Bowden wins 24-hour ray competition

PUBLISHED: 15:08 18 June 2010

EXMOUTH Sea Angling Association moved into new ground with a unique new competition, writes Tim Clotworthy. The event was a 24-hour Ray Day and many of the club's members took part. Contestants ventured far and wide during the event on a hunt for these often illusive inshore visitors.

Several competitors headed to the surf beaches of North Devon during the hours of darkness on a quest for smalleyed ray, while others fished for them from local beaches east of Exmouth. Both sites produced the desired species. With over a dozen smalleyed ray to near specimen size reported by competitors, come dawn, thoughts turned to a thornback ray, or two, from the Bristol Channel. However, pickings were slim for those who ventured north during daylight hours and, come the weigh-in, it was night-time caught smalleyed Ray that won the day.

Taking top spot was ESAA Competition Secretary Gary Bowden with a pair of smalleyed ray. A very close second was Exmouth’s Gary Woolsey who recorded his first ever ray catch with the club. Sadly, commercial pressures have seen ray stocks depleted in recent years.

As is practice in the ESAA, no fish are ever kept unless destined for the table and all the ray landed from this event were returned to the sea.

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