Tuesday, 17 December 2013

The Eagle Was Landed

An eagle ray on a 7wt - Photo thanks to Matt Denton

On a recent short trip to South Australia's Yorke Peninsula, Matt Denton and I were hoping to chase a number of species. The main ones we were focused on being Australian salmon, mulloway, and snook. We tried a number of areas along the Eastern side of the peninsula and around the lower west as far as Browns Beach with no luck. In fact one small flathead on spin tackle and a soft plastic was all we managed. The tides were terrible, in fact it was pretty much a dodge tide

On the final morning we decided to have a look at the Jetty at Ardrossan. As we walked down, peering over the side we saw two small eagle rays cruising the shallows together. They were not on the bottom, instead cruising mid water. I thought I would have a cast or two at them before heading to the end of the jetty.  I walked up ahead where I predicted they would pass by soon and put all my gear down. I  then stripped some line off my 7wt outfit, and by that time they were about to cross my path. The yellow over white 1/0 clouser landed right in their path, however I expected them to keep swimming straight past. One however swam straight over to it and stopped right where my fly was. I paused for a second before strip striking, and was still shocked when it all came tight! Matt had a few casts at the other one which continued to cruise around while I was hooked up to the first one. He accidentally foul hooked it and fought it for a while before busting it off next to the jetty. 

Not long later, we led mine down to the shallows where I beached it and we walked down to take a few photos before taking out the fly and releasing this beautiful creature to grow a lot bigger. Unfortunately, and I think due to the light tackle I don't think this ray really pull as hard as it could have - it almost seemed as if it barely knew it was hooked. In fact for the most part it was like walking a stubborn dog around on a leash. It did take a few short runs that showed off how fast these thinks can swim - and I think hooking a bigger specimen on perhaps a 12wt might be a lot of fun!

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Matt Denton casting a metal lure in hope of finding some Australian Salmon

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