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Spotted Ray, Raja montagui

Irish Record Fish: 8.28 lbs 3.76 kgs
Caught: Cork Harbour 1983
Boat Specimen: 5 lbs  2.27 kgs
Shore Specimen: 3 lbs  1.36 kgs
Photo Credit:

Neil Moroney, Fanad Head, Donegal  2004

Introduction: The Spotted Ray also known as the 'Homelyn Ray' or 'Spotted Homelyn Ray' is fairly common in Irish Waters.  As probably our smallest ray it is unlikely to exceed a metre in width / length, but as you can see its a spectacularly marked and coloured fish. All rays (excepting the Sting Ray and the Atlantic Electric Ray) can be handled by holding them on their "shoulders"... A small bony hollow either side of the snout allows for a firm grip for your hand, between fingers and thumb.  Thanks again to Dr Ian Lawler of Bord Iascaight Mhara.

Boat tactics:  For a ray this small, a standard 20 lbs set-up is more than enough when fishing for them off a boat.  Usually they are caught on light gear when fishing shallow waters for other species, especially flatfish.  Most baits from ragworm up to fresh mackerel strip attached to nothing bigger than a 1/0 hook will work. Akin to the Cuckoo Ray, the breaking strain for the trace line will be determined by the mark you are fishing... 

Shore tactics: Again as with all rays found in Irish waters (bar the Electric Ray and the deep sea Shagreen Ray), they seem to prefer calm conditions and will come into very shallow waters, especially in or around broad estuaries. Clew Bay produces lots of Homelyn Ray, some to specimen dimensions.  A light beachcaster allied to a Bass multiplier reel will give you a more than a fighting chance against even a record Spotted Ray - just keep the hooks small! A strong current disturbing a sandy bottom is optimal, although the highest tides are not ideal.