Pixel Tracker

Sunday, March 24 , 2019, 6:28 am | Fair 45º


Captain’s Log: Catching Bat Rays Is a Blast

Aggressive bat rays seem to enjoy the fight.

Some fish get no respect and deserve better. That’s the case with bat rays.

A little girl watches from charter boat as a bat ray is pulled in. Click to view larger
A little girl watches from charter boat as a bat ray is pulled in. (Capt. David Bacon)

I had a group out on my charter boat, WaveWalker to look for halibut. The bat rays in the area decided we must be bat-ray fishing and they kept us grinning and battling all day.

On very first hookup with what the angler hoped was a halibut, I watched the rod to learn about the fighting signature of the critter and I softly told the angler, “That halibut just grew wings.”

That bat ray put up a magnificent battle that was probably considerably more fun than a halibut. Then it was hookup after hookup after hookup, and I realized the bat rays were being aggressive and chomping every bait we put down; they were particularly fond of squid.

We switched baits and moved to another location. It was like the bat rays followed us.

After a few bat rays, my charter group kind of got the hang of fighting them and realized how much fun it is to catch and release them. We had some nice units to about 70 pounds and they do grow better than twice that size.

In our part of the world, bat rays are not generally eaten. I have personally tried them and they are far from my favorite seafood.

One fairly common way to eat them is to cookie cutter the wings and fry them. In my experience they are palatable, but not good. Perhaps someone could fix them in such a way that I would enjoy, but I doubt anyone is going to have that opportunity.

It is actually fun and gratifying to release them. They are tough and the fight doesn’t seems to bother them. They swim away strongly and make me wonder if we will be releasing the battle with that particular critter in the next hour. If we do, it’s fine with me. They are fun.

Pier fishers hook into quite a few bat rays and I help set people up for that in my Goleta Pier location of my tackle shop, Hook, Line & Sinker.

It always makes me smile to see a rod bent deeply and a person grinning ear-to-ear fighting a big bat ray, probably to be released.

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit softininc.blogspot.com to learn more about the organization and how you can help. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

Support Noozhawk Today!

Our professional journalists work tirelessly to report on local news so you can be more informed and engaged in your community. This quality, local reporting is free for you to read and share, but it's not free to produce.

You count on us to deliver timely, relevant local news, 24/7. Can we count on you to invest in our newsroom and help secure its future?

We provide special member benefits to show how much we appreciate your support.

I would like give...
Great! You're joining as a Red-Tailed Hawk!
  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Meet Your Realtor Sponsored by Village Properties

Photo of Gary Welterlen and Carla Reeves
Gary Welterlen and Carla Reeves
"We both love this business. We strive to make life long relationships from each real estate transaction."

Full Profile >

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >