Rodriguez pulls in a stingray while running jug lines at Lake Fausse Pointe

This stingray estimated to weigh 6 pounds was caught on a jugline Oct. 16 in Lake Fausse Pointe by Mike Roriguez of St. Martinville. The jugline was baited with cut shad.

When Mike Rodriguez ran his jug lines Oct. 16 on the Jeanerette side of Lake Fausse Pointe, he got his hands on four catfish and another fish.

Rodriguez recognized that other fish soon after he pried it from the bottom it was hugging. He was shocked he was pulling in a sizeable stingray far, far away from its normal environment in saltwater.

The St. Martinville outdoorsman who has been hunting and fishing since boyhood in the Teche Area unhooked it with care over the side of his small skiff powered by a mud motor. It flapped away into the depths as stingrays do. But not before he snapped a photo of his first stingray ever in Lake Fausse Pointe.

“I figured my buddies wouldn’t believe me,” Rodriguez said a few days after the improbable catch in a freshwater lake.

Rodriguez, 57, who has caught plenty of stingrays in and around Vermilion Bay, said fishing with jug lines is probably his favorite of all the hunting and fishing activities he has done since his boyhood days. He put out approximately 20 jug lines baited with cut shad late in the afternoon the day before and returned to his camp along Bird Island Chute.

“I went back Saturday morning to check them and I had a stingray, a little different for the lake,” he said in an understatement. “I’ve caught eels … but did not expect a stingray. I didn’t think they came this far up.”

The stingray weighed approximately 6 pounds, he said. He removed the jug line’s hook with long pliers, safely avoiding the dangerous barbed tail on the business end of the fish related to the shark family.

He was running the jug lines at midmorning near Calvin’s Cove, he said. The four catfish became 3 ½ pounds of filets when he cleaned them later.

Rodriguez, a safety manager for Turner Industries, said, “I’ve always enjoyed running jug lines and hanging out at the camp. Normally, the winter time is when you catch those big cats.

“It’s hit and miss. When the crabs start running, you’ve got to keep up with them (because crabs pick the cut bait on hooks clean.”

His heaviest catfish to date on a jug line weighed 20 pounds.

Rodriguez’ biggest stingray in a freshwater lake to date is a 6-pound class fish. At first, he thought it was a big catfish.

“I was a little surprised. You know stingrays. They’re flat and hug the bottom,” he said.

There have been a few reports of flounder caught in the lake over the past 4 ½ decades. Rodriguez’ catch is the first report of a stingray.

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