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The Ray Family

There are 12 rays more or less common to British waters, some are only caught from the boat. Below are seven of the more interesting types.
Thornback ray

The most common and the most likely ray to be landed from the shore is the thornback, also commercially called roker. Identified by the cream underside, while most other ray only have thorns or prickles along the tail or midline.

Large thornback ray, those over 20lb, are very rare and the British record of 31lb is going to be hard to beat. In the past big thornback have been recorded, but it is thought these where mostly wrongly identified white or common skate.
Small-eyed ray

Still fairly common through the southern and central parts of the English channel. This ray has smaller eyes than the others and is sometimes called a painted ray as is the undulate ray, hence some confusion. Boat record is 17lb 8oz off Watchet, Somerset.
Spotted ray

Small species found along the English Channel, Irish Sea and Atlantic coastlines of Ireland. Rarely beats 5lb with the British shore record at 8lb 10oz from Whitsands Bay, Cornwall.
Undulate ray

Its undulating dark patterns edged with white spots make it the prettiest of all the small ray. the markings are more distinct than those of the painted ray, which has pale cream markings and no white spots. Rare from the shore except from the Irish west coast.
Cuckoo ray

Distinct yellow and black cuckoo eye spots on the upper side of the wings mark this as a rare catch. Most common in the south, but has been caught all around Britain at depths between 20m and 150m.
Blonde ray

Very rare from the shore, this large ray is a species mostly associated with boat fishing although it has been caught from the rugged western coast of Ireland. Said to be extending its range due to global warming.
Electric ray

Very rarely caught, but neverless there is a British rod-caught record of 90lb 1oz for the species caught off Dodman point in Cornwall.


Winter Cod Fishing  along the south coast can offer some fantastic in shore winter cod fishing through the months of October, November, December and January.

winter fishing cod catches

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