British Record Fish Committee, which has rigorous procedures when it comes to the authenticity of claims.
Prior to Mr Bennett's catch, the largest fish caught off British shores was a 159lb skate, which was reeled in on the Isle of Lewis in 1994.
Mr Bennett added: “Before my catch my friend caught one that was about 120 lb. We thought we’d never find one any bigger - but we did an hour later.
“The key to bringing in a fish that size is to be patient. You have to reel it in a bit then let it out slowly when it pulls, and keep going until it gets tired. It is a real adrenaline rush to know you are fighting something really big.”
The British Record Fish Committee has said Mr Bennett’s skate is likely to be a record breaker.
Committee secretary Nick Simmonds said: “Skate are protected so they have to be thrown back. They have to be measured and we estimate its weight.
“The largest skate we currently have on our list is 169 lb from the shore, so Mr Bennett’s fish is considerably larger.
“It is the size we would normally expect to be found further offshore so to know there are skate of this size near the shoreline is excellent news.
“It’s a magnificent fish – I’m glad it is protected and it is nice to know it is back in the sea.”