I’ve been happy to have participated in various fish-tagging efforts over the years. You would think that in this day and age, everything that there is to be known about the most popular fish we catch has been learned. However, tagging programs have revealed a ton of new information on various species in recent years.

While tagging operations have been famously done on certain ocean species like tuna and sharks (remember Nat Geo’s show Shark Men?), I wasn’t aware of any tagging operations on any freshwater species.

Turns out there have been some. Read what one tagging operation on largemouth bass, conducted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, revealed about this most popular freshwater gamefish in this Bassmaster article.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEven when we’re not competing, professional anglers are often on the water working with sponsors and media on things like catalog shoots and media junkets. It’s a big part of what we do, and sometimes these efforts bring unexpected results.

During a recent photo session for Hildebrandt, I caught a bass weighing approximately 7 pounds. Although the fish was impressive, what really grabbed our attention was the small yellow tag protruding from its back.

At first, I couldn’t read it. But once the slimy coating was removed, I noticed the word “reward.” I could also see that it was a Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation (FWC) tag with an 800 number and web address for reporting the catch.

Boating trophy-size fish during a photo shoot is always rewarding, but to catch one with a tag gave added meaning to the term. This fish was worth $200!

Photos: Bassmaster