Specimen comp May cover

UK Shore Catch Reports species and specimen competition – May

This month saw almost 50 anglers submit fish into the competition, with a high number of specimen fish being recorded, resulting in some impressive high totals.

The nature of the competition remains that it is possible to win with both a high count of species, or a few quality specimens. As an inaugral year, getting this balance right will require some fine tweaking. We’re seeing at the moment that it would take a monumental species count to keep up with some of the specimen anglers. Whether an increase in specimen sizes or reduction in specimen points is the answer will depend on how the rest of the year pans out.

Congratulations to the months winners!

Regardless of whether the scoring is favouring specimens or species currently, everyone has the same rules to play by. By that very virtue it remains fair to all and this brings us to congratulating this months winners.

In first place, with a remarkable haul of specimens encompassing bass, small eyed ray, thornback ray and a pair of hounds is Simon Lancastle. With everyone expecting the south coast to walk this compettion, it’s great to see that the Bristol Channel is holding its own, where we understand all of Simon’s fish to have come from.

Second place went to April’s winner Jordan Clarke, with a pair of spcimen blonde ray to accompany a specimen black bream and hound. That’s great consistency over two months!

Finishing off the top 3 was Rob Stammas, with a pair of specimen hounds and a bass, topped up with a number of non specimen species such as a corkwing wrasse.

Time for the hounds

Specimen hounds dominated this month, with a number of anglers fortunate enough to get the maximum 2 that can qualify each month. Next month is likely to see a repeat. So you may want to get those peeler crab baits ready!

Being a pack fish, hounds are the sort you can plough through in numbers until you pick up that specimen. They were one of the reasons the maximum specimen number was set at 2, else the right person in the right spot really could run away with it!

With all this peeler crab in use, it was no surprise to see a number of specimen bass caught this month too!

Consistent rays

After the hounds, the next most liekly species to be recorded as specimens were the many ray species. Whether this be stingray on the south coast, welsh blondes or Bristol Channel thornbacks. It’s a clear sign that ray numbers seem to be doing very well around our coastlines.

Having witnessed thornback rays take over the Bristol Channel and become vastly more common in the south east too, whilst undulate and stingray numbers only go up in the south coast, has ray fishing ever been better in the UK?

Next month… more variety?

With summer now well upon us, we’re expecting June’s catches to start offering a bit more variety. Bream, mackerel, red mullet, golden grey mullet and many other summer species should yield some higher species numbers.

In just one session last June, I recorded 13 qualifying species in cornwall. Amongst them were two specimen ballans, which would have resulted in a score of 230 in just one day… so we really could see the bar lifted with these sort of mixed bags common place in many locations throughout summer and into autumn.


If it’s not hounds to dominate in June, perhaps it will be mullet. The estuaries and rivers around the UK are now teeming with prime fish. Spinnng for a few thins will no doubt yield a lot of specimens to those dedicated to the pursuit of these fish.

Anyone fortunate enough to sneak a thick lip out amongst them will be doubling up on the species points and quite possibly the specimen points too.

With every chance of a decent bass amongst a mullet session, it could offer up a good points haul.

Best of luck to everyone in June!