Inshore fishing in Georgia has a wide range of gamefish that are both solid fighters and good to eat. Occasionally when fishing for the most highly targeted fish, anglers catch stingrays. While a stingray is still a swimming creature that tugs at the end of your line, when landed, the hook must be removed carefully to avoid being injured by it’s sharp barb. Here is how to handle stingray.

How To Identify A Stingray

A stingray is a wide-bodied fish that moves much like a bird by flapping what seem to be wings. Often you will encounter the Atlantic Stingray. The upper side is dark, and the belly is white. The mouth is found on the bottom of the fish; thus, it is primarily a bottom feeder. A long tail protrudes out of the back of the fish, and it is equipped with a barb at the middle section. The barb is the dangerous part of the ray that can cause skin lacerations.

Why Do Stingray Bite The same Hook As Other Fish

Most anglers prefer to catch redfish, sea trout, convict fish (sheepshead), and flounder, but stingray are often a bycatch. Ray’s eat many of the same baits, including squid, live or dead shrimp, chunks of fish, or live minnows. Because they share the same palate, they will gobble up the food you were hoping to catch other fish with.

Some anglers chose to target stingray because the flesh is often compared to scallops and, as a result, are considered good to eat. Visitors from landlocked states may intentionally try to catch rays because of their neat appearance.

How Do You Handle A Caught Ray

After the fight is over with the fish and it’s on the shoreline or boat, use extreme caution. The tail of a stingray will whip around and can extend forward of the head. A flopping fish can cause danger to adults and children.

Best Gear For Removing A Hook From A Stingray

Remember these important tools and safety gear when fishing where stingrays are present.

A pair of gloves to handle the fish to help avoid it from slipping out of your hands

Pliers to pinch the hook and remove it from the fish’s mouth to keep your hands clear

A rag to control the tail of a stingray when removing the hook

Steps To Handle Stingray

Above all, take your time and don’t rush the process of removing the hook.

Keep children, pets, and others away from the fish after it has been caught

Have your pliers, gloves, and rag ready to use

Carefully flip the stingray on its back to expose the mouth

Place the glove on your hand in addition to the rag

With the other hand, hold the pliers

Place the rag on the barb of the tail, so it is bunched up and thick on it

Hold the tail and rag with your gloved hand

Use the pliers with the other hand to remove the hook

Release the stingray back into the water

What If You Are Accidentally Stung

In the event you are stung, the wound should be treated. Apply pressure to stop the bleeding, clean the laceration, and take pain medication as necessary. Watch for allergic reactions and if they become severe, call for medical attention.

How To Reduce The Number Of Strikes From A Stingray

For the anglers who would like to avoid catching stingrays, the number of ray strikes can be reduced by fishing your bait suspended to the seafloor. Because rays are bottom feeders, they will bite your bait if lying flat on the bottom.

Now You’re Prepared When A Stingray Is On The Fishing Hook

A fish is still a fish, so it’s fun even when a stingray is caught. Follow the steps to remove the hook and avoid becoming injured. Being hit with the barb from a ray can quickly cut the fun fishing day short, so it is best to be avoided. Remain patient and use caution when you handle stingray.