|Date: July 23, 1999
To: PFIC Message Board
Subject: Bat Rays?
Any info on areas that are getting the large bat rays? I used to have great action on Newport Pier long ago, but it's dwindled drastically. I guess the old days of football size bonito and freight train bats are more or less gone in orange county.
Posted by MikeA on Jul-23-99 10:36am from 18.104.22.168
Watch for the grunion runs. That seems to bring them in. A couple of weeks ago out at Seal Beach Pier, my friend lost two (on 40-lb test) and brought one up during a grunion run. That one weighed in at 150-lb. I don't know what you mean by freight train bat, but that works for me. I was there for the run that was supposed to start on the 14th, but the grunion didn't seem to know about it. I assume it started the next day or so. I haven't been out since, but will be at Seal Beach pier tonight. It's fairly occasional, but the big bats are there. We throw one or two whole squid on 40lb test with 5-8-oz weights, that seems to keep the thornbacks and eight inch greys from bugging us.
Posted by goatfish
Laughing Clam, Mike's right, I was at Seal Beach during last months grunion run and hooked three good size bats within a couple of hours. While they certainly weren't 150 pounders, one of 'em did put up a darn good fight. I've found that the best times are 4-6 days after the full moon on an incoming high tide. I usually use a 4-6 oz. weight with a 4/0 or 5/0 hook baited with a large slab of mackerel. I know the big'uns are out there somewhere!
Posted by LaughingClam
Sounds like a plan.... I miss the sound of the reel slowly going off (we called those freight train's that did that, slow and lots a momentum) while trying to figure out who's rod it is from across the pier. Haha ok, guess we'll try the Seal Beach Pier here soon. Is there a good spot in particular on that pier? don't wanna take your fav spot, but as Newport went, the north side shy of the end was best. I know it's quite possible to be there when the fish are there and simply be on the wrong side or too far in or out and miss all of em. Usually a good indicator is where the gaffs and blood stains are, or the cluster of long rods and/or beer cans. Later, Russ
Posted by MikeA
That I have found, the best spot is the second set of benches on the shallow (read as north) side of the pier. Depending on the tide of course. The idea is to fish right where the waves are breaking. What we do (I shouldn't even admit this) is cast with the heavy weights when we get the good spots (to hold it still). When we have to fish deeper because someone else is there, we use slightly smaller weights, allowing the surf to pull the bait to where you want it. I don't recommend trying this without some “serious” casting practice. You have to be out much farther than the guy you are usurping, or you are just asking to get tangled. I actually have spent a couple of pre-night-trip afternoons out at the local school football field, just to be sure. The distance also helps to get you past the first forty yards of seriously hammered water. The farther out you get, the more virgin the territory. Good Luck.
Posted by Ken Jones
The big bats are still out there but you have to find them -— and it sounds like you've got some pretty good tips. There was a great run of BIG bat rays at Huntington Beach a few months ago but things seem to have slowed somewhat. Good hunting, Ken
Posted by LaughingClam
Sound like the same area Newport was hot at. I think we'll try that pier this coming Monday. Usually i use a 4 or 5 oz torpedo or flat just beyond the break point of the outside sets. We have our own ray rigs we like, usually a 50-lb mono leader about 2 to 3 feet long with varied Mustads (depending on the size of rays biting) and a sliding sinker. Works well for us. Been a while since i bought squid (get it at the Vietnamese markets in GG, 5lb boxes cheap). Iss there live bait in the water at seal beach? sardines? p.s. Opal street on Balboa Island (first blue dock south of the ferry)
Posted by LaughingClam
Bat Ray fishing can become a lifestyle. There's no other fish (actually they are Rays) that will do what they do from a pier, or dock or bay. Use a rod and reel that will handle a good 30 minute+ fight (unless you get a small one or horse them in). I make my own rods, I like a Lamaglas rod, and a Penn 500 reel with 30 lb. Ande. Our setups usually are a 2 to 3’ piece of 50 or 80lb. mono with a GOOD swivel on the rod end, and a 4/O or 6/O Mustad hook on the other. Use crimps to fasten the swivel and hook, it is much cleaner and more functional. About 8” or so up from the hook, there is another crimp (sleeve) that serves as a stop for the sliding sinker. Put a bead above this so the sinker's swivel doesn't go past the sleeve and it functions ok. The sinker is on another swivel (use good swivels, cheap ones open when casting or fail in some way) that is between the top swivel that attaches to your line, and the sleeve that serves as a stop. We've found that this rig allows the bait to set on the bottom and not be affected too much by the sinker. It also casts excellent.
The Rays are migratory creatures, so they eat and run. You'll eventually get to be able to recognize the approx size by the sound of your clicker as it hits your bait. Babies run fast, while the huge ones run slower and longer. You can even hear their wings pump by the clickers sound.
Use a barbless gaff (we prefer them) and don't be afraid to pick them up by putting your hands or fingers in their ear-holes. But watch the stinger, it can cause pain and infection.
At our beaches and piers here in Huntington/Newport, we used to score a lot of Bats just outside the surf line, and almost always on the North side of Newport Pier. It's gotten very scarce compared to the Bats up till 1983, but they are in bays, off boat docks, surf fishing etc.
Be patient, don't set your rod down without loosening the drag so the line can spool out. Many people set their stuff down with the drag set too tight and they lose rods.
Mornings and evenings were best, and for some reason, windy days were better too.
Full or half squid is great; bloody mack fillets are good too, but check the bait about every 30 min at least. Crabs love that stuff too.
Hope this insight helps. It's a phase of fishing that is very addictive. Good luck.
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