In fact, they are Critically Endangered. Smaller baits tend to attract the attention of spurdogs and lesser spotted dogfish which make short work of the bait before the skate put in an appearance. This ring stops the plastic pipe boom from sliding down the hook length. They are innocuous bottom dwellers, often found lying partly buried. Despite its name, the "common" skate is not so common anymore. However, a switch to an octopus and whiting cocktail soon saw Scott into the first fish of the day. A couple of weeks earlier, the pair had heard that two common skate were accidentally caught in a herring net set from shore. Tackle being carried was at a minimum as most of the anglers would be using the tried and tested gear that Ronnie supplies. In fact, they are Critically Endangered.

The common skate is listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List.

Common Skate are not fussy eaters and have a very varied menu; this covers most shellfish and fish species.

The tagging scheme is maintained and monitored by Scottish National Heritage. A further five of the monsters were dropped, an amazing day. Even to the layperson this indicates that the local skate population is in an extremely healthy condition. Stewart, Scott and Eddie into common skate. Penn Senator reels loaded with 50 to 60lb breaking strain feature in the boat’s hire gear. The dimensions of the captured fish are recorded to link with the ID numbers. There is also no evidence of wound sites becoming septic or otherwise deteriorating The tags are applied using a single use needle held in an implant gun. The forecast for the day looked good as myself, Scott Gibson, Eddie Hughes, Stewart Walker and Robert Campbell boarded the boat from the slip in the centre of picturesque Oban at the back of eight. Today the ‘Common Skate complex’ consists of the Blue Skate (Dipturus batis) and Flapper Skate (Dipturus intermedius). The skate’s tail lacks the stinging spines found in electric rays.

The skate has no stinger, unlike other members of the ray family. It is a Priority Species under the UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework.

The skate’s tail lacks the stinging spines found in electric rays.

Even to the layperson this indicates that the local skate population is in an extremely healthy condition. These reels have proved reliable over the years and have a comparatively low retrieve rate which assists when coxing the skate towards the boat. They are innocuous bottom dwellers, often found lying partly buried. These passive integrated transponder tags, or PIT tags, are similar to those used to tag pet dogs and other land based animals. A wind-on leader can be used but is not necessary. The Common pond skater emerges from hibernation in April and lays its eggs.

Together with the anglers all using similar line diameters and weights, this reduces foul ups where angler’s lines drop on top of each other. Stewart lost a fish hooked at the same time as Scott’s when the hook fell out near the surface. They swim with a graceful… While the Flapper Skate is much larger and generally found further north. From here the skate identifying marks are recorded. Unlike most of the others I had a lighter rod out as I was determined to test the lifting power of the Fladen Maxximus Shadow. Seven of the skate caught on the day were females.

The tag is injected below the skin of the common skate with no visible marks left externally. It won’t be my go to rod for big skate fishing but it proved up to the task for the 95lb fish I landed. Intricate weaving patterns under the skipper’s guidance ensured that the skate and anglers remained tangle free. common SKaTE This species has now been recognised as two distinct species (Flapper and Blue Skate) that have long been confused under the single scientific name Dipturus batis. There are nine species of pond skater in the UK, which range between 1-2cm in length. Seven of the skate caught on the day were females.



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