Lake Macquarie flathead caught four times in two years!

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Dan Guilfoyle with the tagged flattie.

IN November 2019, NSW DPI reported a quirky Lake Macquarie dusky flathead recapture whereby angler Dan Guilfoyle recaptured a fish that he had originally tagged three months earlier for DPI's Lake Macquarie Flathead Tagging Program. In an interesting turn of events, Guilfoyle again recaptured the same fish.

Including the initial tag and release of the fish, this means the fish has now been caught an incredible four times within two years. The details of each recapture feature below:

  • Tagged & released by Dan Guilfoyle on 17 July 2019.
  • Recaptured and re-released by Dan Guilfoyle on 14 October 2019.
  • Recaptured and re-released by Stephen Ireland on 13 April 2020.
  • Recapture and re-released by Dan Guilfoyle on 08 June 2021.

Overall, the flathead has spent 693 days at liberty and grown 2cm in length. Interestingly, the fish was recaptured within 500m of the original release point. DPI says this shows that mature dusky flathead display a degree of "philopatry", which is when an animal has a tendency to stay in an area or habitually return to the same location.

NSW Fisheries says flathead recaptures continue to reinforce that the species is resilient and well suited to catch and release fishing. Provided they are handled with care and released quickly, flathead can continue to contribute to the fishery.

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