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 over 970 fish tags that were turned in by fishermen in 2020. Three tag numbers were selected from each of the five species that are tagged by the program.
The $100 winners who turned in tags from red drum were: Brody Doyle of Southern Shores, Eddie Reynolds of Arapahoe, and Jeff Cockrell of Smithfield.
The $100 winners who turned in tags from cobia were: Thomas Steitz of Hampton, N.J., David Madison of Henrico, Va, and Todd Mizelle of Wendell, N.C.
The $100 winners who turned in tags for striped bass were: John Pike of Hampstead, Allan Rubenstein of Greenville, and Kenneth Hollingsworth of Fayetteville.
The $100 winners who turned in tags for southern flounder were: Scott Morris of Wake Forest, David Chalmers of Wilmington, and Allen Spencer of Thomasville.
The $100 winners who turned in tags from spotted seatrout were: Danny Simpson of Washington, Jimmy McRoy of Greenville, and Jack Staley of Windsor.
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.