State announces $100 winners from fish tagging program drawing

The red drum is North Carolina's official state fish. [photo courtesy NCDMF]

Fifteen lucky fishermen won $100 each in a recent N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries’ Multi-Species Tagging Program yearly drawing.

The tagging program randomly selected tag numbers from the more than 860 fish tags that were turned in by fishermen in 2018. Three tag numbers were selected from each of the five species that are tagged by the program.

The division tags striped bass, red drum, spotted seatrout, southern flounder and cobia throughout the estuarine and ocean waters of North Carolina. While all the fish are released in North Carolina waters, due to the migratory nature of many of these species, tags can be returned from North Carolina or from out of state.

The $100 winners who turned in tags in 2018:

  • Cobia – Chris Dreyfuss of Yorktown, Va., Hunter Watson of Yorktown, Va., and James Baker Jr. of Belvedere.
  • Red drum – Tim McCurry of Jacksonville, Jeff Bier of Zebulon, and Jacqueline Barrett of New Bern.
  • Striped bass – Robert Norwood of Roanoke Rapids, Toby Cascioli of Grifton, and Megan Smith of Chocowinity.
  • Southern flounder – Adam Harris of Atlantic, Robert Harrington of Hampstead, and Billy Jones of Snow Hill.
  • Spotted seatrout – James Poole of Merritt, Ray Hautsch of New Bern, and Bill Hill of Winterville.

The Multi-Species Tagging Program began in October 2014 and is funded by a Coastal Recreational Fishing License grant. Staff and volunteers place yellow or red tags on 15,000 fish each year.

Fishermen who catch the tagged fish and return the tags with required information to the division receive a letter and personalized certificate with information about the fish, as well as a reward. Those who return a yellow tag marked with “NCDMF” receive either $5, a tagging program hat, fish towel, or fish pin. Those who return a red tag marked with “NCDMF” and “$100 REWARD” receive a $100 monetary reward.

Fishermen must record the species, tag number, date, location captured, total length of the fish, fate of the fish (released or harvested) and the type of gear used to capture the fish. Yellow tags may be reported by phone, but red tags must be cut-off and returned to the division for the fisherman to receive the reward.

Information gathered from tag returns allows researchers to determine species migration patterns, mortality, population structure and habitat use. For more information about the Multi-Species Tagging Program, contact Trevor Scheffel at 252-948-3867.