More Rays: Spotted Eagle Ray

More Rays: Spotted Eagle Ray

Following on Pete’s post about his bull ray, this is one I’ve been meaning to post for awhile.

One of my last sessions in the islands was spend chasing Picasso Triggerfish. These little chaps are fun to catch and simply cannot resist a crab pattern. After catching the first Picasso I realised I’d made the rookie error of not replacing my SD card in the camera before heading out. Irritated with myself I set to the task of catching a few more anyway.

I’ve often seen Spotted Eagle Rays (Aetobatus narinari) cruising midwater without much intent except for getting from A to B. I’ve cast at them but never had a take. Then one day, with a client, I saw one feeding. Head down, wings flapping hard. Crab out and ray on! It pulled hard and left a smiling client. The catch made up for the lack of bones that day.

Only one other time did see an Eagle Ray feeding in a similar manner. I was having lunch next to some shallows and watched intently as the ray chased down small crustateans it ‘flapped’ out of the sand. I didn’t have a rod so merely watched.

So it was with much excitement that I found an Eagle feeding hard on the grass flats at Anse Possesion. I dropped an Ugly Crab in front of the ray and within much of a retrive the ray was all over it! ON!

The fight was hard and the ray even went airborne several times. I had this amusing idea that I was fighting a swimming kite! The first run was blistering and emptied my flyline very quickly. It took awhile to the backing back onto the spool and to get the ray to within landing distance.

I have to admit that landing and removing the fly was not a fun procedure. The ray managed to twist and point those mean spines at me everytime I got close to him. I was eventually forced to walk him to the beach and turn the poor bugger upside down to remove the hook before sending him home.

Excuse the picture quality, the Crackberry doesn’t take such great photos!!!

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