World record: Fish recaptured after 26 years

THE world record for the longest time between tagging and recapture for a freshwater fish with an external tag has been broken by a Thorneside man fishing in a southeast creek.

The Australian Bass was first tagged 29 January 1994 in Reynolds Creek at a length of 26.5cm, Suntag Australia records show.

It was recaptured in a cast net in Tingalpa Creek on February 9, having escaped capture for more than 26 years.

 

Roy Graham at Upper Tingalpa Creek in Capalaba. Picture: AAP/Richard Walker
Roy Graham at Upper Tingalpa Creek in Capalaba. Picture: AAP/Richard Walker

 

Tradesman Roy Graham, 36, from Thorneside, unknowingly broke the record while out cast netting with his cousin-in-law.

"We were doing some casting and then we got a Bass. I said 'oh man it's got a tag in it, like I don't really want to hurt the thing'," he said.

"I'd previously caught tag fish before and I just jot the numbers down and ring up the people … I had to scrape the slime off the tag because you couldn't actually read it.

"I didn't realise it was a special fish. I just said [to my cousin-in-law] 'oh, get a photo because it's your birthday' and we just let it go."

Ronnie Piggott, holding the record breaking Australian bass that was caught by Roy Graham.
Ronnie Piggott, holding the record breaking Australian bass that was caught by Roy Graham.

It wasn't until the following day at work when Mr Graham contacted Suntag that he found out the bass was a "really special fish".

"I was blown away too because it wasn't exactly a really big bass, like I've caught bigger ones there; it was only 39cm and I know I've got a 46cm on a lure up there before," he said.

The recapture breaks the previous record of just over 25 years held by a Southern Bluefin Tuna and Suntag said it is likely to be the longest time out for a tagged fish in the world.

The fish was found about 190km from where it was tagged.

 

A map showing how far the fish travelled between when it was tagged in 1994 and recaptured in 2020.
A map showing how far the fish travelled between when it was tagged in 1994 and recaptured in 2020.

It had likely travelled down Reynolds Creek to the Bremer River, made its way across the Brisbane River and eventually travelled south in Moreton Bay to Tingalpa Creek where it was recaptured.

Suntag Australia Manager Bill Sawynok said they've only had six or seven fish recaptured more than 20 years after they've were tagged.

Even weeks later, Mr Graham said he is still "spewing" he didn't take a picture of himself holding the record-breaking bass.

 

RECORD RUN

 

An amazing fish tale about an Australian bass (tag number 787602) that eluded capture for 26 years, believed to be the longest time-out for a tagged fish in the world.

 

FIRST CAUGHT


Reynolds Ck, January 29, 1994. Length: 26.5cm

 

 

WHERE IT TRAVELLED

 

 

The fish was found about 190km from where it was tagged. It travelled down Reynolds Creek to the Bremer River, made its way across the Brisbane River and eventually travelled south to Moreton Bay

 

 

RECAPTURED

 

 

 

Tingalpa Creek, February 9, 2020, Length 39cm

 

 

 

FISH FACTS 

 

 

The Australian Bass (Macquaria novemaculeata) lives in coastal waterways along the east coast

They are keenly fished as they are an aggressive sports fish, incredibly fast and powerful for their size

They have a diet of insects (particularly cicadas), shrimps, prawns and small fish

They are a freshwater species, but one that must breed in estuarine waters

They are a smallish species, averaging around 0.5 kilograms in weight and 20-25cm in length

For reasons that are not clear, Australian bass are extremely slow growing

For many years, the maximum age recorded was 22 years, however, one in the Genoa River system was 47


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