It’s not a big deal to catch skates or rays anymore, as they’re common fare when you are angling from jetties and piers. While anglers don’t think highly of these, there is an exception to the rule and that is the bat ray. If you want to catch one of these, better grab some quality tackle at Eat My Tackle and get ready for some action.
Most bat rays are found in southern California beaches and bays. While you can catch some during daylight, the majority of anglers agree the fish is most active at night. Bat ray anglers can often be found near the beach alongside bonfires close to sand spikes.
What Fishing Tackle Should be Used?
Bat rays can weigh up to 100 lbs. or more so make sure your saltwater fishing tackle is meant for heavy duty application. Spinning and conventional reels can be used, but either way the reel must be capable of holding a minimum of 300 yards braided line around 40 to 50 pound test.
Your reel must have a solid pole with plenty of backbone. If you’re just using a sand spike make sure to work deep so it can handle a hard strike and run until you can get your equipment. If you don’t this you could lose the rig to a large bat ray as it goes after your bait.
When choosing a hook, keep in mind bat rays are power feeders and probably just swallow your bait in one move. In this case you should go with a 9/0 or 11/0 hook (preferably the octopus type). With a hook this large you can use more than a few squids, which is sure to attract bat rays.
For the best results you should go for a 50 to 60 lb. test monofilament leader. There is no need to use a fluorocarbon leader, and a length of 2 feet will suffice in most cases. There are several ways to set up your bait but a dropper loop is usually the most effective.
Bat rays eat a wide range of organisms such as small crabs, mollusks and the aforementioned squid. Any of these will do as bait and so will some artificial lures, but because squid is widely available (both frozen and fresh), there’s little reason to use other bait as it is the most effective.
It’s commonplace to catch bat ray weighing more than 20 lbs. so it won’t hurt to have someone to give you a hand. If you’re new to angling or it is your first time to go after a bat ray, don’t be surprised at how exhausting it can be to haul one in, so some extra hands come in handy. While some anglers eat the bat ray, most are released once pictures with them have been taken.
One more thing needs to be said when fishing for bat rays, and it is that you have to be patient. Sometimes anglers catch one quickly, but in most cases it’s going to take a while so be patient.