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Common Eagle Ray, Myliobatis aquila

Irish Record Fish: not recognised
Caught: not reported
Boat Specimen: not recognised
Shore Specimen: not recognised
Photo Credit:

Peter Writz

Introduction: A very rare fish but definitely a visitor to Irish waters during the warmer months, and found mainly in shallow estuaries where it feeds on standard ray fare, the Common Eagle Ray is similar in size to the thornback or blonde ray, but definitely a different fish.  The distinctive rounded disc like snout is the main feature as it is a plain drab brown or black on top with a pure white underside.  One for the photo album. 

Boat tactics: For something this size, a standard 20 lbs set-up is more than enough when fishing for them off a boat.  If you do happen across one, it will be encountered when fishing for other ray - typically Thornbacks- in shallow inshore waters from June onwards.  A wire trace is not essential but it may prove useful.  Baits need to be fresh mackerel cones attached to forged 6/0 hooks although smaller hooks on a pennel rigs on strong mono will work. Slack water seems optimal.

Shore tactics: As with all rays, they seem to prefer calm conditions and will come into very shallow waters, especially in or around broad estuaries. Sandy beaches on the South and West Coasts - the Shannon Estuary and other rays haunts along the southern and western shores - seem to be your best bet.