Just hours after the sun rose on a chilly morning in Wilmington, several dozen fishermen had set out on the Cape Fear River, preparing to cast their lures in a striped bass tournament that would reward them with nothing but bragging rights — and the knowledge they had helped researchers learn more about the beleaguered fish. The competition allowed area fishermen to get their hands on striped bass, a fishery that closed to anglers in the mids to help protect declining population numbers. Once each striper was brought on board and the anglers had a chance to pose with their catch, the fish were relinquished to officials with the state Division of Marine Fisheries, who weighed and measured each one, then outfitted the biggest stripers with a variety of tracking tags. Tagging programs have been in place for striped bass for years, according to Chip Collier, a biologist supervisor with the agency.
Over , adult striped bass have been tagged since If you catch a tagged striped bass, please cut off the tag and record the date, location, and method of capture. Call the U.
Several important types of fisheries data can be collected from reward-tag studies. Of particular importance to our research is gaining information about the number and sizes of fish commonly caught by anglers such that this can be compared with our electrofishing data to see if anglers are capturing each size class of fish in proportion to their abundance in the population. We also are trying to determine how often and how far fish move. Reward tags can help provide that location data when anglers tell us where they caught a fish and we compare it with the location where we tagged and released the fish. Anglers participating in the reward study will be contributing this type of information that will help advance research to ensure the best possible management that enhances fishing for Striped Bass in tailwater habitats the goal of our overall research project.