Handling a skate

Discussion in 'Salt Water Fishing' started by MattShannon, Feb 28, 2007.

  1. MattShannon

    MattShannon New Member

    Messages:
    829
    State:
    WV
    I was told the 2 blades on the tail can cut like razors. I caught several last year and stepped on the tail while it was on it's back to get the hook out. Being a rookie at it, I then used my rod holer on the beach to push it back in the water and on the pier I used my cooler. I know a sting ray will spike ya, but what about a skate, will they cut you? How do you properly handle and release a skate? Can you hold the tail with a glove and not worry about getting sliced? Does anyone use their wings for cutbait?
     
  2. C_wernett

    C_wernett New Member

    Messages:
    693
    State:
    North Carolina
    What kind are you dealing with? We've got stingers, clearnose skates, butterfly skates, and cownose rays that we catch consistently here. Stingers of course, have that nasty barb covered spear, but are toothless and I've picked them up by the mouth(do not do with smaller rays as they can swing around on you I've learned). Clearnose are covered with small spines, pretty much all over and the safest way to handle them is picking them up by the tail with a set of pliers. I've only caught one butterfly skate and don't recall there being any sort of spines or barbs. Cownose are barbed like stingers.
     

  3. floundahman

    floundahman New Member

    Messages:
    564
    State:
    North Caro
    Matt, I've always stepped on their tails when handling them myself. The ones that I used to catch in MA had a series of small spines along their tails that could rip you up pretty good. I didn't release many though, they are great eating fish. As a matter of fact fisherman used to punch out the wings with tools like leather punches, and sell them as scallops. They're delicious. JMO
     
  4. savage308

    savage308 New Member

    Messages:
    399
    State:
    Victoria, Texas
    I'm not too sure about skate's. But I am real familiar with stingrays, having lived and fished on the gulf of mexico for many years. We always cut the barb at the end of the tail off with a knife. I would definately not recommend stepping on the tail!!!! Pin the tail down with a rod-net handle- anything that is available and cut the barb off. (it will regrow another in due time)

    A stingray's barb will not cut you... 98% of the time it will break the barb off inside your foot/leg. When that happens it injects venom/poison into your leg and you will have not experienced pain such as that in your entire life. It does require a trip to the emergency room to be removed and it takes several weeks to heal up. That is the easiest scenario. If you find out your alergic to the venom/poison, your looking at a long hospital stay.

    But that is on stingrays, i'd treat skates just as carefully to be on the safe side.
     
  5. MattShannon

    MattShannon New Member

    Messages:
    829
    State:
    WV
    I caught big rays on a charter once and the mate showed me to hold it over and up against the outside of the boat by the nose holes. When I caught my skates, which at first I thought they were rays, I didn't have a mate around to help. I caught a bunch of skates in Nags Head, NC and told a guy I caught a bunch of rays and he corrected me and told me the difference. He said the skates won't spike you, they'll slice you. I asked him how to handle them, and he said, "Couldn't tell ya, I don't fish." The rays I caught were more of a black color and the skates were brown.
     
  6. surfchunker

    surfchunker New Member

    Messages:
    41
    State:
    maryland
    the spine can still get you with heavy gloves ... A guy showed me last summer to pick them up through thier noses ... finger in each hole and pitch them like a six pack ... but that only works on small ones ...
     
  7. sharkn1979

    sharkn1979 New Member

    Messages:
    118
    State:
    georgia
    i have caught probably upward to 2000 of them and have never been cut by one. i have been stuck with there barbs twice and it not real fun either. i have handled them from as big as my hand to over 500 # rays and skates
     
  8. MattShannon

    MattShannon New Member

    Messages:
    829
    State:
    WV
    I did a little searching on the net and found that not only can they cut you with there tail, some of the males have thorns on their wings that can get you too. I also read that their mouth can crush a human hand. Don't see why anyone would put their hand down it's throat, but I'm sure someone has tried it. Also learned that many people mistake them for rays as I once did.
     
  9. kdm75

    kdm75 New Member

    Messages:
    29
    State:
    north carolina
    Afew years ago while fishing at the ocean i thats all i was catching was skates mabe 8 to 12 inches in diamiater I held all of them by the tall just to flip them on there back seemed to work good for me
     
  10. sharkn1979

    sharkn1979 New Member

    Messages:
    118
    State:
    georgia
    i dont know where you got your information at off of the net but all skates in the southern u.s. dont have spikes on there wings but they do have small spines that go along the top of its tall that are ruff to the touch but will not hurt you. as far as there mouths that is just a myth dont get me wrong they do have a strong bite but not enough to break any bone. i have run across a few electric rays that will make you hurt yourself but it is rare to run across them though.
     
  11. jstall

    jstall New Member

    Messages:
    196
    State:
    Gary Texas
    I know one thing for sure, they are good eating. Cut the tail off, skin the wings, remove the cartilage and cook.
    Good fishing
    Joe
     
  12. poisonpits

    poisonpits Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    9,789
    State:
    arkansas
    Name:
    johnnie
    i use the nose holes on the big stingrats and eat or use the the thing for shark bait.small stingrays i pull up on beach remove stinger and release.if going off shore fishing use them,up to 14 inches live for groupers.