What You Should Know About the Giant Stingrays and Sharks Seen at South Padre Island

Local News

“We catch sharks every week, especially right now during October it’s the best time to fish, it’s when you see the most action in the water,” said Paul Odabashian, a shark fisherman. 

“Some people are like, of course there’s sharks, but they don’t think they’re in ankle deep water, sometimes they are. Sometimes I go 500 yards in my kayak and drop a bait and then when I come in 50 yards from shore, I see a hammer fin that’s taller than I am sitting down and then I wondered why I kayaked out,” he said. 

Some of the shark species that call the Gulf of Mexico their home are blacktips, bull sharks, lemon sharks, white sharks, tiger sharks, bonnetheads and great hammerheads who can grow to be more than fifteen feet long.

“We do have a lot of sharks in South Texas and the Gulf of Mexico, and they get very large and we have a lot of different species of sharks,” said Richard Moore, professional wildlife photographer. 

“I’ve caught sharks on every inch of our island,” Odabashian said. 

But sharks are not the only large sea creatures beach lovers should look out for. 

“If you get hit by a stingray you’ll be up in the hospital every day for a year getting wound care,” Odabashian said. 

There are major ray species in Texas bays are the Atlantic Stingray, the Lesser Electric Ray, the Spotted Eagle Ray and the Cownose.

Although stingrays do not attack people, they may give a painful sting if stepped on. 

Shuffling feet can frighten the rays away and help beach goers avoid getting stung.

However, the large ocean animals don’t just incite fear in people, but curiosity, and appreciation for the important role they play in the Rio Grande Valley.

“If you go far enough off sure you can see whales, so those will be the biggest creatures of all,” Moore said. 

“Without them there would be a collapse in the whole ecosystem,” Odabashian said. 

According to the Shark Attack Database, there have been less than 70 confirmed shark attacks in the Texas coast in the past 150 years. 
 
 

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