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left out of bear creek 6am saw 3 rays before I got to the patapso saw 8 more on my way to the baltimore lighthouse never seen that many before, whats changed
 

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left out of bear creek 6am saw 3 rays before I got to the patapso saw 8 more on my way to the baltimore lighthouse never seen that many before, whats changed
Nothing has changed. There are no predators and their population just keeps multiplying year after year. You saw 11 rays. I saw hunderds of rays in the South River last week. It;s a problem..........Gary
 

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As Gary stated - the sharks that fed on Rays have been decimated to about 10% of their population. Large inshore sharks were the main predator of rays.

The rays are increasing roughly at a 10% per year rate but it is exponentially - roughly doubling every 7-8 years.

As the ray population increases - so will their range. They are bad news for shellfish beds and small crabs. Rays do not have teeth but have crushing plates inside their mouth. Oysters , clams and crabs are sucked in and crushed. The meat is swallowed - shell spit out.

The one good side - cownose rays only give birth to one at a time and are slow to mature. This means control methods would yield fast results.

I hate to kill things with no plan to eat them but rays get a one way trip when I hook them.
 

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Saw a show on the tube last night about the ocean. Cow nose rays come from as far away as Brazil and migrate north every year. They travel in enormous schools.
 

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Yup. Was down at crisfield years ago. Rented a small Jon boat. Went in to one back Bay Area and I swear you could've walked on the suckers from one side to the other. And that was 5 or 6 years ago.
 

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Is it true that if you buy "bay" scallops they are actually circle chunks of ray wings? Bay vs Ocean scallops. Bay is a lot cheaper than ocean at the seafood markets.
 

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Is it true that if you buy "bay" scallops they are actually circle chunks of ray wings? Bay vs Ocean scallops. Bay is a lot cheaper than ocean at the seafood markets.
NO. definitely not. Bay scallops are very tasty and tender. Some people eat skate wings but they are still tough. I have heard of a few eating rays but I tried years ago and it was awful..............Gary
 

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Not to get back on topic or anything, but what is killing the sharks? Pound nets like how the two big bull sharks were caught near point lookout a few years back?
 

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Dave - Very few sharks come into the Md part of the bay. 1-3 Bull sharks are captured just about every year in Md waters but the real trouble for sharks came from long liners a few miles off the coast.

A new market opened for shark fins - the fins are used to make a soup. A few long liners from Fla. set up along the Va. coast line and really whacked the sharks for about 5 years. The catch fell off so much they no longer come up here - but long term damage was done.

Sadly - the long liners would slice the fins off the shark and toss the body back into the ocean. The fins brought a large amount of cash but the meat was not worth anything. One reason there had always been a lot of sharks.

So now nature is out of balance - few sharks means plenty of rays.

Funny but there is good story in tonight's Md Gazette.

Fishing the Little Choptank River shoreline, my intention this week was to compare several soft-plastic lures. But that's tabled because our sample size was too small. So on that languid angling excursion the conversation zigzagged; it included a brief inventory of the odd things we've eaten or drank. I was shocked to learn that my fishing companion, who traps muskrat and crabs to put additional food on his table and supplement his walking around money, had never eaten cownose ray.
Many people around here erroneously call these summer visitors skates, though doubleheads is a more accurate and common moniker. Cownose have been around forever. More than four centuries ago explorer Capt. John Smith was stabbed in the shoulder by a ray's poisonous barb, and so great was Smith's agony supposedly his crew believed their skipper on the verge of death. But Smith bounced back and had the last laugh, eating his attacker for dinner. Stingray Point, located off Deltaville, Virginia, stands in lasting memorial to Smith's encounter.
lRelatedOTHER SPORTSHanover's Christen Wagner, Baltimore Anthem brace for inaugural year in National Pro Grid LeagueSEE ALL RELATED

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Back to modern day, anyone who's spent even a single summer day on the bay's shallow waters has encountered the armada of rays. Chuck a lure in the Severn or South rivers, Eastern Bay or the Chester and you can't help snagging a wing. Some pros guide bow hunters for them, and other sportsmen hunt them on their own. In fact, when we returned to the Dorchester County ramp that evening, a young couple waiting for us to load the boat told me they shot seven rays that evening.
In the 2000s, bay oyster restoration efforts and clam and oyster aquaculture operations were under siege by the rays. So much so Virginia developed a fishery management plan and spent a fair amount of money and energy trying to convince people as far away as Korea to eat them.
Outdoors: It takes two for 286-pound swordfish

I'm told Steve Vilnit, the former Department of Natural Resources Fisheries marketing director who recently resigned (another big loss, by the way), didn't try and market rays. I assume he paid heed to Virginia's well-meaning but futile efforts. So I called Mike Hutt with the Virginia Marine Products Board to get the skinny. Hutt says they've tried unsuccessfully for many years to get U.S., Asia and European seafood markets to buy them. In fact, this spring he attended a seafood show in Brussels, where he convinced a German fishmonger to try and sell some.
So why don't more people like eating cownose rays? Hutt admits the winged fish have been a "hard sell," mainly because the color and texture of the meat is more like pork or flank steak without the taste. Yet, like most fish rays are high in protein, have no fat and are rich in Omega 3s. If the fillets were white like skate, he thinks the foreign and domestic markets would open their palates wide.
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I've filleted a ray once years back, though I can't say I prepared it properly or filleted it with any precision. To be blunt, a foray by Attilla the Hun probably had less collateral damage. Done right, Hutt says, the 2-4-inch-thick fillets that can be cut from a triangle-shaped piece of meat where wings attach to the body are pretty good. Maryland DNR biologist Keith Lockwood, always a wealth of good information, sent me a recipe he found on the state's seafood marketing site (seafood.maryland.gov) for pan-seared rays with tomatoes, peppers, red-onions. On Virginia seafood's website (virginiaseafood.org) there are lots of recipes to spice up what they call Chesapeake rays.
Nuance or not, cownose rays are part of the bay ecosystem. Research suggests the increase in their numbers may be linked to a decline in the inshore shark population; species such as sand tiger and bull sharks love to eat rays. Hutt tells me that four million pounds of cownose rays could be caught and not impact the population.


However, because cownose rays are slow to mature - females don't reproduce until they are 7 or 8 years old, and only deliver just one live pup per year - scientists say we need to develop a better understanding of cownose rays before launching a full-scale fishery.
As for me, I have some peppers and tomatoes growing in my garden that'll round into shape in another month, the perfect companions for a marinated, grilled ray fillet. That is, if I raise my "hassle tolerance" level to complete the task of filleting the winged beast. If I do, I'll let you know how they taste.
 

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Skip - how do you safely kill them? Yesterday I managed to drag one to the boat with 2 of my parachutes stuck in its wing. Pulled the first parachute loose while holding the leader of the other one, and then cut the skin to free the 2nd lure and away he went and I had my 2 lures.
 

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I was fishing the drop off at Love Point at the mouth of the Chester on Monday. Good marks in 25 feet of water and hooked up a ray
every cast. My Uncle from Pittsburgh was having a blast until his arm wore out. BKD's, 4 inch curly tail grubs.

They were all over the place at Podickery Point yesterday.
 

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Skip - how do you safely kill them? Yesterday I managed to drag one to the boat with 2 of my parachutes stuck in its wing. Pulled the first parachute loose while holding the leader of the other one, and then cut the skin to free the 2nd lure and away he went and I had my 2 lures.
Put a knife right between their eyes. We were fishing at CBBT for cobia and hooked many rays. Reel to boat, stab them between the eyes and cut the line. Bring lots of hooks!........ Gary
 

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Bow hunting rays is becoming popular here on the shore. I know a couple people who are averaging 10-12 an evening. I saw a lady on the front of a jon boat sunday riding around looking for rays with a bow in hand.
 
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