Cow Nose Ray Invasion Continues

I spent today fishing off the south jetties of Ponce Inlet. Over all the water was very calm and so where most fish, that is, except for the Cow Nose Rays.

Cow Nose Ray

Cow Nose Ray

The Cow Face Ray is a pelagic (meaning they migrate and do not stay on the bottom) cousin of the common stingray. They are currently migrated threw East Central Florida and they are in LARGE groups, many hundred strong, and after being here a few weeks and not hitting anything, they became hungry today.

On my second cast with a large live shrimp there was a hard hit followed by a very strong run strait out to sea. After regaining most of the line that was stripped the fish turned around and ran again. Not seeing the fish yet, I had no clue what I had, it didn’t fight like the common stingray, it was much stronger and faster.

After the second run, I pulled the fish in close enough to get a look. A Cow Nose Ray that weighed about 25 lbs. I am not a fan of Ray meat (many say it tastes like scallops) so I let it go and re-rigged because it did fray my leader a bit!

Next cast, the same hit and same run. I knew what I had this time. As it was about done with its first run, this fish jumped out of the water about 2-3 feet in the air! A poor mans Tarpon? Hard fight, long runs and even some jumps, sounds like one! Okay, maybe not, but they are fun!

This trend continued until my arms grew tired of pulling against these extremely strong fish. All in all I caught 8 of them, the smallest being around 20lbs and the largest being around 30lbs.