Back in college, I spent one spring break in Aruba and took a rod along. One morning I got up early to fish a little park connected to the resort. I spent the first hour hanging lures in the coral and catching nothing, but on the way back, I crossed a canal and spotted the biggest barracuda I’d ever seen. So I pitched a Zoom Fluke in front of it and started twitching. Right around twitch three, the ‘cuda turned and began tracking the lure. That’s when a small group of people came up the trail led by a tour guide. “As we cross the bridge, look to your left and you’ll see Charlie, our resident barracuda,” she said.
Charlie pounced the lure, and there I was holding a bucking rod not knowing what to do. Luckily, Charlie quickly severed the line and spit the Fluke. I reeled in, ran past the group, found an open bar, and didn’t fish again the rest of the trip. My attempt to hook Charlie was in pure innocence, and the worst thing that came of it was my embarrassment. The same can’t be said of Stumpy the stingray.
According to this Perth Now story, Stumpy was a long-time resident of Australia’s Hamelin Bay, a popular tourist destination for stingray petting. Not long ago two young fishermen speared Stumpy and de-winged the massive ray much to the horror of onlookers. Thing is, Hamelin Bay is open to recreational fishing and spearing, and stingrays, despite their reps as tourist attractors, are not protected from fishing in any way. Some local residents are calling for the anglers’ blood. If the spearfishermen knew that these stingrays were local “pets,” this was in pretty bad taste. If they didn’t, well, what can you say? No laws were broken.