THREE dusky flathead tagged in Lake Macquarie under NSW DPI’s Trophy Flathead Program have been recaptured, providing yet more interesting info about this highly popular estuary sportfish.
First off, a 76.2 cm flattie tagged on May 6, 2019, at Wangi Point by Graham Anderson was recaptured 73 days later in the same location on July 18, 2019 by Lachlan Peacock.
Graham initially caught the fish on a bait and released it after cutting the hook off as close as possible to the fish’s mouth. Lachlan recaptured it on a soft vibe lure and measured it at 78 cm before re-releasing it.
The next two fish recorded much greater periods at liberty before being recaptured.
A 69 cm fish caught by lake Macquarie tagging master Steve Norris on 25 January, 2018, at Pulbah Island was recaptured in the same location 546 days later on June 25, 2019, by angler Peter Lawrence. The fish grew to 76 cm and was re-released.
A 76 cm flathead tagged by Dan Guilfoyle at Bolton Point was recaptured in the same location 407 days later by James Shaw. The fish again measured in at 76 cm before James re-released it. Interestingly, this fish was bleeding heavily when initially tagged and released.
Well done to Graham, Steve and Dan for tagging these fish and to Lachlan, Peter and James for re-releasing them!
The information gained from the recapture of these tagged fish supports research that indicates dusky flathead are very resilient to catch-and-release and are an excellent catch-and-release target species, provided they are handled properly.
Furthermore, these recaptures confirm generally accepted knowledge for the species in terms of their movements. While duskies are capable of long distance movements, they are a relatively sedentary species and generally remain within a “home” estuary for long periods.
Click HERE for more info on fish tagging programs.