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Blue fin tuna fishing in Ireland

The Bluefin Tuna Experience 2003

The CFB is Grateful to Adrian Molloy of Tuna Charters, Ireland, for permission to publish this report here. For bookings and more information visit www.tunacharters.ie. In 2003 Adrian's boat Naomh Carta had about 50 strikes which resulted in 18 hookups. In total 12 fish were brought to the boat, the biggest a whopping 700 lb, the "smallest" 350 lb.

Another tuna comes alongside.

After a slow start a number of confirmed sightings of Bluefin were recorded in late August and early September. The Tuna run seemed to be about three weeks later than normal. Water temperatures at the time (1st November)were a little above normal at 12.5 c.

The first hook-up of 2003 was on 3rd September. This fish was lost after a short fishgt. Small numbers of Bluefin were sighted later that evening. The following week saw a number of sightings of Tuna on a couple of occassions, but no strikes came from efforts to catch one.

Large numbers of Bluefin on Monday 15th September, looks like being a very late run this year !

Congratulations to Michael McVeigh on landing the first Bluefin of the season on Saturday September 20th 2003 aboard his boat "Rosguill".

A double hook-up aboard "Naomh Cartha" on the same day - September 20th, both fish boated, tagged and released using satellite pop-up tags supplied by the "Tag a Giant" programme run by Stanford University and supported in Ireland by B.I.M

Congratulations to anglers Richard Fishbourne and James Heggie who caught the 2 fish from Tuna Charters boat "Naomh Cartha". The fish weighed approximately 400-450 l.b's each.

Sunday 21st September James Heggie catches his second Bluefin from "Naomh Cartha" a fish over 300 l.b's. All fish caught this season by Tuna Charters have been released unharmed. All weights are estimated from the length and girth measurements of the fish. For the 3 to 4 minutes the fish are aboard water is kept flowing through the gills to keep the fish healthy. Pictures of the tagged fish will be posted when available. Data about the movements of the fish, water temperatures and depths the fish reaches are stored within the tag and tramsmitted to satellite in a few months time when the tag is automatically released from the fish. See the "Tag A Giant" website for details of how the system operates.

Large shoals of Bluefin in the area at the moment. Close inshore well away from the clutches of the overseas commercial boats.

September 22nd to 26th no fishing due to bad weather. Hopefully the weekend will see an improvement in conditions.

Sunday 28th September hooked up with another giant - slipped the hook after 30 minutes.

Friday 3rd October - BBC film crew captures the moment when Felix Hughes catches his second Bluefin - congratulations Felix on a fine fish of over 300 l.b's - look out for the programme "Big Six" on BBC digital commencing in November.

Inclement weather keeps the boats ashore from 4th to 10th.October.

Some sightings of Bluefin from 10th to 17th October - no hook-ups however.

Congratulations to the skipper and crew of charter boat "Bonito" out of Downings on landing their first giant Tuna !!

Giant Bluefin caught from John Brittains boat "Bluewater" out of Clifden. Fish tagged with satellite pop-up tag and released. Congratulations John !!

Good sightings on 18th October and 2 strikes however no fish were boated.

October 19th 3 Bluefin captured by Toby Cooke (1) and Martin Stracey (2) from Tuna Charters boat "Naomh Cartha" congratulations lads !!

While the weather in the area has been very poor in the area this month (October) with a large number of days lost to bad sea conditions - catches have been quite good on the days we have been able to put to sea !

October 23rd a Bluefin over 350 l.b's caught by a group of French anglers with Tuna Charters Ireland from Ireland's number one Tuna Charter boat "Naomh Cartha"

October 28th the largest fish of the season to date was caught by Skipper Adrian Molloy fishing from the "Naomh Cartha"- estimated weight 670 l.b's

Hopefully weather conditions will improve before the end of the season as fish numbers seem to be quite high at the moment. Good sightings of Tuna on most days when the weather conditions are reasonable and a large number of strikes this month

November 1st 2 Bluefin were caught from Tuna Charters boat "Naomh Cartha" one by local angler Sylvester Hiemstra - approximate weight of this fish 600 l.b's. the other was caught by well known local charter Skipper Alistair McElwaine - Alistair's fish weighed approximately 500 l.b's. !!

Bad weather keeps the boat ashore for most of early November, Pat Craig of Glenties catches his first Giant Bluefin from "Naomh Cartha" on November 10th, the fish weighed approx 460 l.b's.

Bluefin seen on November 16th - no hook-ups. Weather conditions mostly poor during the week.

In early October Spanish purse seiner arrived in Irish inshore waters to investigate the possibility of fishing for Bluefin, will the Irish Government act to protect this valuable resource ? Ireland is currently a sanctuary for cetaceans (whales and dolphins) if you would like to see Irish waters also become a sanctuary for Bluefin Tuna please make your feelings known to the Irish Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources or contact the Irish media seeking a ban on purse netting of all Tunas in Irish waters up to 200 miles offshore. Please take the time to write and thank you for your support.

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