Slingbow fisherman kills enormous ray near Swansboro

Dale Collins and Tony Reaves teamed up to kill this 97.8-pound southern ray with a slingbow.

Slingbow shot led to 45-minute fight

Tony Reaves of South Boston, Va., used one of his company’s slingbows, to take an enormous southern ray last Friday near Swansboro, N.C.

Reaves, who is a parter in Chief AJ’s, an Illinois company that manufacturers slingbows — think of an old wrist-rocket slingshot on steroids, shooting arrows — boated a 97.8-pound ray while bowfishing with guide Dale Collins of Fish or Die Charters.

“Dale and I had talked about trying to kill one that would weigh 100 pounds. And he had done a lot of scouting,” Reaves said. “We had already had a very good day, and about 11:30, we saw this ray. We both thought he was a monster.”

Reaves, whose previous biggest ray was a 67.2-pound fish, let fly with an arrow from his slingbow, tipped with a fishing point, at a range of 5 yards, hitting the ray squarely.

Then, the fun began. For 45 minutes.

“He really pulled us around,” said Reaves, who had a reel on his slingbow that kept him attached to the ray. 

Reaves and Collins eventually subdued the ray and got it on board. They took it to nearby Neuse River Sporting Goods to get an official weight.

The North Carolina Bowhunters Association’s website lists a 140-pound ray taken by Joshua Hether in 2012 in Bogue Sound as its state record. NCBA does not recognize slingbows among its approved records.

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission allows slingbows having a minimum pull of 40 pounds to be used during legal hunting seasons to take wild turkeys, small-game animals and non-game animals.

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About Dan Kibler 886 Articles
Dan Kibler is the former managing editor of Carolina Sportsman Magazine. If every fish were a redfish and every big-game animal a wild turkey, he wouldn’t ever complain. His writing and photography skills have earned him numerous awards throughout his career.

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