Sting ray by Chris O’Sullivan

Tag-A-Ray’ in Tralee bay competition is now in its third year and is growing stronger year on year. It was the drive shown by Eugene Farrelly that got a good idea off the ground in the first place. This year was no different Tralee bay Sac hosted the event which drew 60 anglers together over the two days on the 7th and 8th of May.

The weather forecast for the days leading up to it was watched closely by all participants and the news that ‘Nationwide’ would be filming for RTE made it all the more exciting. Warm and overcast weather is what we were all praying for and rumours of a heatwave on the Sunday had everyone in high spirits. The price of entry on the charter boats was €70 and €30 for the two days on the shore.

The registration was held again at the West End hotel and restaurant in Fenit where Brian took care of all the anglers with teas and coffee. Talk moved to action plans and where to fish it seemed the shore anglers were split into two camps on either side of the bay while some were thinking outside the box and keeping their marks very secret. We opted for a beach only 25 mins away so we could be open to change if the ray didn’t play ball. On arriving at our venue we realised that the boats had the same idea and we ended up fishing in close proximity to each other.

Unfortunately with the big spring tide we began to haul weed every cast and it became very frustrating. Luckily slack water at low water meant we could finally have a go in peace away from the dreaded weed. Andy McCallion all the way from Coleraine was first off the mark with a fine Undulate Ray of 87cm only 3cm away from a specimen fish.

It was at that point that my Century BB sprung back violently and my line fell in a heap around the rod stand. As I picked up the rod many things raced through my mind… had the line broke…. was someone reeling me in ….. had I really seen it or had my mind tricked me? All was answered in an instant as I took in the slack and lifted into was was clearly a very nice fish. The rod buckled and the drag began to sing and the fish made for the deeps. After 10 mins and several more violent runs and 60 yards from where I first started out we caught sight of the monster stingray as it came out of the water around 10ft out. Slowly but surely I managed to coax it into the shallows but this presented it’s own issues the fish was beached but still in almost a foot of water.
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It would thrash wildly whenever we got close to it which made it very dangerous. Luckily Shane McMahon was next to me and once we got the towel around its tail we could move it onto the beach. It had taken a half peeler crab on a Gamakatsu size 1 hook on a pulley rig with a 15lb snood. As it was measured and weighed we poured water over it to keep it alive and after a few pics it was released to fight another day. It weighted in at 22.8kg or 50.2lb. After the excitement of the big stinger the tide picked up and the weed again began to torture us so we opted to a move to Fenit pier to fish the top of the tide.
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50.2lb sting ray

We obviously were not alone as it seemed most of us had had the same idea. Again big baits were sent skyward and hopes were high. Pluck Pluck Pluck first cast and the tip was moving so was Shane McMahons hopes were high school hame lifted in lots of weight and no fight could it be a ray in the tide? Alas no a giant spider crab! My tip kept up its occasional pull and I feared another spider crab filled day. I lifted in and immediately had a good solid pull back followed closely by a dash towards me and most importantly a good bit of weight 9lb 10oz to be exact a fine Undulate Ray. Dogfish and spider crab followed along with the odd greedy flounder.

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Undulate ray

Day 2 was a much more laid back affair with the wind gone pure East and the weed seemingly doubled from the day before. I did manage a small stingray of about 12lb for 2nd on the day and it was enough to claim the overall prize for the 2nd time in 3 years. All topped off by having the biggest fish of the weekend and the biggest hangover also……

About paddykeogh20

We are three anglers who enjoy all aspects of fishing. Whether we are blanking or catching were happiest on the bank or shore. If you like your fishing join us by watching our many trips and as we interview some top anglers along the way.....
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