UK shores are awash with stingrays


by Aidan Bordiuk |
Published on

A stingray is not often a fish many anglers associate with the UK, as the name often conjures up images of tropical beaches and golden sand, but these fish have been on our shores for decades, with numbers seemingly increasing year after year.

Many anglers, particularly on the South coast, have been targeting the fish with great success, catching some very impressive specimens too. As the water warms up from May until September, the fish visit shallow, muddy bays, beaches and estuaries in search of food and that is the best time to catch them. If you are after a new challenge in your angling to fish for a completely different species, this might be the target you've been looking for.

Stingrays are popping up all over the UK and you can catch them.
Stingrays are popping up all over the UK and you can catch them.

Liam Timothy caught this impressive stingray whilst fishing in the Solent area of the UK. Using ragworm and a simple pulley rig, he was rewarded on his very first session for the species.

"I got down to the mark with the intention of catching my first stingray. Having done some research on tides and location, I felt really hopeful one might turn up," Liam said.

"Armed with plenty of ragworm, the rods hadn't been in the water too long before I received a really positive bite."

"I actually couldn't believe it when I saw the stingray come up onto the shingle. It was an amazing fish like nothing else I have caught before."

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Liam with his first ever 'stinger'
Liam with his first ever stingray.

There are some really large fish to be caught too, as Shane Merrick proved when a recent trip led to the capture of this 41lb stinger whilst fishing a mark in the West Sussex area. Tactics-wise, Shane would normally use ragworm, but in this instance, a simple squid wrap sufficed.

"I actually caught that one on anchovy and squid wrap instead of the ragworm this time. I usually use up and over pulleys, but that one came on the dongle rig with size 4/0s," Shane told us.

"This fish has literally been on my mind for 2 years now, so to finally join the club has lifted a massive weight off my shoulders."

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Shane Merrick with his impressive 40lb fish.
Shane Merrick with his impressive 40lb fish.

Another superb fish was landed by angler Daryl Garrett, who was targeting the species for the first time this year. He managed to catch not one but two stingrays, with this fantastic fish being the best of the brace. Like many others who target stingray, Daryl opted to use a large ragworm bait, tipped off with prawns to tempt the specimen.

"I enjoy catching rays of all species but particularly love getting out when it is warm to target the stingrays."

"This was my first session of the year. Conditions looked great so I headed to a mark I know well and it produced two brilliant fish, making it a great start to this years campaign."

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Daryl with his first stingray of the year!
Daryl with his first stingray of the year!

Leslie Crawford banked a brace of stingrays back in May, catching a total of five fish in just one session proving that there are a few fish to go at on UK shores. The fish were caught from the Solent area, again on ragworm baits with the biggest of the haul being a 10lb stingray.

"I use long pulley rigs or up and over rigs and find ragworm baits are best but they do also take mackerel," Leslie told us.

"You will catch them over loads of different grounds, but clay and sand seem to be better and it’s worth having a walk at low tide because you can find prints in the ground where they have been sat/laying."

"Obviously it goes without saying, be extremely careful when handling them and if you're going to weigh them then use a sling! If it’s hot, have a bucket of water near by to keep pouring over the fish while it’s out the water."

With so many smaller fish around, it bodes well for the future of this type of angling and there has never been a better time to get out and try to catch yourself one.

Les with part of his five stingray haul.
Les with part of his five stingray haul.
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