A 46-1/2-inch striped bass named Rona was caught on May 28th off the Jersey Coast and released just 2 minutes later with a satellite tag to track hopefully track her migratory movements over the next 5 months.
The coronavirus may have knocked us down, but it didn’t knock us out!
On Thursday, May 28, a pair of satellite tagging teams consisting of Capt. Frank Wagenhoffer’s Fin Chasers Charters Regulator and Chuck Many’s Tyman True World set out in search of tagging candidates for the Northeast Striped Bass Study coordinated with The Fisherman and Gray FishTag Research.
While the effort has raised nearly $30,000 in contributions from Fisherman readers and fishing clubs – as well as organizations and corporations such as Tsunami, Navionics, Recreational Fishing Alliance, American Fishing Wire, Southern Most Apparel – the global pandemic limited the immediate availability of Wildlife Computers’ MiniPSAT device. These pricey satellite tags – each runs in the neighborhood of $5,000 or $6,000 – are made by Wildlife Computers in Washington State which was all but shut down through most of the coronavirus pandemic.
In mid-May, Gray FishTag Research was able to get the first two MiniPSAT devices shipped out of Washington with an initial batch of tagging instruments. Prior to the coronavirus shutdown organizers had hoped to match the same date and location for 2020 as in 2019.
Roughly one week off the planned schedule, the two teams set out in windy conditions in the lower Hudson, same as was coordinated in 2019 with the tags deployed in fish named Liberty and Freedom. Regrettably, the New York Harbor bite has been slow in between the moons; however, one crew was able to implement a MiniPSAT device out front along the North Jersey coast on a 46-1/2-inch striper estimated at 43 pounds. The fish, aptly named Rona swam off healthy and strong and is the first of two fish planned for tagging this cycle.
The team plans to be out again before June to deploy a second tag in a similar coastal location on another big, old, fat, fecund, female fish (BOFFFF) while the run is on. Expect to hear more about Cora in the coming days.
According to Gray FishTag Research, another set of tags have since arrived at their Florida facility, and there’s hope that more MiniPSAT device can be deployed in early June on behalf of all of the study sponsors. The high-tech tags will track the migration of these fish for what’s hoped to be a 5-month cycle.
For more of the Cora and Rona story as it develops be sure to look for the July edition of The Fisherman.