Conger eel

Specimen Fish Atlas

Ireland has some of the best recreational fishing in Europe with over 70 targeted fish species inhabiting our inland waters and coastal areas. A specimen fish is an “exceptional fish” caught by rod and line that exceeds a threshold weight determined by the Irish Specimen Fish Committee (ISFC). The Irish Specimen Fish Committee and Inland Fisheries Ireland have teamed up to develop a Specimen Fish Atlas, showing where specimen fish have been caught around Ireland over the past 60 years.

A guide for anglers

Data submitted by recreational anglers on their specimen fish catch provides very valuable information on larger fish of this species in Irish waters that scientific surveys cannot. This helps us learn a lot more about key angling locations for large fish of each species. This information includes strategies for targeting different kinds of fish, preferred fishing locations, successful baits and the best times of the year to target them. The Fish Specimen Atlas aims to gather this information together in one place and provide anglers with a valuable and helpful resource to guide them on further fishing trips.

Profiles, records and angling hotspots

The atlas will contain a profile for each species and a map showing fishing hotspots based on historical records. We will also show the length and weight records in Ireland for each species, along with historical specimen catch rates. 

A new “measure” to avoid stressing fish

Many anglers across the world are using length to describe large fish they catch. This, together with a move towards increased fish conservation has resulted in ISFC including length based specimens for many species thereby eliminating the need for weighing. This is becoming a more popular approach among anglers as it gets the fish back into the water quickly.

What to expect

The Specimen Fish Atlas will appeal not only to anglers but also the general public and provide a useful guide for identifying the more popular fish species in Irish waters. Each species will have helpful information for anglers and enthusiasts alike, such as species distribution maps, feeding habits and reproductive patterns. Information like this adds to the angler’s understanding about the species they are targeting and provides key details that may make their next fishing trip even more successful.