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Grey Grunard, Chelidonicthys gurnardus

Irish Record Fish: We have withdrawn the details on the Irish record and specimen weights as the current IFSC rules require anglers kill all such fish, hardly sporting or conservation minded, is it?  Alternatives exist.
Boat Specimen:
Shore Specimen:
Photo Credit:

Johnny Jensen

Introduction: The Grey Grunard is a smaller and less colourful version of the Atlantic Red Gurnard but no less popular for that... Any fish over 450 grams (1 lb) is considered a good catch and you would not expect to catch one much beyond this in weight. Grey Gurnard and the larger Tub Gurnard are typically encountered when bottom fishing over sand and mud - their preferred habitat.  In this regard they differ from the Red Gurnard which is more broadly distributed.  The broad and relatively shallow bays around Bulmullet and Tralee offer prime Gurnard marks, especially from a boat, but they can be caught all the way around the Irish coast and have even shown up occassionally on competitions off the beaches in the Irish Sea.

Boat tactics: Gurnard are small fish, and the Grey Gurnard is the smallest Gurnard in Irish waters.  They will tackle any bait with mackerel strip and ragworm an excellent cocktail.  A 1/0 pennel rig on 15 lbs (7 kg) trace ling is the best rig, off a spinning rod or light boat rod. Grey Gurnard are most often caught on flatfish marks.

Shore tactics: We have not heard of them being caught from shore, although they will be caught in under 12 feet (4 metres) of water from off a boat!  Distance casting seems to be vital so a big beachcaster and a multiplier with lots of line is key - how is your pendulum casting?  Best marks are Mayo's big shallow bays, with Broadhaven possibly the best option of them all.