Black Ray: A Dream Fulfilled

Originally Authored by: Luke Pretorius

A Dream Fulfilled: The Black Ray

I ventured to a familiar local spot, a place where impressive black rays had been caught in the past. On this particular day, my objective was to land a black ray. As I
approached the water's edge, an intuition told me that there was a substantial presence lurking beneath the surface. Setting up my fishing rod, I attached a makkie head adorned with yellowtail cutlets, and with anticipation, I cast it into the water.

Approximately 25 minutes elapsed before my rod started to show a slight bouncing motion—a telltale sign of a black ray's interest in the bait. Allowing the ray to take its time, I waited 3 to 5 minutes before engaging in the exhilarating battle. Swiftly, I locked the drag on my reel, well aware of the strength required to handle these formidable creatures.

My chosen fishing spot featured a distinct layout: a left point, a sizeable gully at the center, and a right point. Positioned at the right point, I began the intense struggle. Just beyond the one-hour mark, the ray was close, yet there was no feasible landing area. The ray's unexpected shift toward the middle of the gully forced me to think on my feet. With agility, I maneuvered around the rocky terrain to the left point, aiming to guide the ray toward a more suitable landing spot. This plan was successful until the ray altered course and returned to the gully's center.

Persisting for another 40 minutes within the gully, I ultimately made the decision to free spool the ray, hoping it would choose a direction. Thankfully, it veered right, and I promptly adjusted my position to prevent the line from getting snagged. My efforts to keep the ray on this trajectory spanned 50 additional minutes, progressively reeling it in closer to the shoreline along the right.

At last, a pivotal moment arrived when I leaped off the rocks and sprinted to the sandy beach. My objective was twofold: to distance myself from the rocks that might cause the ray to turn and break the line, and to finally conclude this arduous fight. With persistence, I brought the ray to a point where I could approach it for a successful capture.

Stepping into the water, I grasped the leader and drew closer. As I did, the true magnitude of my achievement became evident—the enormity of the black ray was awe inspiring. Despite my efforts, the ray remained immovable, a testament to its strength. With the assistance of two friends, we carefully lifted the ray, capturing a few photos as the waves washed over it. After these brief moments, I bid farewell to my aquatic adversary.

This triumphant endeavor spanned over three hours, a fierce contest between me and the colossal black ray. My tools of choice, the Okuma Makaira 7-9oz rod and the
Slammer 8500 reel, proved their mettle in this unforgettable battle. In the end, the ray was released, returning to its ocean realm, victorious in its own right.


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