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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

How old is my flathead?

Tuross Lake is now officially recognised as Flathead Trophy fish “Hot Spot” and as such has implications in regards to the tagging of fish procedures that fishing club members are about to implement.

Some notes about Flathead and the graph above. An age graph from Julian Hughes at the DPI research department. It provides data on the age of a flathead at a certain length. Readers might find it interesting to get an idea of how old the “trophy sized” flatties they are catching are. The Graph also provides more evidence to support the theory that just about all big Flathead are females and that these big females are relatively old. Julian advises that the graph is split into 5 cm length classes with the median (most common) age for each size class. The shaded area is the spread of ages for each size class. So for a flatty of between 50 and 54 cm length, it is most likely to be 4 years old, but with a usual spread (90%) of a minimum of 1 or a maximum of 7 years old. The variation is mainly due to the different growth of the sexes as females grow much faster than males after 2 years of age. Females also reach much larger sizes than males with the maximum size for females around 100 cm, but for males is just 60 cm. The oldest female flatty so far recorded in NSW was 16 years old (and 88.5 cm), the largest was 98.5 cm (and 13 years old). Whereas the oldest and largest male was just 11 years old and only 61.5 cm. The data has come from over 5000 duskies collected from NSW waters between 1994 and 2011 from the Clarence south to Wallaga Lake. Source Tuross Head Fishing Club The Tuross Head Fishing Club is keen to begin tagging of this species. The Competition Secretary (Scott Paul) is recruiting members to be part of this venture. The following is a guide to maximise the post release survival whilst tagging trophy sized Flathead. 1. Use appropriate tackle to minimise fight times 2. Use GPS or other device to mark the spot where the trophy size fish is hoked. 3. Using an “environet” or similar leave the fish in the water while preparing equipment to measure, photographing and tagging of the fish to prevent damage and injuring due to being brought into the boat before equipment was ready. 4. Carefully bring the fish into the boat (or area), handling it with wet gloves and supporting its weight. 5. Remove hooks with long nosed pliers or suitable de-hooking tools. If the hook is deeply engorged then cut the line as close the mouth as possible. 6. Place the fish on a wet brag mat whilst measuring, photographing and tagging perform the procedures quickly and efficiently to minimise “out of water time”. 7. Revive the fish in the water and release it as close as possible to the capture site. All these steps will increase the chances of a survival and recapture as well as providing valuable data to DPI for future studies and management of the species. The photos below show the ideal position and area to insert the tags.

NOTE: Comments were TRIALED - in the end it failed as humans will be humans and it turned into a pile of merde; only contributed to by just a handful who did little to add to the conversation of the issue at hand. Anyone who would like to contribute an opinion are encouraged to send in a Letter to the Editor where it might be considered for publication

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