I really enjoy catching Ray from the kayak. I have had plenty of Blonde Ray, a few Small Eyeds and an Undulate last year at Swanage, but there was one obvious one that i still had not targeted - the Thornback. This is a prolific species in some parts of the country but they are not so widespread in Cornwall, being mainly found in tidal estuaries and rivers such as the River Fal, the River Helford and within the Tamar Estuary. I don't often kayak fish the estuaries and rivers as i much prefer being out on the open coast, but there aren't many open coast marks that regularly produce Thornbacks where you could target them with a reasonable chance of catching one. With the fairly bleak weather forecast it was a good a time as any to tuck away within an estuary and try to catch my first kayak Thornback Ray.
Andrew from Cornwall Canoes, and my brother were also keen to get out on the water. I had scoped out a nice little launch venue to try out too, so it was off to the Fal estuary to fish the rising tide. Andrew was taking his new Feelfree Moken 12.5 out for the first time so we spent a while messing around in close on each others kayaks...
Back on the mark and we sat waiting for something to find the bait. The finest strips of mackerel or Sandeel/mackerel cocktails were sitting on the bottom waiting for the Thornbacks to find. That bloody wind though - my hands were seizing up and my feet were numb. About an hour passed without a bite but then Kieren had an enquiry. He was soon latched into it and after a short tussle a Thornback arrived at the surface - his first from the kayak.
We were all starting to get a bit too cold and the rain was threatening to fall. Another bite....typically on the rod with the broken reel. The classic ray bite soon turned into a bent rod as i slowly reeled it towards the surface. My first Thornback Ray from the kayak was soon on the Tempo!
An interesting day but the target was achieved. Just one more Ray species to catch which i hope to do this year - the Spotted Ray. There are several other ray species but most are rare in inshore waters. The only one i have a slim chance of catching is the Cuckoo Ray - that one may take a few years to find, but not impossible. Fingers crossed for a proper break in the weather so i can get out to some open coast marks.