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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Having heard of plenty of rays coming out along the Kent coastline I figured they must be about ready to come out in Hampshire, but saw little information on here that would suggest rays were coming out in any numbers along the Hampshire/ Dorset coast aside the few odd comments that people were trying for rays in the usual spots. Well, I thought, that doesn't mean they aren't coming out, lets not be a sheep following reports on WSF and try and pioneer a few myself. I selected a well known Solent ray mark, and on Monday determined to put the theory to the test. I was greeted by a completely deserted beach with no anglers in sight. The weather forecast looked good for the evening, but having walked a long way to the fishing spot I encountered an annoying cross wind, a sea that was not as calm as I hoped, and despite the Mediterranean weather during the day it was bloody freezing. After catching a singular pin whiting for my efforts in the whole seven hour session, I was staring failure in the face. However by this time it was coming up to low tide, and the wind had died down, and with the receding sea I could cast into the deeper water. But still nothing. I counted down from ten with my hand on the rod ready to reel it in and pack up, when THUMP - a huge rattle on the braided set up caught my attention. I waited about a minute, hoping if it was a ray it would eat the bait and move off leading to a strong pull round, but despite one more thump on the tip nothing happened. I reeled in to recast, but had no bait left to use. I managed to fashion one further bait out of the sorry looking scraps of squid and bluey carcass on my bait table and put it back out there. The same thing happened again almost straight away, a definite rattle, followed by a pause, another and then nothing. Having been pestered by crabs all evening, I could see these were clearly different indications and was convinced I had had some attention from rays.

I couldn't leave it like that so planned to return the next night to fish the ebb again, but the problem was the low was now getting very late into the night. I left my gear in the car ready, but then at about 8pm noticed that I actually had a meeting the next morning in London so I knew I probably wouldn't be on form to face the Council planners after coming back from fishing at 4am! So Wednesday was going to be the day, but the tide now was not until 2.30am, so another late session. However I decided to time my visit bang on the state of tide I was getting bites previously, taking a leaf out of the pro's handbook!

Again the beach was deserted, with the moon casting silvery shadows through the mist. I made a decision to scale the bait size down in case for some reason this was why I was dropping bites on the Monday night, opting for one Ammo sandeel of the smallest size going, and a small strip of squid mounted on a 2/0 pennel. Using my Century BB with just 10lb braided line, the cast went out well over a 100 yards (I was down to the backing!) which was helped by there being no wind at all, the sea being flat calm and foggy. My multiplier set up alas was not as far, due to my poor technique and stayed silent all night.

Instantly I was into a whiting on the braid set up, which didn't bode too well, but on the second cast to the same spot almost straight away there was a lively rattle, followed by another a few minutes later, and then the rod was almost pulled into the water! I struck into a dead weight and hauled it back to the shore before it started kiting left to right. It then popped up onto the surface and I brought it in... Mission accomplished, a nice spotted ray lay on the beach. No monster, but certainly a proper fish! Luckily I had convinced my missus to come as well, so I managed to grab a few pictures on the phone but the ray was having none of it and kept curling up!

Third cast, again a clear rattle, followed a few minutes later by the tip going mad. I struck and with the braid actually felt the hook set into the fish. Doubts set in on the retrieve that I was bringing in a load of weed, but when it got closer I saw it was another ray, albeit smaller than the last. I thought it was a thornback, but it only had thorns on the tail and edges, the rest being quite smooth? Maybe this was because it was a juvenile.

I stayed for three hours further, but a change to the much hallowed bluey and sandeel just brought whiting and dogfish, and no more rays came. I was however over the moon, especially as I had followed my own conviction, put a lot of effort in, and the plan had all come together.

So there you have it, and the theory is proven: the rays are finally here in the Solent!
 

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Yip they have been here for a few weeks now, from the usual ray marks, some nice dbl's too! But no reports on here......

Well done bud!
 

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Mate that's a great report well done for persevering after a knock back, that is what I think makes fishing so addictive.

Even better the missus went so you could feel like the complete alpha male haha.
 

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Well done bud for a lot of effort, glad it paid off for ya :)

Jim
 
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nice report and pics and great to see someone putting a bit of mental effort into their fishing and getting the rewards,well done.
cheers rab
 

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Beauties, and again like others said .. a big tap on the back for you mate, for sticking to your guns and thinking out of the box ... it does pay of sometimes and you get to learn new marks witch hopefully are not packed :)

Im jealous on everybody catching rays !!!
 

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Ain't read a report as good as that for a while. :thumbs:
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for the replies guys... Certainly given me confidence to continue with this approach

Stu
 
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