IN early May, Fisho had a piece on a new jewfish tagging program that's now underway and being coordinated by NSW DPI, in conjunction with ANSA NSW.
Fast forward several months and the program seem to be going from strength to strength as critical data is being obtained. The effort by the 50 dedicated taggers, Julian Hughes and colleagues from DPI and Stan Konstantaras and Chris Anagnostou from ANSA has been nothing short of tremendous.
The overwhelming response from the angling public has been incredible; daily jewfish enthusiasts are putting their hand up to help the program. Put simply, Stan and Chris don't have the resources to handle an immense number of anglers, and have had to keep the number of taggers capped. So for anyone who has voiced their help and was not given tags, don't take it the wrong way, there's a very good chance in the near future you may get involved if more resources are allocated to the program.
To date the stats have been quite impressive and DPI is eagerly awaiting what the future may bring in terms of recaptured data. So far there have been three recaptured tagged fish, all from separate locations Hawkesbury, Coffs Harbour and Botany/Georges River.
Possibly the most interesting data so far has been the Botany/Georges River fish that I personally tagged; Tagged: 18/3/2014 in Botany Bay at a length of 72cm; Recaptured: 4/7/2014 in Chipping Norton Lakes at a length of 74cm by Andrew Scalteri. The fish was at Liberty approximately 110 days and grew around 2cm and moved an amazing 30kms from its original tagging point. Just goes to show that the practices in place in Botany Bay can affect the whole system and vice versa - food for thought. It is also worth mentioning that Andrew re-released this fish in good health, top effort!
Chris Cleaver with a tagged Georges River jewie.
The Coffs Harbour region also had a re-capture of a fish that had been at liberty for 69 days. Paul Blade tagged a 71cm fish on the 9/3/2014 and it was recaptured 2km south on the 18/5/2014 by Geoff Kassulke and had grown 0.5cm.
The other recapture was in the Hawkesbury by Dan Selby and only brought minimal data as it was not at liberty for any significant time or had moved any great distance from the tagging location. Though on the contrary, I still reckon it is good to see it survived and returned to its normal feeding behaviour, showing any recapture is of significance.
Since its inception the program has stretched to approximately 150 tagged fish spread from Batemans Bay through Evans Head with five location break ups.
Percentage of caught fish per area:
- South Coast/Batemans - 4 per cent
- Sydney Metro - 63 per cent
- Coffs/Far North Coast - 24 per cent
- Wollongong - 4 per cent
- Central Coast/Newcastle - 5 per cent
So far in the tagging program, 91 per cent of fish have been captured on lures. The size range distribution to me tends to reflect the most common sizes encountered in estuaries by soft plastic fishos.
Size Range of fish/number tagged: (Size range in cm)
- Less than 60cm (7)
- 60-69cm (60)
- 70-79 (36)
- 80-89 (16)
- 90-99 (9)
- 100-109 (8)
- 110-119 (6)
- 120-129 (3)
- 130-139 (0)
- 140 – 149 (1)
- 150-159 (0)
- 160-169 (0)
Natalie Black posing with a nice jew prior to tag and release - her first for the program.
I have to express gratitude to all the anglers who are out there placing tags to help this program, notably George Armao with 31 with the vast majority land based - damn good effort! Also thanks to Dan Selby, Gavin Hackett, Andrew Skentzos who have all surpassed 10 tags. But with tags going in daily I’m sure many names will appear in the following update.
The aforementioned Dan Selby of Sydney Sport fishing charter fame predominantly guides on the mighty Hawkesbury River. He is offering the option for his clients to tag any caught jewfish on his charters. Recently, lucky angler Nathan Bradley landed a whopping 144cm on charter and elected to tag the fish making it the largest in the program so far.
Dan Selby and Nathan Bradley's 144cm monster tagged and released on the Hawkesbury.
Andrew Scalteri with a 74cm jewie he recaptured at Chipping Norton Lakes and released again.
Listed below are all the fish that have exceeded 100cm a respectable fish in anyone’s book.
- Dan Selby 144 cm Hawkesbury River
- Kris Hickson 129 cm Taree
- Dan Selby 126 cm Hawkesbury River
- Dan Selby 122.5 cm Hawkesbury River
- George Armao 119 cm Botany Bay
- Kieran Hill 118 cm Newcastle
- Dan Selby 115.5 cm Hawkesbury River
- Chris Cleaver 116 cm Botany Bay
- Dan Selby 115 cm Hawkesbury River
- Dan Selby 112 cm Hawkesbury River
- George Armao 108 cm Botany Bay
- Ray Smith 107 cm Batemans Bay
- Chris Cleaver 107 cm Botany Bay
- John Katetzis 105 cm Botany Bay
- Kieran Hill 103 cm Newcastle
- Dan Selby 102 cm Sydney Harbour
- Chris Cleaver 100 cm Botany Bay
- George Armao 100 cm Botany Bay
So if you are out there fishing and snare a jewfish keep an eye out for the Fisheries tag. If you do catch one please note down length, location and date - also it would be greatly appreciated if the fish could be re-released.
Any info regarding recaptures or the program please e-mail the following: Julian.Hughes@dpi.nsw.gov.au or Stan Konstantaras at email@example.com.