Author: Terra Firma Tackle
Round Rays (Urobatis halleri) are member of the stingray family, and the most plentiful of the rays found in California. These fish can be found from Northern California to Baja and are numerous throughout their range. They feed on or near the bottom and like other rays, they give live birth.. These fish are easily identifiable by their wide “disk-like” heads, sharp stinger and round tail fin. These are a smaller species, only reaching about 2 feet in length, and for the most part they remain close to the bottom and are slow moving.
Stingray, Sling-Stay, Round Ray, Suction-cup Shark, “YEOUCH”!!!
Round rays can be caught from both the pier and the surf, but the majority of these small rays will be caught incidentally on piers in sandy featureless areas. This is one species of fish that responds well to invertebrate baits such as shrimp, squid, or crab. Sardines however are hard to beat when it comes to bottom bait and these rays will not turn down a finbait offering if they are in the mood.
These slow, lazy critters are not fighters at all, “sleeping” on baits for prolonged periods of time without the angler even knowing they are hooked. 10 to 20lb line is plenty to catch these miniature bottom dwellers, but as mentioned before, many will be caught on baits intended for larger game.
From the surf rigs like the Loop Rig, Pulley Rig, or even the basic Carolina/Fishfinder rig are all good options. On the pier most of these fish will be caught on slid baits intended for other species, no need to target them directly, if they are in the area they will find the bait. There is no need for wire with round rays, but in the event that another shark takes the bait be prepared for a cut off. These fish can and do eat very large baits intended for other species and don’t see to by shy when it comes to heavy or stiff terminal gear. It is nothing short of amazing the size of baits these fish will swallow down given enough time.
Round rays are common all along the Southern California coast, and anywhere with a rocky bottom or kelp line can hold these odd creatures South Orange County and LA County both hold enormous amounts of these fish, sometimes bordering on plague proportions.
Round rays bite all year, unfortunately. No luck escaping their bait stealing behavior there….Usually if one or two are caught in a surf session its probably a good idea to move locations!
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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