Ray Fishing from the Kayak
Catching various ray species can be a very rewarding experience when putting in place a set of tactics and planning. This perculiar looking member of the shark family comes in a variety of different species and can be targeted at numerous locations. They are strong fighters and make surging runs while also sometimes trying to embed themselves in the sandy bottom. When targeting ray I like to fish for them while drifting on the kayak. A steady speed seems to do well and if the wind picks up I deploy my drouge anchor to reduce the speed down of the drift.
Fishing is a sport for me so using tackle that is to heavy just seems pointless. This leads me on to my general ray fishing setup. My mainline I use is no more than 20lb. I tend use braid due to the sensitivity it provides and I can distinguish between the lead bouncing along the bottom and a bite. My rod is generally 12b rated with a softer tip and is coupled with a small multiplier to balance the setup. I like to enjoy my fishing and having a fight with a fish on lighter tackle is great fun and what its all about for me.
I tie my own traces with 30lb Fluorocarbon line. It is easy to work with and provides ample strength for the ray fishing. The trace I have caught most of my ray with is a simple single hook ledger rig with the weight on a sliding boom. The trace length comes down to personal preference and I like to use approximately 4ft. Then comes the topic of dressing up the rig with beads, sequins and other enticers that can be added. I have caught ray on traces with beads and without. I do tend to add one or two lumo beads to the trace. On the business end comes the hook choice. Cox and Rawle has a large variety of hook patterns and I am fortunate enough to get the chance of trying these out. My go to hook though when it comes to ray fishing is the Uptide Extra pattern. This hook is a great all rounder and depending on my bait size and the ray I am targeting will in turn determine the size of the hook I will use. Another great hook that I am having success with is the Mutsu Circle pattern. I am having a great hook up rate with this pattern.
So what about bait? Well, for me having the freshest bait possible is key to my Ray fishing. I like to use the side of a Mackeral which is sliced down the centre to give a long bait that waves on the bottom while drifting. I pin the bait just once as this reduces the bait from spinning. Sometimes a live bait will out fish any other bait and if the Mackeral are small enough or there are scad around then this would be my bait of choice. I have caught Ray on numerous different baits but a Mackeral bait is a great all rounder.
So thats all there is to it. The Ray species can be a fun and rewarding quarry to target and when the planning is put in place then this should increase the likelyhood of a hookup.