MULTI - SPECIES SHARK & RAY DAY
It started off with the usual mad dash on Friday night to get down to the beach, beat the traffic, which we knew would be serious as it was a Labor Day holiday weekend. The team was super stoked as the previous weekend resulted in the long drive down only to find the surf rough and unable to deploy baits in the kayak. We were off to a bit of a late start that morning because we tried to fish a new spot but found a super hard wind. We had to go find a better spot that provided more cover from the west wind. There was a strong current because the prior week there was a storm that had blown in a ton of sand and filled up two troughs. It also was right around a new moon which always means stronger tide current and the direction of the wind which added even more pull to the current. Having to drop out baits way upstream of the current and use heavier weights. From our experience we usually don't catch sharks on days like this or if we do they will be in closer. So we made our drops a little shorter than usual. We fished all morning and I managed to hook up on two sharks one of them was a smaller 3 foot sandbar shark that I hooked on my spinning gear the other it was a 7-foot male sand tiger shark. I noticed my line was weighed down current so I got tight on the line and realized I was hooked up. He felt a lot bigger than he was in the swift current but we got him in quickly. De-hooking him and tagging him for NOAA. He fell victim to a nice chunk of mahi-mahi. After releasing him we put away the shark fishing gear because beachgoers were starting to show up.
We hit the road and headed to another spot. Where we were just using spinning gear and throwing pieces of cut bait. Turns out the place was crawling with cownose rays we ended up hooking over seven of them in 2 hours along with some skates and other Stingray species.
The highlight of the weekend was the youngest teammate Rex catching his first cownose ray. Rex quickly realized that he was no match for the strong stingray and that it would take the proper application of confidence, technique, and wits to defeat this stingray. It almost broke his will a few times but with reassurance and motivational speeches from his mother and fellow teammates he was back in the game, determined to beach this ray. After an intense 25 minute back and forth battle, when the smoke finally cleared Rex was standing there victorious and proud with a stingray at his feet. He had done it defeated the sea monster, and after a few well-deserved high fives and shoulder pats Rex dragged the ray back down the shore into the murky waters and released it with care and respect representing what the Pinnacle Reef gang stands for like a pro. We stood there for a moment speechless, all experiencing a feeling of cheer and joy in amazement. The feeling of bliss was broken by the sound of a drag clicker with line peeling off my reel. It was another ray hooked up, I quickly grabbed the rod out of the holder and got tight and what did you know Rex came running over hollering out "can I have that ray, can I fight that ray" and I said to myself oh my goodness what have we created.
Overall it was an epic weekend seven cownose rays/skates/roughtail rays and two sharks all caught on Bullbuster braid and mono. Get out there and take a child fishing with the right set up, the right line, and the right confidence anything's possible. Spend more time fishing and take kids, make memories that last a lifetime.
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