Inshore Fisheries Research Section
Fishing tournaments are extremely popular among South Carolinians. They are scheduled from March 1 through the end of November and many of them benefit nonprofit organizations.
Our participation in fishing tournaments involves our supplying an official weighmaster and calibrated scales for the weigh-in. In return, we can request that participating anglers allow us access to their catch. As an incentive, we provide anglers with numbered raffle tickets, one per fish, that usually carry a $50.00 prize given away at the end of the weigh-in.
We gather length data on the fish, extract their otoliths, and assess maturity. We also preserve samples of gonads that we want to observe microscopically or preserve whole gonads for fecundity work. After we have examined the fish in this manner, we simply return them to the angler.
By taking part in Fishing Tournaments in this way, we can obtain samples of species that we do not regularly encounter (because they are infrequent in the areas that we sample) and add to the length frequency distribution for some of our target species. It also makes it possible for recreational anglers to contribute directly to the management and conservation of South Carolina's estuarine finfish populations.