It’s the time of year to start looking for stingrays in Florida’s shallow waters, where they tend to stay from the start of May through October. You may have already seen signs on the beaches to look out for them as they tend to be at the water’s edge and you don’t want to step accidentally on one. It would be painful as the stingrays can sting from the barb in their tail in their defense.
The primary predators are grouper and sharks. You might have already figured out that stingrays make terrific bait, which is why you might want to catch them before their predators do. The species is not regulated so it is legal to catch them to use as a hook or within a castnet.
How to Catch Stingrays
To catch the stingrays, hook and reel them in but be careful where you grab them so you don’t get caught by the tail that whips around. Grab the ray behind the eyes and left them above the water. Remove the barb that can sting you with a pair of needle-nose pliers and pull off the barb.
Now you can use the stingray as bait for larger targets, like sharks. With bigger bait, you can catch a bigger shark or grouper. So, be sure to put over half of the ray on the hook when you use it as bait.
Eating & Preparing Stingrays
You may alternatively catch stingrays to eat them. Their flavor is similar to scallops. Begin by washing the rays so they are less slippery. Then fillet them by cutting along both sides to remove the wings.
For a larger stingray, also remove the outer skin and cut up the wings for additional pieces of food. Then simply fry up the stingrays, substituting them in any scallop recipe you find online or in books. Enjoy!