In 2008 and following years we were heavily involved with the University College Dublin (UCD) Ph.D researcher Edward Farrell in his study of Starry Smoothhounds.
Eds research was studying the seasonal migration of smoothhounds but also to show that Starry Smoothounds only and not the Common Smoothhound visited the UK and surrounding waters. Ed had an article published in the ICES (International Council for the Exploration of the Sea) Journal of Marine Science in January 2009 showing his findings on Starry & Common hounds.
Thanks to Jim Midgley for the above photos
In a nutshell, not one Common Smoothhound was recorded from Holyhead or any other participating area.
Fast Forward to 2016 and it’s smoothhound season aboard My Way once again, Holyhead and in particular My Way, is famous for putting anglers on to some of the best hound action the UK has to offer. With hundreds caught many of which go double figure, My Way also has a pretty enviable Gallery of hounds recorded over 20lb.
Local angler Pete Williams, with another 20lb hound caught mid May 2016. The first of 11 so far recorded aboard My Way this season.
When space allows I like to fish with the crews aboard My Way, smoothhounds a favourite time of year.
My smoothie fishing in 2016 has so far been fairly good, with numerous fish caught and the odd day session returning over 10 double figures to me. One day recently I caught a small hound, that was sporting a tag.
The tag was identical to the ones we had been using to tag hounds nearly a decade ago, the tag and tag site were in good condition with barely a sign of having been at sea for such a long time, could it be one of us. After a few photographs the smoothie was released again. Naturally I didn’t have the tag details to hand, so was going to have to wait a while till I could found out if smoothhound R00150 was indeed previously tagged by us.
Once back, I emailed Ed with the details and soon learned that the male smoothie was originally taggeg by us in Holyhead bay on the 29/05/2008. When tagged it was almost a fully grown male, so hadn’t really grown much. But had been at liberty for over 8years. Had it passed through Holyhead before and simpy avoided being caught? We’ll never know, but we do know it did return.
After a quick weigh, 6lb 2oz and a few photographs, the hound was released once again, it swam away at an incredible speed … maybe to return once more in another 8years time!