Tagged trophy flathead recaptured after nearly 2.5 years

Angler Eliot Eagle with the 93.5 cm fish when it was first tagged and released in December 2016.

ANGLER Eliot Eagle, fishing with local guide Greg Reid, was lucky enough to land a croc-sized dusky flathead on December 12, 2016, in St Georges Basin, on the NSW South Coast.

The 93.5 cm fish was tagged as part of NSW DPI Fisherie’s Trophy Flathead Program before being released.

Fast forward 862 days to April 23, 2019, and angler Kingsley Ireland recaptured the fish in the Sussex Inlet canal system, some 6 km from the original capture site.

The fish had grown to 95 cm and was re-released in excellent condition with the original tag still in place.

Well done Eliot, Greg and Kingsley!

It’s interesting to note that the fish looks quite thin in the initial capture image in December 2016 and pretty “chunky” in the recapture image from this April. This is possibly due to the fish being in post-spawn condition when it was first tagged.

The Trophy Flathead Program has been running since 2016 in St Georges Basin, Tuross and more recently Lake Macquarie. The program uses small teams of local anglers who tag fish to provide data on growth rates, movements and survival of these fish and also help us get a better understanding of how many times these “trophy-sized” flathead are caught and recaptured in these Recreational Fishing Havens.

To date, a total of 430 flathead measuring 70 cm and over have been tagged and released across the three systems. We’ve received 25 confirmed recaptures with a number of unconfirmed reports.

Stay tuned for more info on interesting recaptures from DPI’s tagging programs!

Kingsley Ireland recaptured the fish this April. You’ll note it looks “chunkier” in this picture, possibly because the fish was in post-spawn condition when initially tagged in December 2016. It was Kingsley’s PB flattie and was taken on a “wasabi” coloured Squidgy Wriggler. It was re-released in “excellent” condition.

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