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Irish Specimen Fish Committee : Rules & Applications Procedures

This Committee consists of representatives of Irish Angling Federations and the Government Departments and official organizations interested in angling. Its objective is to verify, record and publicize the capture of large fish on rod and line in Irish waters. A list of Specimen Fish is published annually by the Committee.  Only fish which can be fully vouched for as to weight and species can be accepted and listed by the committee.

Fair Angling

"Fair Angling" means any legitimate method of angling with rod and reel which is recognized as a fair and sporting method. A fish must be hooked in or in the immediate vicinity of the mouth when it has taken the bait or lute: fish which have been foul-hooked, even accidentally, are not eligible. A fish in respect of which a claim is made must be hooked, played and bought to gaff or net by the angler UNAIDED, though the fish may be gaffed or netted by another, and it is permissible for the person using the gaff to take hold of the trace or doubled line, (in the case if big game fishing) to steady the fish when it has been played out and brought within reach. Breakage of rod, reel or line, or alteration or substitution of tackle, while a fish is played, disqualify it for claim or record purposes. A fish may not be shot, lanced, clubbed or harpooned before landing. Claims for fish caught during the statutory close season for species (where this applies) cannot be accepted. 


Fish must be weighed in the presence of independent, reliable witnesses on a properly certified scales, e.g. a shop scales or an official Club scales which is covered by a certificate from the local Weights and Measures officer. Clams can not be accepted in respect of fish weighed on uncertified scales, e.g. anglers spring balances or in respect of fish weighed on scales inappropriate to the size of the fish, e.g. fish in the 2-5 lb range weighed on balances weighing up to 100lbs and over and graduate in large divisions. Claims cannot be accepted in the case of fish which have been weighed on board a boat.

Please note: Weighing scales must be covered by a certificate of Accuracy at the time of weighing. The scales cannot be certified in retrospect i.e. after the fish has been weighed. 


The identification of fish must be fully documented where there is a possibility of its confusion with any other (and particularly larger) species. For this reason, the Committee in respect of some species insists on scales from the fish: close-up photographs or the actual body as actual proof of identification before it will consider claims fro SALMON, SEA TROUT, BROWN TROUT (including SLOB TROUT). Any Brown Trout taken in tidal waters, i.e. in the sea or in an estuary below the freshwater boundary as defined for that river will be regarded for claim purposes as a Slob Trout. About 50 scales scraped from each shoulder of the fish should be sent with the claim.

The Actual Body: must be forwarded for identification in the case of the following species:- MACKEREL, SCAD, HERRING, SHAD, FLOUNDER, DAB, BRILL, MEGRIM, GURNARDS, GREY MULLET, ANGLER FISH, LESSER SPOTTED DOGFISH, THREE BEARDED ROCKLING, SMOOTH HOUND, RAYS BREAM, CUCKOO WRASSE, TORSK, "RIVER" EELS taken in tidal waters and GARFISH (head and gills only).

Clear Sharp Close up Photographs: showing the entire fish with its fins and other features clearly seen, and not fore-shortened or obscured by shadows or bystanders must be provided in the case of TOPE, SHARKS, SKATE, RAYS, MONKFISH, POLLOCK, TRIGGERFISH, COALFISH & BALLAN WRASSE.  If necessary, the fish should be hung up. In the case of SKATES and RAYS, photographs of back and belly surfaces should be provided and particulars of the colouration given (with particular reference of the presence of dark or grey spots, or streaks or patches on the belly side). Samples of the teeth should be furnished in the case of PORBEAGLE and MAKO Sharks. In addition, there should be clear close-up photograph of the jaws and teeth exposed.

Limitation on Number of Claims: A maximum of three (3) awards will be made to any particular claimant for a single species in any one year. However, provision will be made that when an angler achieves this target and subsequently captures lager fish, these will be taken into account but the final number of awards for any one species in a single year will not be more than three awards. By including this later provision, it will insure that the anglers competitive spirit is kept up and higher achievements could still be sought.

Sending Fish to the Committee: 

  1. Notify the Committee when a fish is being sent in for identification on (01) 8379206

  2. Do not send fish on their travels before Bank Holidays or week-ends; (keep in a cold store if fish cannot be delivered quickly on or before Friday afternoon)

  3. attach a label to each fish forwarded for identification giving the captor's and address, date and place of capture and weight of the fish.

  4. fish (except small examples which have been previously soaked in formaline for > 12 hours) should NOT be sent in polythene bags or wrapped in aluminum foil as this causes very rapid decomposition. They should be wrapped in greaseproof paper and then in newspaper and brown paper.


Anglers whose claims are accepted by the Committee will be awarded special "Merit Badges" in the case of Specimen Fish, and Silver Medals in the case of Record Fish. Specimen Fish Certificates will also be issued in respect of all ratified claims. Special badges are also awarded to anglers who have captured ten or more specimens of ten different species, and special badges are issued each year for fish of exceptional merit though not of record size.

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