By Craig Edmonds of Jim’s Bait and Tackle, San Remo

DURING the week, I had a customer tell me they were fishing up north, caught a fish and could see a piece of plastic sticking out its back.
Once they got it into the boat, they realised that it was a tag of some sort, but they were unsure what to do with it and unsure if they could legally keep it.
They wanted to keep the fish and because of the uncertainty, unfortunately they cut the tag out while on the water and threw it away.
While they haven’t necessarily done anything legally wrong, they have thrown away some valuable information that is gained for the return of the tags to the correct people.
I’ll clear up a few things about tagged fish and what to do if you catch one.
Many different species of fish are tagged and important information regarding the movement of fish species is gained from the tags being returned.
There are two main types of tags – satellite tag and the push-in plastic type and tagged fish can be caught anywhere.
The plastic tags are a small piece of plastic, can be different colours and lengths and will have a number on it.
The satellite tag is considerably different and can be attached to a fin or a push-in tag, but is more like a small box or cylinder.
Most satellite tags will have a phone number on them and an identification number and are worth a considerable amount of money.
If you catch a fish with either tag in it, there is no legal requirement to return the fish to the water and you can keep it if you want.
There are some things that you can do that will help get the information needed to make tagging the fish worth it.
Plastic tags, cut them off at the base and collect a bit of information including position the fish was caught, longitude and latitude if possible, approximate weight and length of fish, the more the better.
The tag can be returned to most fishing shops that will be able to pass it on or phone (02) 44247423 with the information or visit online via www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fishing/recreational/resources/fish-tagging/game-fishtagging/gamefish-recapture
The satellite tags are slightly different and there is a huge amount of information contained within the tag and can be downloaded once retrieved.
Once you identify that the fish has a satellite tag in it, try to get the phone number and call it while keeping the fish alive.
Often the fish might have only just been tagged and if possible, it will be better to be released.
The other possibility is the tag has served its purpose and best kept and returned rather than sent back out with the fish.
The best way to return these tags is to contact the number on the tag.
Most of the time if it is an active tag they will know the fish has been captured when the trace of the tag shows up on the land and not the water.
Apart from the information contained within these tags, they can be worth as much as $10,000 each and it is generally much appreciated that they are returned to be reused.
There have been very few opportunities to fish this week with the weather only good enough when most people were working.
There were a few lucky enough to be able to fish when the windows of opportunity presented and some quality fish were caught.
The weekend bought out the land-based anglers and several braved the conditions, either standing on the jetties or beaches.
The results were mixed from land-based spots and while several take home fish were caught, a lot of undersize and non-keepers were caught.
Boating was best if you were chasing whiting this week and the numbers were very good at times.
There were two types of whiting reports this week, those who got good numbers and those who got good size fish.
We had several reports from customers who bagged out this week, mostly from the Cowes/Rhyll areas, but the best of the whiting in their bag was 34cm.
Those who fished on our side of the bay didn’t manage the same numbers, but the quality was far better with many of the smaller fish above 34cm, the best 48cm
caught in between plenty of couta in Cleeland Bight.
The best area to fish for the whiting this week depended on where the couta were.
Most headed down into Cleeland Bight, but if they found many couta they headed up to Dickies Bay and it would appear that’s exactly what the whiting did.
There was the odd whiting caught amongst the couta, but certainly not the same quantity.
There were also a lot of pike in the bight this week with the couta and for those who wanted to find them, they were found easy enough trawling lures along the edge of the channel.
The best of the calamari reports came from kayak customers again this week and mostly from the Cowes area, but they were nothing too much to speak about.
We had a couple of reports from Corinella again which is becoming better and better and well worth throwing out a jig every time you are fishing there.
The odd report came from San Remo jetty and Cowes jetty with only a couple from Cleeland Bight, with the couta taking more jigs than calamari, making it an expensive day’s fishing.
Despite the very good reports over the last month or so, there was only one report from Rhyll jetty this week.
Newhaven jetty produced several trevally over the weekend and the salmon reports, although not by the hundreds, were consistent during the week.
There were the usual reports of rays from the jetty and a couple of draughtboard sharks.
The other reports were of mullet, yakka’s and mackerel but not huge numbers of either.
We had one report of a small pinkie and a reasonable whiting from the Newhaven jetty as well.
There are a few standing on the surf beaches now, which was a bit difficult over the weekend with the southerly winds.
Those who persevered were rewarded with some small to reasonable salmon from most of the beaches, both on the island and at Kilcunda.
Most of the salmon reports came from those using baits, Bluebait with a couple from lures.
The problem was with the wind direction casting lures was made difficult which was probably the main reason for the reports.