Cow nose on the fly? With a report.
So I was fishing the bay this weekend. Both from the boat and also some wading. The area I'm wading looks perfect. It's located a few miles north of Cove Point with vertical cliffs in the back ground, sharks teeth on the beach and about a unique Maryland setting imaginable.
The water depth varies but for the most part you can wade out a 100 yards or more without getting your shorts wet. There are a few sand bars and troughs between the sand bars and eventually it drops off.
I did most of my fishing in the morning, during or close to a full moon. A couple weeks ago I was there and the water was stained and jelly fish were everywhere. I waded straight threw them, with shorts and all and had to deal with an uncomfortable itch afterwards.
This weekend the water was relatively clear, molting crabs were seen everywhere, I accidentally stepped on a few, the jelly fish were nowhere to be seen and giant schools of peanut bunker would often push past me, threw me and around me.
I didn't catch anything but not for not trying. Every few seconds it seemed a smallish cow nose ray would swim by me. Often two or three at a time in 6 inches of water if I was on one of the sand bars. They'd venture within inches of shore in ankle deep water or most of the time in thigh deep water. I was worried I'd step on a few. They still have stingers you know.
I tried everything to tempt them to hit. All they did was go the other direction. Sometimes a few would be swimming towards me and wouldn't realize it until I pushed them off with my rod. If I stood still they'd practically collide with my leg! If I stomped on the ground for a second they'd scatter in a cloud of dust. If I tried to sneak up on one it would bury itself in the sand or just bolt for deeper water. Most of these rays were small, like 20 inches from wing to wing. I never saw one actively feeding or digging up the bottom. I even threw a dead crab I found at a few rays and they ignored it so I'm not too sure they were feeding on molting crabs. I just thought it would be pretty cool with that many of them around to be able to wade and sight fish for a fish that would fight better than the average summer time rockfish.
Any suggestions on actually targeting them with a fly rod? I think everyone I've caught with a spinning rod was accidentally snagged unless it was on bait.
the biggest flounder I've ever hooked was a cow nosed ray! LOL
I've snagged alot, but also have hooked them in the mouth fishing clousers on the bottom, I suspect crab like flies on the bottom would work if in a feeding mood. Anyway, never really had a chance to target them persay, so who knows!
I've caught two cow nose rays on a fly. Last summer I caught one while casting to breaking fish. It was fully grown and took a while to get it in to the boat repeatedly taking me into the backing. It snapped the line at the fly as I was trying to remove the hook from it's mouth. I caught a second one this past Saturday. There were huge schools of smaller rays among the breaking fish. This one was half the size, but it still made one long run taking me into the backing. This time, I removed the fly from it's mouth without any trouble. I've never targeted them before, but they must occasionaly feed among the breaking blues and stripers, because both fish were hooked in the mouth. The flies were relatively close to the surface.
I've done it. White clouser thrown in front of them in shallow water. Don't strip, let it sit on the bottom give a gentle pull to see if there is tention. when there is, set hook watch the drag scream then rest of the fight is a lot like pulling up a snag. fun if nothing else is biting.
I lost a few of Jay Barracato's Gonzos last year to them. Really ticked me off. Last year was my first real year out with a fly rod on the bay. Actually my first fish on my 10wt was a ray. A HUGE ONE! I was on my kayak at drum point and it pulled me up about 500 yds. Mainly because I had no idea what to do or how to handle anything that big. I couldnt cut my fly line so I had to pull it all the way in. I used to want to catch them but now that I have been chasing schools I really dont want to waste my time. They are fun though.
Also, when were you out? I was up there a couple times this weekend and last week around the full moon.
They will readily take a Clouser. I've hooked 4, 3 intentionally. Landed none, but was towed for a half hour across the Wye in a kayak. I was using a 7 weight, so I broke him off.
I was there on Saturday and Sunday. My neighbors own a place right off of Western Shores Blvd, right on the water.
First on Saturday morning, late morning, my son and I went looking for shark teeth and what ever else we could find. We were both barefoot and didn't have any nets or rods with us. Ryan usually wanted to go on my shoulders as we strolled through shin deep water. He couldn't quite make out the crabs I was seeing all over the place but he could see the stingrays and loved it when I'd stamp my feet and make them scatter like a startled cat. But I was litterally nervous on a few occassions that I'd step on one and get spined.
Ryan loved it, I enjoyed it and we had a really good time exporing the shallows, even without fishing nets or fishing rods. The next morning I got up early before everyone else and explored with my fly rod. I was using intermediate line, a short leader (4 feet) and was dragging bottom pretty much everywhere. Plus a 9wt. I think I'll go back with a 7wt, floating line and a much longer, even lighter leader. Even the cow nose rays were line shy.