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monkfish - lots of pictures on the web listed as monkfish are angler fish, so it is best to refer to it as an angelshark, its correct name, to avoid confusion!

Monkfish, Squatina squatina

Irish Record Fish: 73 lbs 33.11 kgs
Caught: Fenit 1980
Boat Specimen: 50 lbs  22.68 kgs
Shore Specimen: 25 lbs  11.34 kgs
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Introduction: The Monkfish or Angel Shark is a voracious bottom feeding ambush predator, with a body shape lying somewhere between rays and proper sharks.  They migrate great distances, as far as the Canary Islands, and whilst it can reach  > 27 kilos (60 lbs) anything over 15 kilos ( 30 lbs) is superb, in fact sadly it is now a remarkable capture... Whilst the tail is tasty, and now popular thanks to restauranteurs replacing it on menus for the more expensive lobster, catch and release is encouraged as the species is under extreme pressure across its range.  It is commonly confused with the Anglerfish.

Boat tactics: In terms of tackle and tactics, you can put the Monkfish in the same league as the Blue Shark. Given their relatively decent size, you would be advised to stick to a standard 30 lbs set-up when fishing for them off a boat.  You can not dispense with the wire trace and please be careful with the teeth and that mouth - it has retractable gulping jaws used in wolfing down its prey.  The same mechanism can trap the fingers of an unwary angler especially when unhooking - a long forceps and gloves are strongly advised.  Monkfish are ambush predators and they like relatively shallow waters.  Sand and mussel beds seem to be favourite haunts.  They have a particular predference for tidal races and eddy pools where the current sweeps potential prey towards their ambush position.  Tralee and Clew Bay are therefore likely Monkfish marks.  The normal bait is a mackerel cone, attached to a 6/0 to 10/0 hook, even a whole markerel on the larger hooks.  Given their preferred habitat we feel that half a Flounder or Dab would work well too, flapping about on a drift. 

Shore tactics: Monkfish can be caught from shore although the number of marks is fairly limited.  They like lying just off strong currents so tidal races such as those at the very end of Bertra Strand in Mayo or Fenit Pier in Kerry are good starting points. A big beachcaster or boat rod allied to a heavy multiplier will facilitate landing a Monkfish.  You will need the patience of a saint.