CATCH OF A LIFETIME Ceri Jones is pictured with the record breaking 25 Ib trout which he caught on Lough Corrib. ?Pic: ingKlix Photography
Ceri catches record breaker on Corrib
Welsh man lands biggest trout caught in Ireland in over a century
For over an hour Welsh man Ceri Jones nervously and patiently played with his monster prey in the deep waters of Lough Corrib. He was determined he was not going to lose him. Ceri knew it was a big one but could not believe his eyes when the monster brown trout emerged from the depths to the surface.
“I hadn’t seen the fish but as soon as it reached the surface, my knees started to shake,” the 46 year old from the Rhondda Valley in South Wales told The Mayo News.
Ceri had reeled in the largest brown trout caught in Ireland in 118 years, officially weighing 23lbs 12 oz. When it was caught, it weighed a whopping 25 lbs 2oz before it dried out on the journey to the shore.
Ceri has been fishing on Lough Corrib since 1987. He works as a freelance photographer with British angling magazine Trout Fisherman, which allows him to ‘mix work with pleasure’. Every year he comes to Clonbur, but unlike the majority of anglers, he only goes after the big fish – fish that turn to cannibalism and feed on other fish in their own species.
Last year, he landed a 19 pounder. Not satisfied, he was determined to break his personal best when he went out alone on the boat on Saturday morning. The catch was made in 80 feet of water near the lake’s biggest island, Inish Goill, at 2pm and finally landed at 3.15pm.
“I have not stopped smiling since I made the catch … I still haven’t realised quite what I have achieved,” he explained.
“As soon as it took the bait, it was like hooking a car … the reel was smoking and screaming until it stopped. I managed to hold onto it and I knew it was a big fish but not for one moment did I realise how big, I just though I would break my personal best,” he said.
During his epic battle with the trout, Ceri also had to fight the large swell created by the strong wind and avoid crashing into rocks. As one stage, he admitted he thought he had lost it, bur he was determined to hold on.
“I lost one four years ago on Corrib and when I saw it, it was about the same size as this one. But I lost it and felt pig sick afterwards. I went home three days early. I couldn’t take myself to get back out on the lake, and while that might sound strange, that is what it does to you.”
Toast of Clonbur
But land this fish he did, and it was not long before word of the prize catch got out around Clonbur. Soon, dozens of people had turned up at the north Galway village to have a look. Tomás Burke of Burke’s Bar told The Mayo News that the celebrations were on a par with those that took place when Clonbur won the All-Ireland Junior Football Club title earlier this year.
“Word of the catch was not long getting around and there were amazing scenes on Saturday night with people wanting to see the fish. It was like the homecoming for the Clonbur footballers when they won the All-Ireland in February. As big fish go, this is a beautiful fish with lovely colours,” he said.
Last year, Burke’s offered a free steak dinner for anyone who caught a fish over 18 lbs. When Ceri dined in style after catching his 19 pounder, Burke’s increased the weight to 19 lbs 9 oz. Tomás quipped that the first thing Ceri told him after making the catch was that he wanted his steak.
The trout has now gone to a taxidermist and will be mounted on the wall of Burke’s in a couple of weeks. The joke around Clonbur is that it is so big it will need planning permission.
Ceri returns to South Wales on June 10, but plans to return to fish on Lough Corrib. He believes an even bigger fish is out there in the waters, waiting to be caught.
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