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raja undulata thumbnail pic

Undulate Ray, Raja undulata

Irish Record Fish: 18 lbs 8.16 kgs
Caught: Fenit 1977
Boat Specimen: 14 lbs  6.35 kgs
Shore Specimen: 9 lbs  4.08 kgs
Photo Credit:

  Rafael Banon

Introduction: The Undulate Ray is one of the smaller rays in Irish waters but that said, it can weight up to 9 kilos (20lbs).  It is the most beautifully marked ray, although some will argue the toss on that description.  Any undulate ray > 4 kilos (9 lbs) is a fine fish and qualifies as an ISFC specimen.  They are typically caught in shallow waters, often over sand in the summer months, moving inshore especially on evening tides in calm conditions and during warmer weather, especially at night.

Boat tactics: You can put most of the rays away with a standard 20 lbs set-up (with the exception of a big Sting Ray or Electric Ray) when fishing for them off a boat.  Given their preference for kiting against the current, the conditions and your position up or down tide will possibly change your choice of gear... You can not always dispense with the wire trace as whilst rays do not have teeth, that mouth holds powerful rasping plates that can make short work of light mono or braid.  Needless to say the skin on any ray is abrasive stuff... Rays are bottom dwellers and often move in large numbers - the Shannon Estuary is a reknowned early season ray mark, especially in or around Scattery Island.  Undulates tend to be caught further out to sea and rarely show up in the estuaries where thornbacks often collect in massive numbers.  Most baits including fresh mackerel strip attached to anything from a 2/0 to 4/0 hook will work.  Given their preferred habitat we feel that half a Flounder or Dab would work.

Shore tactics: Rays are being caught with increasingly regularity from Irish shore marks - especially from beaches on the western and southern coasts - and this is simply put down to anglers becoming aware of their presence.  They prefer calm conditions and will come into shallow waters, mainly in or around broad estuaries. A standard beachcaster allied to a multiplier reel will give you a fighting chance, unless you hook a big one!  Fanore in Co. Clare and the area down to Ballyreen offer up undulates annually, although it is invariably as the odd one taken amongst the thornbacks and the odd (often big) sting ray.