Fish-tagging program recognizes top volunteers

VGFTP 2018 top taggers were recognized on Feb. 22, 2019, at Bass Pro Shops in Hampton. Top row from L to R: Sheldon Arey, Ed Shepherd and Lewis Gillingham. Bottom row from L to R: David Griffith, Charlie Church and Cashin Prutsman. (Southside Daily/VIMS/Wendy Zach)
VGFTP 2018 top taggers were recognized on Feb. 22, 2019, at Bass Pro Shops in Hampton. Top row from L to R: Sheldon Arey, Ed Shepherd and Lewis Gillingham. Bottom row from L to R: David Griffith, Charlie Church and Cashin Prutsman. (Southside Daily/VIMS/Wendy Zach)

The Virginia Game Fish Tagging Program celebrated the achievements of its top volunteers at Bass Pro Shops in Hampton recently.

Efforts by these top taggers produced the majority of the program’s data on habitat use and movement patterns of target species. In 2018, VGFTP anglers tagged more than 17,600 fishes and recorded more than 1,100 recaptures.

VGFTP Top Tagger of 2018 Ed Shepherd (L) with Susanna Musick (R), VIMS Marine Recreation Specialist. (Southside Daily/VIMS/Wendy Zach)
VGFTP Top Tagger of 2018 Ed Shepherd (L) with Susanna Musick (R), VIMS Marine Recreation Specialist. (Southside Daily/VIMS/Wendy Zach)

A cooperative effort between the Marine Advisory Program at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) and the Virginia Saltwater Tournament at the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC), the VGFTP uses state saltwater license funds to train volunteer anglers to tag recreationally important finfishes. Since 1995, VGFTP anglers have tagged more than 320,500 fishes and contributed vital data for the management of these marine species.

Top Taggers for 2018

Category Winner Runner Up
Overall Tags Ed Shepherd (Yorktown) Scott Vinson (Williamsburg)
Overall Recaptures Ed Shepherd Scott Vinson
Black Drum Jim Robinson (Virginia Beach) Scott Vinson
Black Sea Bass Ed Shepherd Rob Collins (Norfolk)
Cobia Jorj & Hayden Head (Seaford) Wes Blow (Newport News)
Flounder Ed Shepherd Scott Vinson
Red Drum Charlie Church (Virginia Beach) Tie: Cachin Prutsman (Virginia Beach)
& David Griffin (Cape Charles)
Sheepshead Joe Hudgins (Chesapeake)
Spadefish John Knight (Virginia Beach) Charles Laurens (Virginia Beach)
Speckled Trout Ed Shepherd Sheldon Arey
Tautog Rob Collins David Gladysiewicz (Greenbackville)
Triggerfish Bill Knapp (Virginia Beach) Rob Collins

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