Massive skate hooked off coast of Scotland
A Welsh fisherman needed 90 minutes to land one of the largest skates ever caught, a 235-pound behemoth hooked in the Firth of Lorn, off the Scottish coast.
David Griffiths of Powys, Wales, landed the 7-foot-6-inch fish earlier this month.
He said it broke the British record by nearly 10 pounds, but his catch was not considered official because it was not weighed on dry land, according to the BBC.
Landing the beast was no easy feat. Using mackerel and squid as bait, Griffiths managed to get the skate to within a few dozen feet of the surface before it dove back down, he said.
“The skate has a suction pad and was stuck to the sea bed 500 feet below,” he said. “After about 30 minutes it was within 100 feet of the surface but then decided to go back down – it was a real battle.”
Griffiths, a fishing book publisher, said it took four people to lift the skate onto the boat after he brought it to the surface. He said it was only the second time he had been skate fishing.
After taking a few photos of the fish, Griffiths returned it to the sea.
Griffiths most likely caught a common skate (Dipturus batis), which is the largest skate in the world, reaching up to 10 feet in length and enjoying a life span of approximately 50 years, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History.
Fossil records of skates date back to the Lower Jurassic epoch, some 150 million years ago.
Unlike some species of rays, skates lack stinging spines and are completely harmless to humans.
The common skate, once abundant in the Northeast Atlantic and Mediterranean, is now classified as critically endangered.
(Top: The 235-pound skate landed by David Griffiths off the coast of Scotland earlier this month.)