Novice catches Britain's biggest fish for 50 years

Alan Glanville, a pensioner, went fishing for the first time this week and hauled in a 529lb bluefin tuna, the largest fish caught off the British Isles for nearly 50 years.

Alan Glanville, a pensioner, went fishing for the first time this week and hauled in a 529lb bluefin tuna, the largest fish caught off the British Isles for nearly 50 years.

Bluefin, which are so valuable that Japanese buyers pay £50,000 or more for one fish, have never been captured before on rod and line off Ireland. And for a 76-year-old novice to catch arguably the strongest fish in the world on his first trip is one of the great angling stories of all time. Small wonder that Mr Glanville said after making his catch: "I think it's all downhill from here."

This week a charter fishing skipper, Brian McGilloway, persuaded Mr Glanville to join him on his boat, Suzanne, to try for one of the large tuna that have been sighted off the north-west coast of Ireland over the past four years. Amazingly, Mr Glanville caught a 353-pounder, even though he had never handled a rod before. He went out the next day and caught his second tuna of 529lb.

"I think they call it beginner's luck," he said. The fish, also known as a tunny, took 45 minutes to land.

The catch is an Irish record, but not a British one - that is held by an 851-pounder caught off Scarborough in 1933 by Laurie Mitchell-Henry. One that weighed just 1lb heavier was caught in 1949 by Jack Hedley Lewis, a Lincolnshire farmer, but it was not accepted as a record because the rope used to haul it on to the scales was weighed with the fish.

Tuna transformed Scarborough from a sleepy seaside town into the Cannes of the 1930s. High society began to flock there, drawn by tales of the huge fish that could be caught only a few miles off the coast.

A special rail line ran from London, carrying people such as Lady Broughton, a legendary African big-game hunter who slept in a tent on the deck of her boat as she could not bear to go below. Tommy Sopwith, who challenged for the America's Cup in 1934, was a regular visitor, as were Captain T L Dugdale, later to become Minister of Agriculture; Baron de Rothschild in his yacht Eros, who preferred to fish for dabs while waiting for his guests to return with tunny; Lord Moyne, who always wore a red flannel suit, and was assassinated in Egypt; Colonel Edward Peel with his huge steam yacht St George and its Sudanese crew; Lord Astor, and the actor Charles Laughton.

The first tuna was caught in 1929 by the steam drifter Ascendant. This 560lb fish won the crew 50 shillings (£2.50 in today's money, but not today's prices), which was put up by a Scarborough showman who thought such a fish would draw tourists to the town. And he was right. Although they were never caught in huge numbers (the best year was 1949, when 46 were caught), the sheer size of the fish drew vast crowds.

From 1929 until 1939, a tuna of more than 700lb was caught every year and a women's world tuna challenge cup was held at Scarborough for many years. The last one was caught in 1954 by Harry Weatherley of Teddington, Middlesex, but none has been caught off British coastlines with a rod and reel until Mr Glanville's fish.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Ashdown Group: Editor-in-chief - Financial Services - City, London

£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power