SOUTHERN STINGRAY (Dasyatis americana) OTHER NAMES: Stingaree, Raya
RANGE: Commonly coastal, but Stingrays are also represented on and around coral reefs and even in the open sea.
HABITAT: Most species forage on soft bottom, particularly flats and shorelines.
DESCRIPTION: Several species are included under this collective name. They are dark colored and stand out vividly on shallow flats – unless buried in mud, which they often are while resting. The two most common in Florida are the pictured Southern Stingray, which grows the largest, and the Atlantic Stingray, Dasyatis sabina. In the Bahamas and throughout the Caribbean, the Bluntnose Stingray, Dasyatis say, is seen most often. All are flat and equipped with barbed spikes on their tails that can deliver a painful and possibly serious wound to an unwary wader, or to an angler who handles them carelessly.
SIZE: Usually 2-3 feet in “wingspan,” although individuals can run at least twice that size. World record 239 pounds.
FOOD VALUE: Quite good; they do taste like scallops.
GAME QUALITIES: Not a great fighter, but strength and the tactic of sticking to the bottom like a suction cup can work up an angler’s sweat. Stingrays can be the shallow-water angler’s friend, however, since they create bright trails of silt when feeding, and these “muds” often attract gamefish, including Redfish, Jack, Snapper and even Bonefish.
TACKLE AND BAITS: All kinds of tackle. On the flats, try spinning tackle baited with shrimp or crab. From a pier or bridge, use heavier gear – maybe surf tackle – with the same sort of bait.
FISHING SYSTEMS: Still Fishing.