• Posted by Nick Honachefsky
  • On August 8, 2018
  • Comments
  •  2

When you witness some hapless angler chasing his rod and reel into the surf, then coming out of the waves, exasperated, soaking wet and empty handed, you know the cow nosed rays are in town.

As the heart of summertime is upon us, big game rays are hanging in the Jersey surfline, stealing rod and reel set ups and providing some white knuckled fights both day and night.

Usual suspects include the mobile cow nosed rays which come through in packs of hundreds, wide 7 foot wingspan butterfly rays, sting whipper southern stingrays, bold bull nosed rays and pan-bodied roughtail stingrays. Its best to beef up your tackle when surf fishing for the beasts.

Start with a Shimano 12 foot Tiralejo rod, matched with a 14000 Shimano Ultegra reel spooled with 50-pound Power Pro braid. Next, a general sharking rig is used, consisting of 80 to 100-pound monofilament leader and a size 10/0 Gamakatsu Octopus or Big River hook tied off of a three-way swivel with sinker clip and 3 to 5-ounce Pyramid sinker. A stout Anglers Mate metal push foot metal sand spike is needed to root down the rod into the sand and to prevent a ray taking off with your gear.

Baits can be relatively simple, consisting of fresh bunker, mackerel or bluefish chunks.

Cow nosed rays will come cruising through the surf breakers during the middle of the day, many times sparking the “shark alerts” as their wingtips breaching the waves are oft mistaken for shark fins. The other rays like the butterfly, southern stingray and roughtail ray are usually night predators, feeding through the tides when the sun goes down. Any battle with a ray will be an arm burner as they will make runs, using their brawn and strength to rip off line, then root down and suck the sand when you try to get them in the landing zone of the undertow.

Always have another angler there to leader the fish and pull it up onto the sands, avoiding any whipping tail if possible. A pair of long AFW needle nosed pliers or an ARC Dehooker are needed to dislodge the hook and a quick release back into the surf follows.

Gear Used


Tiralejo Surf Rods

The new Shimano Tiralejo Surf Spinning Rods are made with the all new Shimano C4S blank construction which utilizes high modulus blank and wraps 4 outer layers of 90 degree graphite. The C4S construction is a unique design.



Ultegra XTD Reels

Shimano Ultegra XTD Surf Spinning Reels are designed for the serious surf caster. These surf reels provide consistent long-casting performance and Shimano X-Ship for improved durability even under the heaviest loads.


Power Pro

Moss Green Braid

PowerPro braided Spectra fiber with Enhanced Body Technology (EBT) gives you awesome handling performance on any reel. Unlike the older style braided lines, fishing with PowerPro is as easy as fishing with monofilament.



Pyramid Sinkers

Pyramid Sinkers are often used in the surf or in situations needing your bait to hold in heavy current. The pointed edges help prevent your bait from rolling away with the current, and typically buries itself in the sand for an ideal hold.



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