I was bringing mine in when I heard Wes yelling "Jason!! I need to cut my line!!" I ran over and traded poles with him. The drag on his reel was screaming and the line was running out like mad. I tightened the drag slighly and the line slowed a bit. I told Wes it felt like a big stingray and that we should try to bring it in. He agread. I had pulled in my line just before I traded with Wes, and had a beautiful Skate with about an 18 inch wingspan. Wes unhooked the skate and tossed him back, while i continued to fight the stingray. The ray made another run and alli could do was stand there and watch the line run out. It slowed a bit and I began to try to muscle him in. It took every bit of my strength, the pole was flexed into a seemi-circle and i was sure the line would break, but it didn't. It felt like the ray was turning back my way so I reeled in ht e line as fast as possible. He tried to run out again and I held the drag. There was incredible tension on the line but it held, and then the ray breached the surface and we saw hiw. A beautiful southern ray with at least a 4 ft wingspan. The fight continued for about half an hour and I was pulled southward down the beach by the stingray. All the bathers cleared the water out in front as the ray fought up and the beach. I could see about a dozen people standing nearby watching, as I switched out the rod wirth Wes a few times during the fight.
Finally I pulled the ray into water about hip deep. He stuck to the bottom and wouldn't move, so I handed the pole to Wes and waded out. I got about 12ft from the stingray and grabbed the line with my hand and pulled, so I cold determine where his head, and more importantly his barb, were located. I couldnt see well, because of the surf. I tugged the line a bit, studying the water, then heard a sharp snap. The line broke!! I couldn't believe it. I stared at the end of the line, then at the water, where the weary ray appeared to fluttering out toward the deep. Suddenly, I heard a very loud "AAAWWWWWWWW" and I turned to see about 150 people standing on the beach, watching. I was focused so intently on the fight, that I hadn't noticed the crowd gathering. I shrugged my shoulders and threw up my hands, and got a rowdy ovation from the crowd! We were greated and cosoled by several friendly beachgoers, as we hiked back up the beach to our original spot. I love Jax beach, the people , both local and visitors and always very friendly.