Tuesday, 15 January 2013

The rays are back!

1st Thorny of the year
Having had a few days of settled weather last week and with low water falling just after dark, I couldn't resist getting out for my first go at the rays. Joined by my friend Mike we set off to the west coast of Anglesey with high hopes. On arrival, we were greeted by ideal conditions, a small swell and a nice dark night; as an extra bonus, the preferred ledge was free :). Fishing with long homemade pulley rigs with size 4/0 Sakuma hooks and sandeel/squid wraps for bait, I wasn't waiting too long for my first bite. After a few very doggie like knocks, I gave it a good strike and felt a good resistance, this would turn out to be a lovely but very spiky thorny of a couple of pounds. Re-baited and back out in the water, we both then started getting a few small rattles. After realising they'd hooked themselves, we both reeled in to find whiting clinging onto our lovely ray baits, it wasn't all bad though as these would be frozen down for future ray/huss/conger baits.

My rod was next to go again with a lovely pull round from another thornback. Whilst, I was playing my fish, Mike's rod suddenly had a huge slack liner. Thinking I'd caught his line he thought nothing of it, until we both realised I was well clear of him. He wound down to the fish as fast as he could and after a good 10 seconds of reeling, Mike was also into a ray, this one would turn out to be a small-eyed though, the first one I had seen caught off this mark and Mike's first of the species!

Two at a time.... That's how we roll ;)
Mike with his 1st Small Eyed

1st Small Eyed of 2013
With the tide now starting to creep over the ledge we were fishing from, we had to retreat a little further up the rocks. Usually, this is the point at which  I leave, but we both had that feeling that there were still a few fish to be caught so the rods were cast out one last time. It was well worth it as well! My left hand rod soon had a quick knock followed by a slack liner. Just as with Mike's earlier fish, I found myself reeling quite fast to catch up with it, making me think maybe this could be another small eyed, this would be confirmed a few moments later. That rod was then packed up along with everything else bar my one remaining rod. In the mean time Mike had reeled in one of his rods as well after getting a few knocks, finding out he had our first doggie of the night attached. Mike had soon brought his second rod in too, but just as I was about to start reeling in mine, I had a small tap. After letting it develop, from nowhere my rod suddenly arched over and I was into a much better fish. 
New PB thorny of 9lb 10oz

Taking my time to get the fish in, I was hoping it wasn't one of those wing hooked rays that always feel huge on the retrieve. When I finally saw it though, I realised it could have been the double I've been after and got very excited. Safely landed and unhooked, the weighing was done and it dropped the scales to 9lb 10oz, a new PB by just under 1lb, what a lovely fish. This has really spurred me on to keep at it for the next few months though, fingers crossed that seemingly elusive double eventually shows itself for me.

Thanks for reading and until next time,
Tight Lines,

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