The Westport Skate Festival came into being after a group of anglers discovered this amazing species to be present at certain times of year in the Clew Bay area of Southern Ireland.

It’s all based around The Helm, a one-in-a-million hotel and restaurant which sums up all that’s great about Ireland – great food, great company, and fantastic craic.

‘Sea Watch Monthly’ – the video magazine for shore and boat anglers – was lucky enough to get the chance to sample the atmosphere of this unique angling festival as part of its exclusive Sea Watch UK series and the programme is FREE TO VIEW in December’s issue here on this website.

If the anglers are able to drag themselves out of bed in the morning and fish through the inevitable hangover, they have one species on their mind; the mighty skate, which can grow to over 200lb.
These days the fish are measured from nose to tail with a piece of string, tagged and released, for fish conservation purposes.
The string is placed into an envelope with the name of the angler on it, and the destination of the E2,000 winner’s cheque is only decided after the festival is over, by a ceremonial ‘measuring of the strings’.
That’s if there are any skate caught of course, which is the hard part – we soon find out that hooking them is one thing, getting them in is another, as a rod gets snapped clean in two.
Presenter Andy Ford talks to a number of experts who have caught the species before, including Mike Thrussell, who was among the party who first discovered the fish were there. Also present are Barney Wright, editor of Total Sea Fishing magazine, and several competitors who keep coming back, year after year.
There’s a dramatic conclusion to this show exclusive to Sea Watch Monthly, which we guarantee will have you wanting to give the festival a go yourself….
The programme is split into three parts in the December issue of Sea Watch Monthly – which you can watch for free here on this website until December 22nd.

Just click on the link below and use the arrows to scroll through the programmes.