Author: Terra Firma Tackle
Species Profile: Bat Ray (Myliobatis californica)
Bat Rays (Myliobatis californica) are one of the hardest fighting fish available to the landbased angler in Southern California. A member of the eagle ray, the Bat Ray is identifiable by its pointed “wings” and long whip-like tail. The all tackle record for these rays is 180lbs, but they are rumored to get much larger. With wingspans up to 6’ across it is easy to see how they are capable of such grueling battles on hook and line. Their mouths equipped with crushing plates to smash crabs and mollusks although they are known to enjoy finbait as well! They are fast, powerful and even capable of airborne displays when hooked. Poor table fare lends these fish best to a catch and release fishery. Many sharking kinds get their start in the big game angling world by wrestling with these bruisers. For the most part as the anglers improves and begins to target larger more worthy game, the bat rays become a nuisance due to their prevalence and willingness to bite.
Bat, Snot Napkin, Mud Marlin, Slimeball, Bait Ray
How To Catch Bat Rays:
Bat Rays are easy to catch, numerous anywhere the ocean meets the land, and readily accepting a variety of baits. Squid, mackerel, smelt, shrimp, literally anything will work to catch these fish. The author once even caught one on a slap of grilled chicken from a waterfront restaurant.
Bat Rays are powerful fighters, but not excessively large. While they can be hard to turn, and usually make one long run, if the angler stays in front of the fish must rays can be subdued quite easily with 30lb tackle. As a recommendation 50lb line should be a good starting point if hunting for bruisers. Most anglers opt for a braided line such as Bullbuster Braid (https://bullbuster.net/braided...) with a long “rub leader” or shock leader of monofilament. This braid backing gives the angler the capacity to slow down these fish which can make runs in excess of 100 yards when first hooked.. Usually 10-12 feet of heavy mono such as Bullbuster Leader Material (https://bullbuster.net/grander...) is used as a rub leader to make sure the angler lands their quarry when fishing around shells, rocks, or docks.
From the surf, bay or pier rigs like the Loop Rig, Pulley Rig, or even the basic Carolina/Fishfinder rig are all good options. These rays have no teeth, only a crushing plate so no wire is required. However, consideration must be given to the shape of the fishes mouth and the size of the hook becomes imperative since there is little soft tissue to catch on. Larger hooks tend to work well, cirlces being the preferred method.
Where To Catch Bat Rays:
Mud Marlin can be found all along the Southern California coast, but San Diego and North Los Angeles County both seem to have the highest concentrations of slimy brawlers. Bays and Harbors can be excellent places to target these fish as well, with Long Beach Harbor and Newport Harbor being known hotspots.
When To Fish For Batrays:
While snot napkins can be caught all year, spring and summer are the preferred times. There is a correlation between these fish and large tide swings, and as a result grunion run nights can be ultra-productive times to fish for them.
Thanks for reading! For more information and rigs for targeting these fish please check out our own website at TerraFirmaTackle.com!
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