Monkfish (Squatina squatina)
Irish Record 73lbs taken on 1.06.1980 by James Boyd at Fenit, Kerry
Specimen Suspended due to conservation measures
There is much confusion over Monkfish being called Angler fish. Monkfish, also known as Angel-Shark is almost like a “flattened” shark, not to be confused with the Angler fish. It has a broad, flattened body with enlarged pectoral and pelvic fins. The rear of the fish is more muscular and “shark-like”. The eyes are on the top of the head and the gill slits are also situated on top, and a very large mouth. It has a lighter under-side, with darker back, dark green or sometimes reddish-brown, covered with small spots to form camouflage patterns.
Where to catch
This species was at one time reasonably common in localised areas around the Irish coast. There were even reports of specimens taken in Strangford Lough, County Down some years ago. The main bulk of captures were taken from venues around Clew bay on the west coast, and Tralee Bay and associated areas in Kerry. They are now considered commercially extinct, and although occasionally caught, they have been withdrawn as a specimen target fish due to dangerously low numbers.
When to catch
Primarily, Monkfish are a mid-summer species in these areas.
I have no experience of this species, but they were taken on fish or crab baits.
Standard beach-gear when shore angling, or a flowing trace from the boat. I apologise for the scant details regarding this species, but I prefer to write about fish that I have caught or had personal experience with, and unfortunately, this is one species that I have not had the opportunity to target.