What to do if you catch a dangerous ray​

If you want to maximise your enjoyment of recreational fishing, it’s vital you know what to do when you catch a dangerous ray. Smooth rays and other dangerous rays have a venomous barb in their tail so you need to know how to handle them to avoid injury to yourself and the fish. This video explains best practice guidelines for fishers who plan to keep or release dangerous rays.

Key takeaways:

  • Assume the ray is dangerous unless you are sure otherwise.

  • Don’t get within reach of the tail as the tail barbs might injure you.

  • Decide in advance if you are going to keep or release any rays you catch.

  • If releasing:

    • Don’t extend the fight time. Often large rays will sit on the bottom followed by runs. When they start moving, that’s your chance to minimise the fight time.

    • Keep the ray in the water and if you’re not confident, cut the line.

  • If releasing and unable to keep in the water:

    • Lift the ray by the spiracles.

    • Keep a safe distance from the tail.

    • Do not cut the tail or barb.

    • Return to the water gently as quickly as possible (within 2 minutes).

  • If keeping, land the catch as quickly and safely as possible then humanely dispatch.

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