Last week the team were out catching schooling bass (“Schoolies”) in Salcombe Harbour for the first tagging event in the I-BASS project. Upon first impression, we thought we had great weather – loads of sunshine with an easterly breeze. Local anglers reported that usually the schooling bass are a bit of nuisance, and often steal their bait before any of the other fish have a chance. However, as we found out, when the wind blows from the east, the fish bite the least, leaving us with only four out of our planned 50 bass. This was despite trying a wide range of fishing methods throughout the day and night. Fortunately, some kind local fishers offered some help to catch the fish, even shutting up shop to lend a hand.
Despite their low numbers, we were able to tag our first four fish under the supervision of Fishtrack. These fish are now pinging away in our array of acoustic receivers distributed throughout the Salcombe Harbour ria system. These fish will give us much needed information on juvenile bass habitat preferences and movement patterns. With the help of Matt Doggett photography, we also captured lots of great imagery for our public engagement videos and the below gallery.
Massive thanks to the tagging and wider University of Plymouth team, Devon and Severn IFCA, Salcombe Harbour Authority, and all the support we received from local anglers and boat operators. We are currently planning a second attempt at the bass tagging in Salcombe Harbour… perhaps on a southwesterly wind. More news to follow soon!
If you are a keen angler who would like to get involved in the project, we will also be tagging bass in the Dart and Taw Torridge estuaries throughout the summer. Please get in touch with Tom (firstname.lastname@example.org) for further information.