The ongoing 'Trophy Fishery' concept that has been running for a number of years now in St Georges Basin, Tuross Lake and Lake Macquarie is revealing some interesting stats about one of our most popular estuary sportfish, the mighty dusky flathead.
Heads up that the myth that flathead change their sex has recently been debunked as it is simply that the males stop growing at around 50cm whereas the females can exceed the magic metre length.
In excess of 150 "trophy-sized" flatties that are all confirmed as prime quality breeding age/size females, have been tagged so far. Most fish (about 90) have come from the Basin with an average size of 79cm so far across all three Trophy Fisheries with an average weight of 3.7 kilos.
The largest, still standing, was a massive 97.5cm croc tagged and released by Basin flathead legend Dave Johnstone. Seven recaptures have been reported from the Basin with one from Lake Macquarie.
Lake Macquarie only recently became a Trophy Flathead fishery but a dedicated team of local taggers has already tagged 34 fish - including a 90cm cracker.
The first Lake Mac recapture involved a 72cm tagged fish recaptured (and re-released) by local angler Nathan De Bono on December 31, 2017. That fish was originally caught by Corey Reid just over a month previously on November 28, 2017.
Another three Lake Mac trophy flatties have so far been tagged by a crew of keen kayak taggers.
However, the Tuross guys have had a tough season so far and more so with the recent devastating bushfires, compounded even more recently with the torrential rains causing runoff pollution with ash and debris.
DPI has installed signs advising anglers of what to do if they recapture a tagged flathead. They are located at boat ramps around each of the three Trophy Fisheries.
Information brochures for each of the Trophy Fisheries have also been produced and are available at local tackle shops and DPI offices.
The Trophy Fishery concept is a great example of an angler-led initiative designed to protect and enhance fishing opportunities via proactive management initiatives.