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Sting Ray, Dasyatis pastinaca

Irish Record Fish: 73.19 lbs 33.2 kgs
Caught: Tralee Bay 1999
Boat Specimen: 30 lbs  13.61 kgs
Shore Specimen: 20 lbs  9.07 kgs
Photo Credit:

  Rafael Banon

Introduction: By far the largest rays  found here are the Sting Rays.  The 35 cm stingers do need extremely careful handling.  This is definitely one ray you do not hold between a thumb and finger!  The stingers are kept well away from the body and the legs.  Hold it out, away from you, with firm hand-holds on the wings, either side of the head.  Watch out for the mouth too as large rays can munch on an unwary finger very easily.  These rays get big - several large specimen have been caught from the shore as well as from boats. 

Boat tactics:  For something this big, the standard 20 lbs set-up is probably enough when fishing for them off a boat, although no-one will complain if you happen to be using a 30 lbs set-up.  They are mainly caught in calm conditions when fishing in relatively shallow waters.  A wire trace is essential.  For fish of this general size, big boats like fresh mackerel cones or flappers attached to forged 6/0 to 10/0 hooks are the standard kit.

Shore tactics: Again they seem to prefer calm conditions and will come into very shallow waters, especially in broad estuaries and bays. Black Head in Co. Clare and the beach at Fanore has produced several large Sting Rays in the last decade.  A decent beachcaster allied to an equally decent multiplier reel is what will be needed to muscle such huge rays.  Sting Rays are big fish and very powerful - think of them as the equal of a Tope...