chesapeake stingray

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Fishing Reports

There aren’t many critters in Chesapeake country that are hated as much as cownose rays.  Mention them around Bay fishermen and you’re sure to hear a few four-letter words.  It’s probably because they steal a lot of lures. Some rays are so big and strong that many anglers simply cut their lines instead of trying to land them to get their equipment back.  Then, there’s the knowledge that one painful slap from a ray’s long spiny tail can put you in the hospital, or that some people believe they can devastate a shellfish bar overnight with their powerful crushing jaws.

Yeah, most people hate them. So, it might seem a little odd that some organizations have started promoting them as a food source.  In fact, the Virginia Marine Products Board is working hard to develop a commercial market for Chesapeake ray meat. From what I hear, it’s catching on. A grocery store in Hunt Valley, Maryland recently cooked some in the aisle and gave away free samples.  They sold all they had on hand. When it comes to culinary trends, I’m somewhat adventurous, and since I generally like seafood and didn’t grow up with prejudices against rays, I’ve been thinking about bringing one home to see what all the fuss is about.  My buddy Rich hooked a twenty-pounder just before dark last Wednesday evening, and fought it to the edge of the boat.  Here’s how things turned out.

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