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Small Eyed Ray, Raja microocellata

Irish Record Fish: 17.19 lbs 7.8 kgs
Caught: Garryvoe 1994
Boat Specimen: 10 lbs  4.54 kgs
Shore Specimen: 7 lbs  3.18 kgs
Photo Credit:

John Hughes, off Co. Wexford   2004

Introduction: The Small Eyed Ray is also known as the Painted Ray and is one of the medium sized rays with a top weight < 20 lbs.  It is readily identified by the beautiful striped markings on its topside.  It is usually encountered in the warmer waters of the Gulf Stream along the south coast, e.g. Kerry to Wexford, although it does show up later in the year farther north. Our thanks once again to Dr Ian Lawler of Bord Iascaight Mhara.

Boat tactics: For something this size, a standard 20 lbs set-up is more than enough when fishing for them off a boat.  They are encountered on relatively light gear when fishing for other ray in shallow waters.  Most baits from ragworm up to fresh mackerel strip attached to nothing bigger than a 2/0 hook pennel rig will work. The breaking strain for the trace line will be determined by the mark you are fishing but 30 lbs (12 kgs) mono is fine.

Shore tactics: Again 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 beaches under Mount Brandon on Tralee Bay are known marks - seem to be your best bet, as this species has a real preference for Gulf Stream waters.  A beachcaster allied to a multiplier reel will give you all the power you need for them.