Bowfishing for rays has rapidly grown in popularity over the last decade. They are a unique target with a variety of sub-species that offer a challenge like no other. And pound for pound, they’ll fight harder than any fish you’ll ever shoot with a bow. Even the small ones fight like giants.
For that reason, a number of shooters have been in hot pursuit of a world record ray lately. In fact, the record has been set, and broken, a number of times over the years. The most recent record-breaking entry came in the last few weeks, raising the bar, yet again, for the bowfishing community.
Jeremy Gipe, of Pennsylvania, recently got the nod that the ray he shot with his bow was certified as the new world record butterfly ray.
He was fishing with Brossman Boys Bowfishing Guide Service in Delaware when he had the encounter with the monster ray.
How big was it?
The ray measured 7 feet 4⅛ inches long and weighed 222.5 pounds. It knocked off last year’s record (222.1pounds) caught by Nick Sampson in Maryland.
Butterfly rays are massive, but unlike other species, don’t have stingers and aren’t harmful to humans. They are the perfect target species for bowfishing on the east coast.
Gipe and the crew spotted the ray shortly before midnight while bowfishing in Delaware. Not realizing just how big the ray was, Gipe made a quick shot that found its mark. After 2 follow up shots from the Brossman brothers, the ray was anchored and brought to the boat.
“I actually felt nauseous,” says Gipe. “I couldn’t believe it when I realized how big it was.”
The team put the fish on ice for the night with plans to weigh it in the morning. When they finally put it to the tape and scales, the ray had nudged out the previous Bowfishing Association of America world record set by Nick Sampson in 2021.