Is this a dumb fish or is Dan Guilfoyle, who has caught it three times, an extraordinary angler?

Key points:

  • The dusky flathead has been caught four times within 500 metres of where it was originally released
  • Dan Guilfoyle has caught it three of the four times
  • Dusky flathead have a catch and release survival rate of more than 90 per cent

“I would say neither,” Mr Guilfoyle said with a laugh.

He described himself as a “persistent” angler and said it was not uncommon for fish to be caught multiple times.

This particular dusky flathead has been re-caught three times since Mr Guilfoyle first caught and tagged it in Lake Macquarie, in the NSW Hunter region, in July 2019 — two of those times have been on the end of his own line.

“We’ve had a few fish that have been recaptured. They’re definitely creatures of habit,” he said.

According to the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI), each time the fish has been recaptured it has been within 500 metres of the original release point.

It has also grown two centimetres since it was tagged and is around the 85 centimetre mark.

The DPI said dusky flathead had a catch and release survival rate of more than 90 per cent.

“Six months later, Stephen Ireland — I’ve never met him before — was out fishing in the same spot and he caught the fish and he recorded all the details and forwarded them on to Fisheries and released it himself, which is great.

“We heard back that this fish had been recaptured for the third time.”

Mr Guilfoyle said whenever he caught the fish he was targeting a different species, jewfish.

The angler, who does not eat fish and wets a line only for the sport factor, was thrilled this flatty was still doing well.

“It’s out there growing, it’s still hunting and still living a normal life even though it’s been recaptured three times,” he said.

“It was only a month ago I was in the same spot again and caught it for the fourth time.

The range of dusky flathead stretches from Cairns in Queensland to Gippsland Lakes in Victoria.

Posted , updated 

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