'RAYS' OF SUNSHINE
Lately there have been a few reports of the thornback rays showing up in the local tidal river in good numbers so I thought i,d set out to catch one. I have caught a few thornies in the past but I,m far from proficient at it, so I,ve set myself a little goal of fishing for them more over the next couple of months so that I can learn as much about them for future fishing trips. They're actually not too difficult a species to catch as they're not really rig shy and as long as a nice fresh bait is placed in front of them then you,re in with a chance. Anyways I arrived at my chosen location, after a 2 mile grueller of a walk, an hour before low water planning to fish the tide up until it was pulling too hard, making the fishing uncomfortable.
As the picture shows the water here is a long way down which makes retrieving your tackle, or fish for that matter, a tricky affair. But its worth sliding down the wall and clambering over the rocks when needed as this spot is straight into deep water. Baited with a chunk of bluey the first rod was launched to the horizon, ok ok maybe more of 75 yard lob if I,m being honest. Before I even had time to bait up the second rod the first showed a classic ray bite, a pull down followed by a little tap and then a big slack line. I quickly wound the slack in until I felt some tension then leant into whatever was on the other end of my line not really expecting to have a fish attached. Low and behold I felt something kick back so proceeded to 'play' what turned out to be a small male thornback to the base of the rocks. I was really happy with this quick capture, even though I got in a right 'mucking fuddle' slipping, tripping and stumbling down the sea defences and across the rocks to land this more than welcome fish. Safely unhooked and returned none the worse for wear the ray swam off strongly and I set about baiting and recasting the rod before doing the same with my second rod.
|THE FIRST MALE CAUGHT|
Just as I sat my arse down the first rod started to nod as another fish took a liking to my bluey chunks. Same as before, pick rod up, wind in slack line, feel resistance and lean into whatever was causing it. Thump thump and another ray was pulling on the other end of my line, actually it was pulling pretty hard considering there was no tide run. A few minutes later and a similar sized ray to the first was unhooked and sent back to its watery home, what a result 2 fish in 2 casts. Another half hour or so passed and the second rod showed signs of something taking an interest in the squid and herring cocktail I had chucked out for them. A few minutes later and another small male thornback was drifting off back to the depths.
|MALE AROUND 4LB|
|MALE OF ROUGHLY 3.5LB|
|THE SMALLEST MALE|