Bunker_Chunker

How to safely land and handle giant stingrays in the surf?

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went out fishing last night off a Long Island beach with a 12ft penn heavy rod and a 8000 penn battle 3 with 80lbs braid, tossed out a chunk of bunker and with in 2 min my rod was bent like a toothpick and the drag was screaming. 25 min later got the ray 10-15 yards from the beach and it was on the surface in the surf flapping, it was massive it had to be 6ft or more across and over 100lbs. But I was alone and as I tired my best to land it the line snapped.  I moved spots down the beach a half mile  but had 3 more big ray hookups and was broken off all times.  I am sure this is the Rough Tail ray, given the size. I have had small ones in protected bays.

 

How do you handle and land these BIG rays without getting stuck? Is the whole Tail Poison or just the barb? when I had the smalls ones last year I pulled them up on the sand by their top gill holes, is this still safe to do with the big ones?  or should the line just be cut if you hook up and don't even take the risk? 

 

 I only like to fish bait, is there any way to avoid these rays?  all I want to do is night fish and get a blue, bass or small shark on some bunker. Last night was the fist time I went out at night since I was a kid, but I never remember people catching giant rays, just giant blues and sand sharks 

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lol 8000 size reel and 80lb braid in August... are you also wearing a GoPro on your chest.

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6 mins ago, GarbageFish said:

lol 8000 size reel and 80lb braid in August... are you also wearing a GoPro on your chest.

that's one of my surf setups for  heavy bunker chunkin only,  and I have done good on it. The 8000 pairs greAT with the Penn battalion 2 12heavy 

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This is a trick I learned early on that is a life saver. Get a large washcloth, get it wet and throw it over the barb. The larger the cloth the better. The weight of the water logged cloth will keep their tail in check and you can unhook with no worries of getting stabbed. When you got to drag them out to sea just grab the tail right in from of the barb, drag it into the sea deep enough for it to swim away and turn it around so it’s head faces the open ocean. Slide the towel off and back away quick so it doesn’t get you if it does whip its tail around. Make sure you don’t lose your towel and you should be fine. 

 

I wouldn’t pull them by the gill holes as it could hurt them. As for the tail, only the barb has venom in it. And the best part about chunking is there is no way to avoid rays. I love catching rays, one of my favorite fish to catch actually, so I’m not complaining about that haha... but I understand not liking them. They can be a PITA to deal with, but I’ve found with a wet towel over the tail what was once a fierce creature trying to stab you with a 4 inch long barb is now just a defenseless 100 pound pancake lying on the beach waiting to be released. Just make sure to keep that towel on it until you have it out deep enough to release because they may not be too happy when you take it off.

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I ran into a similar issue a few weeks ago and once we got the fish in close after a long battle we realized we didn't know what to do because the leader was too short to grab without going dangerously close to the tail. And, grabbing the tail and dragging it out at night in crashing waves is not as easy as it sounds. So after another 20 minutes of tug of war trying to use the waves to beach it, it eventually snapped off. Going forward I think a long wind on leader of 80-100 lb mono going almost to the reel while the bait is in casting position connected via improved FG knot is the best solution to leader the fish properly. 

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7 mins ago, liambrouillette said:

connected via improved FG knot

what is this improved fg you speak of ?

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5 mins ago, riggler said:

what is this improved fg you speak of ?

Its actually called the modified fg, just a couple slight changes, if you look it up on the water has a tutorial. 

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Posted (edited)

String rays are puppy dogs when you get them on sand.  Next to their eyes there are two holes, put your fingers in there and use that to pull them out of the rough stuff.  

 

Don't be stupid and touch the barb is at the top portion of their tail.  That is the only dangerous part on them.  

 

I usually stick my hands under their body and flip them over.  Take the hook out.  Flip them back over.  Stick your fingers back in those two holes and drag them down into the water.  

 

Very cool animal, strong as hell.  I've caught some monster rays in OBX.  Landed a pretty big one in June on a pompano rig and fathom 12, took a LONG ASS time though.

 

Also, are you running 80lb braid to the hook?  Hopefully you are running a mono shock leader, will help you when trying to wrangle them in.

Edited by animalbarrie

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Well sounds like the first thing you need is a long heavy mono shock leader!

It makes it much easier to deal with your catch instead of trying to grab the braid!

At the same time, protecting your braid as well!

 

EA

 

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1 hour ago, ProSkateFisherman said:

This is a trick I learned early on that is a life saver. Get a large washcloth, get it wet and throw it over the barb. The larger the cloth the better. The weight of the water logged cloth will keep their tail in check and you can unhook with no worries of getting stabbed. When you got to drag them out to sea just grab the tail right in from of the barb, drag it into the sea deep enough for it to swim away and turn it around so it’s head faces the open ocean. Slide the towel off and back away quick so it doesn’t get you if it does whip its tail around. Make sure you don’t lose your towel and you should be fine. 

 

I wouldn’t pull them by the gill holes as it could hurt them. As for the tail, only the barb has venom in it. And the best part about chunking is there is no way to avoid rays. I love catching rays, one of my favorite fish to catch actually, so I’m not complaining about that haha... but I understand not liking them. They can be a PITA to deal with, but I’ve found with a wet towel over the tail what was once a fierce creature trying to stab you with a 4 inch long barb is now just a defenseless 100 pound pancake lying on the beach waiting to be released. Just make sure to keep that towel on it until you have it out deep enough to release because they may not be too happy when you take it off.

thanks for the reply proskatefisherman, very helpful. Its awesome you like to target them, the smaller ones I had were very fun but the big ones are like a fright train. One they grab on its a major commitment to get them in and save your rig. Last night was expensive lol.  Can the venom get on the towel and then be dangrous or does it need to be stabbed into skin? Thanks 

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45 mins ago, liambrouillette said:

I ran into a similar issue a few weeks ago and once we got the fish in close after a long battle we realized we didn't know what to do because the leader was too short to grab without going dangerously close to the tail. And, grabbing the tail and dragging it out at night in crashing waves is not as easy as it sounds. So after another 20 minutes of tug of war trying to use the waves to beach it, it eventually snapped off. Going forward I think a long wind on leader of 80-100 lb mono going almost to the reel while the bait is in casting position connected via improved FG knot is the best solution to leader the fish properly. 

thanks for sharing, sorry you lost it after that battle but probably the safe outcome. Maybe ill have to try the leader im running right to braid. Excuse my ignorance but what do you mean by "wind on Leader"? is that just regular mono leader?

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28 mins ago, animalbarrie said:

String rays are puppy dogs when you get them on sand.  Next to their eyes there are two holes, put your fingers in there and use that to pull them out of the rough stuff.  

 

Don't be stupid and touch the barb is at the top portion of their tail.  That is the only dangerous part on them.  

 

I usually stick my hands under their body and flip them over.  Take the hook out.  Flip them back over.  Stick your fingers back in those two holes and drag them down into the water.  

 

Very cool animal, strong as hell.  I've caught some monster rays in OBX.  Landed a pretty big one in June on a pompano rig and fathom 12, took a LONG ASS time though.

 

Also, are you running 80lb braid to the hook?  Hopefully you are running a mono shock leader, will help you when trying to wrangle them in.

thanks for the reply, I figured the top holes would be best that's what I did with the small ones just wasn't sure about the big guys. Is there any risk on Venom just touching the ray in general like a residue or does it actually need to be stabbed into flesh?  

 

Im running the braid right to the hook, how long do you recommend the leader be? Thanks!!

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31 mins ago, ExcessiveAngler said:

Well sounds like the first thing you need is a long heavy mono shock leader!

It makes it much easier to deal with your catch instead of trying to grab the braid!

At the same time, protecting your braid as well!

 

EA

 

going to try this tonight! Should the leader be wrapped around the reel at all or just above it? thanks! 

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2 mins ago, Bunker_Chunker said:

thanks for the reply proskatefisherman, very helpful. Its awesome you like to target them, the smaller ones I had were very fun but the big ones are like a fright train. One they grab on its a major commitment to get them in and save your rig. Last night was expensive lol.  Can the venom get on the towel and then be dangrous or does it need to be stabbed into skin? Thanks 

The barb needs to puncture you in order for anything to happen. Don’t worry about anything on the towel. 
 

They might not do any crazy head shakes or anything but when a big ray sets its mind on making a run it’s damn near impossible to stop them sometimes. Smaller rays are definitely fun to catch but the big ones, like you said, are a major challenge and you have to be committed to the fight and you gotta give them everything you got to get them in sometimes. Glad I could help you. Tight lines out there!

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