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I usually use my long handle hook remover (needle nose with the trigger grip).. I pick them up by the nose and toss them back in the water. Be careful of the skin its rough and can tear you skin up ..

getting them on their backs then removing the hook is basic. they look worse than they really are. But not catching them is the first step :)
 

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Depends if you're talking about a skate or a ray (two completely different fish) A skate is USUALLY not much bigger than a hubcap and don't sting you but are very spiny....Those I just grab by the tail (hence the gloves) and flip them. rays are a little different. You do have a venomous (and boy do they hurt) spine on the tail you have to keep an eye on. Not to mention (and I'll stick with the car analogy) instead of being hubcap size they can be car hood sized. When I catch a large ray, I (with the gloves) grab a wing and pull him back towards the other wing tip which will roll him over. Needle nose will pull the hook out and then I will grab him the safest way possible (depends on the size) and drag him back to the water.
 

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How many people do you see that just cuts the line and lets the thing go.
 

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If it's a big ray I would just try to break him off. I doubt I could land him anyway. If it's a small skate (dinner plate sizeish) then I pull him up and flip him over, step on the tail (wear shoes), unhook him, grab him by the barb and tail, hold tight, and drop back in the water.
If I'm surf fishing I cuss him a little then kinda flip him back into the water with a sand spike or something. I don't care to get in the water with them and that whippy tail.
 

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hello everybody! i have caught more than my share of these damn things. the smaller ones [skates] i will flip over and use either needle nose or sume type of dehooker to remove the hook.the first one i catch i usually use the white underside for bait:):)the larger rays if you can get them in pin the tail with your shoe while upside down and use pliers or dehooker to remove the hook. last year i landed a 60# cow nose ray ata ramp on kent isl. i had to gaff it to bring it up.i removed the wings and skined both sides also had to remove carilage in the middle. that was a lot of trouble but it tasted pretty good sauted in a tomato/basil sauce.i will not do it again though too much trouble to clean.:D
 

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Oh, whatever you do...Don't be cruel like I've seen people on piers...DON'T break off the stinger on the tail of a ray. That is their defense mechanism...I've seen people do that and it irritates me......you may as well kill them on the pier....
 

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with clearnose skates you just dehook with pliers and pick them up between thumb and forfinger right on the tip of the nose (clear part) and carry them back out to sea.

With small rays you just flip them over and dehook and be very cautious of the spine. Now this might not be the best way, but here is how I release them. I pick them 1/2 up by there nose and drag them straight out into the water making sure to keep its weight resting on its spine. I walk backwards looking over my shoulder to time the breakers. When I get in water deep enough I kinda use centripetal force and an out going current to twist it around and set it free, then run like H E double hockey sticks back to the shore.

With big rays I always intentionally break them off before I beach them. They are monster to even flip over to get the hook out let alone dragging it back into the drink. If you have two or three people you can safely carry it by the wings (one on each side) and one at the mouth. When releasing it people holding the wings go straight away from the ray (not towards the beach) think parallel to the beach and then come back in after moving 5 or so feet down the beach and away from the ray. Again, I don't bring the big ones in, but some of the people I fish with like to take pics and show any of the kids that are around, so I have helped with a few releases of big rays.
 

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Bay/Ocean=Skates, I typically remove the hook with my hands and carry it back by the tip top of the tail. If it is hooked real good, pliers. If it dancing, step on the tail with shoes on.

Bay=Cownose, land it, step on the tail, remove hook and drag back to the water by the "ear" holes or by pliers on the jaw if you can flip her over...watch that tail and the base of tail!

Ocean=Carhood rays, if it will take more than 20 minutes to land because I'm using 14-17# mono instead of braid(you'll know in the first minute of the fight how long you have) I bust them off near the hook NOT AT THE REEL...too much trouble on the beach for me and the ray. If I got all day, I'll try to land it and work the hook out...tricky for less than two guys but their tails are about 12" on the butterflys.
 

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This is a pet peeve of mine, so I've gotta' preach. This is a skate. Skates are not poisonous and only weigh a few pounds. They are never found in the upper bay, preferring instead to stick to the salty waters of the Atlantic.



This is a cownose ray. They flood the bay in the tens of thousands during the summer to spawn. They have neurotoxin in a small tail barb, can weigh upwards of 40 pounds, and put up a hell of a fight.



Anyway, you can move rays around by sticking your fingers in the holes on top of their head--they're called spiracles. Just watch the tail. You can watch Anthony do it around :55 in this video.
 
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