Adventure Location: Rockport, TX
Still a very bland day except for one nice moment at the pier. The OFM is not big on wasting fishing resources. If you aren’t going to eat it then put it back in the water in good shape. Do not kill things just because you don’t like them.
A nice fellow fishing at the end of the pier hooked a good sized critter and fought it for about ten minutes before bring it onto the pier surface. It was a sting ray. He wanted to make certain the ray was released with no serious damage but had never handled on before. The OFM has handled them for years safely. So the Ray Handling Team went to work to keep the ray and the fisherman safe.
Sting rays are very docile critters in general and do a lot of good with their diet of dead critters. They are the great cleaning crew for the dead things on the ocean bottom. However that does not mean they are defenseless. On their tail is a nasty venomous spike with jagged edges and a lot of strength. You can read all about them here stingray .
When they have to defend themselves the spike is whipped up over its back to stab whatever is hurting the ray. The OFM has actually in person seen a small ray drive its spike through a 3/8“ thick plywood boat hull. That is serious power. It can puncture a human bone. Here is a picture of the 4 inch spike in the down position.
They are not aggressive in general but have no hesitation to defend themselves. This next picture is the underside of the ray showing its mouth and gill openings.
They are beautiful when “flying” in the water. Hooking one generally means a substantial fight before landing it. The wings are considered good eating by many folks but the OFM has not knowingly tried them yet.
When it was all over the ray waved a wing goodbye to us as it swam on toward its goal for the day. It was nice to see an all around good ending to the event. All parties to the event went away happy.