Round Stingray Got Me!

Fishman Fishman

Well-known member
#1
After 40 plus years of pier fishing. Catching and releasing numerous types of rays without incident. It finally happened today at Seal Beach pier. While releasing a small round sting ray, I got stung on the outside of my right thumb. The pain lasted for about 3 hours. numbness, burning, swelling, stinging, throbbing. Pain also traveled to the tip of my index finger. Currently I have no pain, but the sting area feels like a bad burn with numbness. Crazy! Picture of the round sting ray that nailed me. Resized_20210708_072531_7272.jpeg Resized_20210708_074704_6675.jpeg

All in all it was a good fishing day. Caught and released the following: 5 thornback rays, 1 round stingray, 1 large rock crab, a 16" spotted sand bass, 1 yellowfin croaker, and a purple starfish!

Caught a few mackerel for bait. Mackerel bite was slow.
 

Red Fish

Well-known member
#5
Very nice spotted bass. I have only caught one actual round stingray and it was smaller than a round paper plate and jet black. I was at Pepper Park about a decade ago with one of PFIC's kid's tournaments. I didn't even know exactly what it was and I am glad the needle-like stinger I was able to barely avoid taking it off the hook and placing it back in the water. 3 hours?! I still believe the pain and infection is less than a bat ray as the round stingray I think has no barb to prevent the stinger from coming out after it stings you as does on bat rays.
 

Ken Jones

Administrator
Staff member
#12
By the way — from my article Round Stingray —

https://www.pierfishing.com/round-stingray/

Comments: Extreme caution should be taken when handling these stingrays; the best method is to grip the tail with a pair of pliers and flip the fish over to keep the fish on its back while removing the hook. If absolutely necessary, clip or cut the stinger off (it will grow back in about a month). They are then harmless. (Because the caudal spine is a modified dermal denticle, lacking innervation, the spine can be easily clipped without causing pain or injury to the ray—Johansson et al. 2004). But, Do NOT cut the whole tail off! Since these fish offer little in the way of food they should be returned to the water.

“Stingray Central” appears to be the beach in Seal Beach. One fourth to one third of the nation’s estimated 1,500 annual wounds from stingrays occur in Seal Beach. Reputedly the lifeguards at the beach even keep buckets filled with hot water to help people soak their wounds. It’s a little amazing when you think of it. The United States has 12,383 general coastline miles (88,633 tidal miles) yet the one-mile-long beach at Seal Beach accounts for one quarter to one third of the stingray wounds in the United States. Why Seal Beach? Apparently it’s a combination of the warm water from the nearby San Gabriel River and the fine silt on the bottom that the stingrays like. Apparently breakwaters tame the surf, which in turn prevents the waves from flushing away the silt.
 

Red Fish

Well-known member
#13
By the way — from my article Round Stingray —

https://www.pierfishing.com/round-stingray/

Comments: Extreme caution should be taken when handling these stingrays; the best method is to grip the tail with a pair of pliers and flip the fish over to keep the fish on its back while removing the hook. If absolutely necessary, clip or cut the stinger off (it will grow back in about a month). They are then harmless. (Because the caudal spine is a modified dermal denticle, lacking innervation, the spine can be easily clipped without causing pain or injury to the ray—Johansson et al. 2004). But, Do NOT cut the whole tail off! Since these fish offer little in the way of food they should be returned to the water.

“Stingray Central” appears to be the beach in Seal Beach. One fourth to one third of the nation’s estimated 1,500 annual wounds from stingrays occur in Seal Beach. Reputedly the lifeguards at the beach even keep buckets filled with hot water to help people soak their wounds. It’s a little amazing when you think of it. The United States has 12,383 general coastline miles (88,633 tidal miles) yet the one-mile-long beach at Seal Beach accounts for one quarter to one third of the stingray wounds in the United States. Why Seal Beach? Apparently it’s a combination of the warm water from the nearby San Gabriel River and the fine silt on the bottom that the stingrays like. Apparently breakwaters tame the surf, which in turn prevents the waves from flushing away the silt.
Ken, I am wondering if the stingray I caught at Pepper Park was in fact a round stingray? It was completely black with a skinny tail and a long white, needle-like stinger. I saw a video a couple years back on PFIC of someone handing one on a pier like Huntington and getting stung while handling it that looked spot on to the one I caught. Are there other small stingrays in Southern California other than the round stingray? BTW - I remember the 1 and only jet-black bat ray I caught in 2,000 that you and Glen identified as ocean-going (thus the coloration). Mine looked exactly like the picture below only jet-black with white spots. I guess it's the same round stingray. I remember the tail being more whip-like and I don't recall any rounding on the end of the tail.

stingray_round.png
 
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Ken Jones

Administrator
Staff member
#14
Robert there is the California Butterfly Ray which is fairly common and the Diamond Stingray which is fairly rare, but I think the fish you describe, especially given the area, is the round stingray. Some round stingray are so dark they are almost black. I have only caught one butterfly ray (Ocean Beach Pier, August 1991) and one diamond stingray (Coronado Ferry Landing Pier, July 2007).

California Butterfly Ray

Butterfly.Ray_Marina.Del.Rey_2016_Arcadian.jpg

California Butterfly Ray


Species: Gymnura marmorata (Cooper, 1864); from the Greek word gymnos (bare) and the Latin word marmoratus (marbled).

Alternate Names: stingray, butterfly stingray, eagle ray, diamond ray or butterfly ray. In Mexico it’s called raya mariposa de California. In Denmark it’s apparently called Californisk sommerfuglerokke; not sure why since it isn’t found in that country.

Identification: Butterfly (diamond) shape with the disk almost twice as wide as long. Tail short with a small sting at its base. Brown to gray above with darker and lighter mottling; white below.

Size: Width to 5 feet. Most caught from piers are 2-3 feet wide.

Range: Paita, Peru, and the Gulf of California, to Point Conception.

Habitat: Common in shallow bays and along sandy beaches. Recorded to a depth of 308 feet.

Piers: Most commonly caught at piers in the San Diego area. Best bets: Ferry Landing Pier (Coronado), Embarcadero Marina Park, Imperial Beach Pier, Ocean Beach Pier, Crystal Pier, and Oceanside Pier. (Quite a few show up in the scientific records as being taken from the Scripps Pier in La Jolla. First recorded there in 1945.)

Shoreline: An occasional catch by southern California surf fishermen.

Boats: An inshore species rarely taken from boats.

Bait and Tackle: Light to medium tackle is common; size 4-2/0 hooks with cut bait (anchovies or squid), ghost shrimp, clams and bloodworms all equally productive.

Food Value: Very good if cleaned quickly and kept chilled. The flesh is mild-flavored and the texture is firm. I caught a good-sized butterfly ray one day while fishing at the Ocean Beach Pier, put it on ice before returning north, and it turned out to be delicious when fried up three days later.
Comments: An incidental catch for most anglers; few anglers target them as a species. However, it is apparently a favorite ray for “eating” in Mexican waters with its white flesh considered superior to that of other rays.

Diamond Stingray

10-27-02ray01-4.jpg

This large beast was taken by the San Diego crew in 2006 (and I wish I could remember all the names)

SDCrew_2006.jpg

Diamond Stingray, Dasyatisvdipterura, found at least from Malibu south to Chili. Common from San Diego Bay south. Length to 78.7 inches, width to 48 inches; surf zone down to 355 feet.
 

Red Fish

Well-known member
#16
Thanks Ken, as you were at that kids derby when I caught it when Thomas Orozco was a wee lad. I am now very sure (after your replies) that is was a very black round stingray.
 

Red Fish

Well-known member
#17
Robert there is the California Butterfly Ray which is fairly common and the Diamond Stingray which is fairly rare, but I think the fish you describe, especially given the area, is the round stingray. Some round stingray are so dark they are almost black. I have only caught one butterfly ray (Ocean Beach Pier, August 1991) and one diamond stingray (Coronado Ferry Landing Pier, July 2007).

California Butterfly Ray

View attachment 2342

California Butterfly Ray


Species: Gymnura marmorata (Cooper, 1864); from the Greek word gymnos (bare) and the Latin word marmoratus (marbled).

Alternate Names: stingray, butterfly stingray, eagle ray, diamond ray or butterfly ray. In Mexico it’s called raya mariposa de California. In Denmark it’s apparently called Californisk sommerfuglerokke; not sure why since it isn’t found in that country.

Identification: Butterfly (diamond) shape with the disk almost twice as wide as long. Tail short with a small sting at its base. Brown to gray above with darker and lighter mottling; white below.

Size: Width to 5 feet. Most caught from piers are 2-3 feet wide.

Range: Paita, Peru, and the Gulf of California, to Point Conception.

Habitat: Common in shallow bays and along sandy beaches. Recorded to a depth of 308 feet.

Piers: Most commonly caught at piers in the San Diego area. Best bets: Ferry Landing Pier (Coronado), Embarcadero Marina Park, Imperial Beach Pier, Ocean Beach Pier, Crystal Pier, and Oceanside Pier. (Quite a few show up in the scientific records as being taken from the Scripps Pier in La Jolla. First recorded there in 1945.)

Shoreline: An occasional catch by southern California surf fishermen.

Boats: An inshore species rarely taken from boats.

Bait and Tackle: Light to medium tackle is common; size 4-2/0 hooks with cut bait (anchovies or squid), ghost shrimp, clams and bloodworms all equally productive.

Food Value: Very good if cleaned quickly and kept chilled. The flesh is mild-flavored and the texture is firm. I caught a good-sized butterfly ray one day while fishing at the Ocean Beach Pier, put it on ice before returning north, and it turned out to be delicious when fried up three days later.
Comments: An incidental catch for most anglers; few anglers target them as a species. However, it is apparently a favorite ray for “eating” in Mexican waters with its white flesh considered superior to that of other rays.

Diamond Stingray


This large beast was taken by the San Diego crew in 2006 (and I wish I could remember all the names)

View attachment 2344

Diamond Stingray, Dasyatisvdipterura, found at least from Malibu south to Chili. Common from San Diego Bay south. Length to 78.7 inches, width to 48 inches; surf zone down to 355 feet.
Man, I remember that SD Crew! The one on the far left, I believe GDude let him use his chalet in BC.
 

Red Fish

Well-known member
#18
I think you mentioned the Pacific Electric Ray, also called the Torpedo Ray but I believe those are more common off-shore in Southern California. Torpedo-californica-01.jpg
 

Ken Jones

Administrator
Staff member
#19
The only pier where we've received multiple reports on electric rays is the Ventura Pier, which is actually a good pier for a number of sharays.

Electric.Ray_Ventura_2002_1 copy.jpg

Electric.Ray_Ventura_2002_3.jpg

Electric.Ray_Ventura_2002_4.jpg
 

Ken Jones

Administrator
Staff member
#20
The San Diego Crew — that's SDBrian on the left and Arvin (a couple of different screen names) on the right. Rich Reano our webmaster used to fish with them quite often. I remember Brian, Arvin and I going to Rich's wedding and then afterward heading out to (I believe) the Ocean Beach Pier for some fishing.