A false sense of fish – how one flathead changed Dan’s perception of Lake Macquarie.

Rate this post

A false sense of fish – how one flathead changed Dan’s perception of Lake Macquarie.

Everyone loves a good fishing story. Where it be down at the local boat ramp or at the pub that afternoon, chatting about your catch of the day, or the one that got away, is something that is simply engrained within the fishing ethos.

Some fishos might even go as far to say that the social element of fishing is why they love it, being able to share stories with their fellow anglers about new techniques, new locations and new ways to ‘change the game’.

For Dan Guilfoyle, a local gun angler from Lake Macquarie and member of the Hunter OzFish Chapter, sharing unique fishing stories is something that has routinely become a part of his weekly fish.

Over the last 20 years, Dan has built a remarkable reputation within the local community for his consistency on the water and has clocked up some incredible stories when chasing that prized Mulloway that haunts many of the keen locals.

Whilst many of those who have fished with Dan may believe he has all but ‘worked out lake’, even Dan will agree that fishing is a sport that you will never quite ‘conquer’, with something to take away or a fishing story to tell from every time you hit the water.

In the context of Dan’s fishing experience, perhaps his most recent trip on the Lake will hold one of the greater stories to be told. While bait fishing one night on the Lake, Dan caught a fish that looked all too familiar, which soon changed his perception of fish numbers in the estuary.

This week, we caught up with the Dan to hear about what exactly went down in the latest of his ‘fishing stories’.

I was fishing at night out on the lake – chasing mulloway and big dusky flathead – on one of my marks. It’s a type of fishing that I enjoy, not only because you can catch great fish, but it’s a chance to soak a bait and relax out on the water after a day’s work.

On this particular night, one of the rods ‘went off’ and I was connected to what seemed like a quality fish.

When the large ducky flathead appeared at the side of the boat, I recognised it straight away. When you fish the Lake as much as I have over the last 20 years, you quickly take note of little markings on fish and their body configuration.

When the fish eventually hit the deck of the boat, it became clear that I have caught this fish before – a reality confirmed by the little pink tag sticking out of its back that I inserted as part of a local tagging program in the Lake.

When assessing the tag in the fishes back, it quickly became apparent that this wasn’t just any other ‘recapture’…

Back on the 17/7/19 I first tagged her, I then recaptured her on the 14/10/19.

On the 13/4/20 Stephen Ireland again recaptured her and this week I recaptured her again and released her for the 4th time!!

Just when I thought I couldn’t see anything more in the lake, I catch the same fish for the fourth time – that’s fishing for you. This is a vast contrast to another flathead I tagged with a mate near Morisset, 3 months later that fish was caught at Stockton beach… Gee I love learning about these awesome fish.

It just goes to show how resilient these big breeders are and how well they survive if handled correctly. If a fish is hooked deep, it’s not a death sentence. This fish has had multiple encounters with 6/0 hooks now and is still swimming around in great condition. Whenever you catch a big flathead, be sure to support its weight, don’t hang it by the jaw, keep it in the water for as long as you can, and most importantly, let it go to swim another day!

Over the last two years, Dan has tagged another 5 flathead in the same spot, but none of these have been recaptured.

In speaking to Dan about what lesson we can from something like this, he said that perhaps some of our ‘fishing stories’ of all these ‘fish-filled sessions’ have been built of a false sense of hope.

“If I didn’t tag any of those fish, I would have thought that in the last few sessions 9 big dusky flathead has been caught off that mark. The reality, however, is that only 5 flathead were caught, with 1 being recaptured 4 times.

This happens a lot without people knowing – there are not as many big fish as we think, they are just being recaptured more often which makes us think there are more fish than there is…

To get involved with the OzFish Hunter Chapter, or to start your own, contact 1800 431 308.

You are viewing this post: A false sense of fish – how one flathead changed Dan’s perception of Lake Macquarie.. Information curated and compiled by Congofishes.net along with other related topics.

Leave a Comment