Guy Harvey Magazine

SPR 2017

Guy Harvey Magazine is focused on fishing, boating, scuba diving, and marine conservation. Portfolios from the world's best fishing photographers, articles on gear, travel, tournaments, apparel, lifestyle, seafood recipes, sustainable fisheries.

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46 | www.GuyHarveyMagazine.com Our trammel net plans were, of course, to intercept red drum, but the day began with a surprise when a green sea turtle showed up in the net. It was a reminder of how the ACE Basin ecosystem is home to all sorts of marine life. We kept at it and I learned that successful trammel netting—at least here—involves some important techniques. Each deployment of the net was followed by members of the team slapping the surface of the water in order to drive fish toward the net before retrieval. It worked like a charm, and at the end of the day, we cataloged multiple redfish, plus an array of other finfish. While not everyone has the opportunity to join a trammel survey, the tagging program is open to all, though it does require a modest investment and only a limited number of taggers can participate in a given year. "We were sending out vast numbers of tagging kits, and some would just sit idle in tackle boxes," explains Robert Wiggers, a fisheries biologist and SCDNR public information director. "We changed the program by limiting the number of participants, but also by requiring them to purchase a tagging tool to apply the tags that we supply. Anglers willing to make a small investment in the program are usually well-motivated to tag and release red drum." SCDNR also gives out a conservation certificate for anglers who tag and release 30 or more fish per year, and last year, 30 anglers released enough fish to receive that honor. Anglers who catch and report a tagged fish are also eligible for a free SCDNR hat or T-shirt. Each year, one of the top recreational taggers is Captain Mike Waller, who has been tagging red drum as an inshore fishing guide since 2002. For him, tagging is a personal conviction and it offers a professional benefit. "I fish near Kiawah Island, which is already a nature-based area, so I don't get many customers who are looking to keep a red drum," said Waller. " These fish are homebodies, and we only have so many fishing spots to target them, so it doesn't make sense to kill them." Waller refers to each fish as one of his "business partners." Bottom Left: The author's citation, received from the SCDNR, recognizing 31 tags deployed in a single year. A number of those fish were caught around structure (right), such as docks and piers. Photo: Jeff Dennis.

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