Returning a Tag

Picture 1 – A tagged weakfish with a high reward red tag

Picture 1 – A tagged weakfish with a high reward red tag

Weakfish were tagged in North Carolina and Delaware. In North Carolina, fish were released state-wide, from Oregon Inlet to the Cape Fear River, and everywhere in between. In Delaware, fish are being released in the southern half of the Bay. Tags were placed in any healthy fish greater than 12 inches in length, with a goal of tagging 1,500 individuals per year over three years (2014-2017).

We used an ‘internal anchor tag’ which was placed in the belly of the fish just behind the pelvic fin (Picture 1). This tag type allowed for maximum retention over time. All tags used in this study were high reward red tags with a unique tag number (NCXXXX), telephone number, and a request to ‘CUT TAG’ (Picture 2).

Picture 2 – A high reward red tag.

Picture 2 – A high reward red tag.

To ensure accurate reporting of the tag number, ALL TAGS MUST BE CUT OFF AND MAILED IN FOR THE HIGH REWARD, even if fish is released. NOTE: about one-third of all of our tagged fish will be double tagged, so please check both sides of the fish for tags. The double tags are to help us better understand tag retention and is further explained in Conventional Tagging.

Rewards for tagged weakfish — what should you report?

Once you’ve retained the red reward tag(s), please contact Jacob Krause at 1-800-790-2780. You will be asked to provide the following information: date of capture, location of capture, total length of the fish, how you caught the fish (recreational or commercially), whether the fish was released or kept, and overall health of the fish.

Any digital photographs of tagged fish will be extremely useful in our assessment of tagging mortality and tag retention. Please email any photographs of tagged weakfish to Jacob Krause at

Weakfish Flyer

Click to enlarge

In order to ensure timely processing of your reward, please mail the tag(s) to:

Jacob Krause
North Carolina State University
Center for Marine Sciences and Technology
303 College Circle
Morehead City, NC 28557

Since each red tag is worth $100, the rewards on a double-tagged fish would be $200. Once we have received your tag(s) in the mail, we will make a check payable to your name, with an enclosure on the original date of capture and tagging of the fish associated with your returned tag(s). Please allow 6-8 weeks for rewards to be processed.

This project depends on entirely on fishermen, so thank you to all those who have returned tags. If you have not caught a tagged fish, you can still help by spreading the word about this project. Feel free to download a pdf weakfish reward flyer, and look for our flyers across the coasts of North Carolina and Delaware!

Contact Information

To learn more about the NCSU Weakfish Tagging Study please contact Jacob Krause at 1-800-790-2780 or

Funding Info