With my first day off coinciding with a decent forecast for once I planned a pre dawn start with the hope of targeting Rays and another go at the elusive Tope
I arrived at the launch site before dawn and was paddling out into the gloom I decided to troll a plug out to the mark where I was anchoring to try and pick up some fresh bait I managed one greedy Mackerel and missed another take on the plug but I now had fresh bait
On anchoring the tide hadn't really got going in full flow but I filleted the mackerel and sent it down and then set about putting a whole Mackerel on the Tope rod and cast that a short way to the side of the Yak
Before long I had a tell tale pull on the ray rod then another which I hit and was into the first ray of the day after a spirited fight I had it alongside a nice fish of 9lb 5oz a few photos weighed and released unharmed
I prepared another bait and sent it back down before long I had a few rattles followed by a few more but these felt far too quick and savage for a ray after bringing back a stripped hook I sent a smaller bait down and had a succession of small whiting
Only one thing for it bigger bait so down went another bait and almost immediately I felt a slow pluck of a Ray so I lifted into it and again was into a Ray they really do pull well especially now the tide had picked up pace a bit as I was playing the ray I heard the baitrunner on the Tope rod give a couple of slow clicks then a few more but nothing developed.
I soon had the second Ray on board for its picture taken and this one weighed in a good bit smaller at 5lb 4oz
Another bait was lowered down and after some really big bumps I hit into a small fish but it was fighting strongly I knew it wasn't a whiting as I was expecting and was pleasantly surprised when nice Grey Gurnard appeared at the side of the Yak my first this year
By this time it was time for a quick blast to shore for a pee break so again marked my anchor on the gps and reeled the Tope rod in to find just the head of the Mackerel left cleanly bitten as well deffo not crabs!
Released the anchor cast the plug out and headed for the beach I managed another Mackerel on the way in and missed a take on the way out but managed to secure another Mackerel just before I got to my marker buoy so a bit more fresh bait
It started off well bagging another 2 Rays in quick succession one at 6lb 7oz and the other a little better at 7lb 14oz
I had just cast back out when I heard the baitrunner on the tope Rod let out a steady buzz so I quickly reeled the Ray rod in and watched excitedly as the Tope rod give a few nods and tore off again I picked it up and opened the bail arm to give the fish a bit of line to get the full Mackerel bait down then tightened into it and the rod hooped over I have been waiting a long time for this to happen but instead of a lightning fast run I was expecting it started to plod and kite in the tide after a short but powerful scrap a decent Thornie was flapping at the side of the Kayak a bit disappointed it wasn't a Tope but still a great fish pulling the scales down to 9lb 7oz.
So sent both rods back out and after a few of these greedy flatties
I was soon feeling the tell tale pluck of yet another ray so I struck and felt nothing but as soon as the lead hit the sand it nearly tore the rod out of my hands I must have just moved the lead and not hit it hard enough to pick up the longish trace this one really battled hard for the first few minutes then it just hung there but I was slowly gaining on it I knew what had happened and soon I could see the ray coming in backwards with the trace wrapped around its tail then just as I was to grab it it spun and freed itself powering back down tipping the yak quite far over as it went amazing power and this looked a double,soon it was back along side unhooked photographed and weighed 10lb 14oz great stuff
Next drop resulted in a slightly smaller Ray at 8lb 8oz
After a few more missed rattles probably flatties I got the solid tug I was waiting for and hit into yet another Ray and this one felt very heavy and after a lot of powerful lunges I got a look at it and knew this one was a double it went 11lb 3oz happy with that
With 8 good Thornback Rays landed I called it a day at 10:30
It just goes to show if you put enough effort in and do your homework occasionally it rewards you with a session to remember blowing away the memories of many blanks
Now to get to grips with a Tope from my home patch
Also have no skin left on most of my finger ends after handling these fish they make a right mess of them but at least I kept my fingers out of their mouths this time not a mistake I want to make again