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How To Tag Your Rooster Retrieval, and Tag Certificates

 “The fish you release is your gift to another angler and remember it may have been someone’s similar gift to you.” – Lee Wulff (1905-1991)

The best spot to tag the roosterfish is below the top part of the back, and basically near the last of the 7 fins of the comb. Be careful not to get the tag into the loose skin of the pocket which holds the comb, but just below it. Flick a couple of scales off first, because they interfere with a clean insertion. Do not push straight down, but rather push the tag applicator forward at a 45° angle to avoid the backbone and from getting the tag too deep in the flesh. A properly tagged fish will have the tag end pointing back towards the tail and at about a 45° angle away from the body.
Another good point is the rooster should be laid out on a towel, or or similar, prior to making the tag and just after bringing it out of the water. This applies to both boat caught and beach caught roosterfish.
Are roosterfish hardy enough to survive under a tag and release program?  Please read the following article by the Pier Foundation: http://www.pier.org/userdocs/images/images/photos/Roosterfish_feature.pdf 
The tags are much smaller than the bill fish tags and will not injure a small rooster.

The tag is a spaghetti style tag, which fits inside the stainless steel applicator. The applicator is very sharp, so keep a piece of foam or balsa wood on the tip as a protector. The tag is small enough it will be safe to tag a roosterfish as small as 16" long. 
Note: With today’s airline restrictions, the sharp pointed applicator should always go into your checked luggage.
n the above photo I have inserted a 1.5 inch of a soda drinking straw over the point and held securely in place by the barb on the tag. This keeps the applicator harmless while taking the hook out of the roosterfish, then just slip off the straw, and you are loaded and ready to go. It will save a lot of time and will get the fish back in the water the quickest. Note: For additional security for shipping, I stick a toothpick in the end.
 For retrieval of a tagged fish, roosters tend to fight to the point of exhaustion, so are not dangerous as a bill fish is when alongside the boat. There is no need to cut off the tag and replace another.  It is best to always carry a pen or pencil in your tag kit, so just write down the tag number and release the fish again.This then becomes "your" tag. Report the tag number by email to roosterfishfoundation@gmail.com
Load the dart tag into the applicator, making sure the dart is snug against the hollowed out frame
Insert at a 45° angle or less, and in about the area shown
Keith Paul, director, about to release a very healthy roosterfish.

      The numbered tag card, the corresponding numbered tag is inserted into, is also very valuable as you will write the important information on the card shortly after the release. This will help your short term memory to retain the valuable information until you can get back to a decent internet connection and computer to email the information off to the Roosterfish Foundation (roosterfishfoundation@gmail.com).

The more specific you can be will enhance the data banks, which in turn make us more credible. 
Also please refer to to the section on the Home web page in the side bar table of contents for "Tourism Influence". This additional data is critical to help us influence the policy makers in the Latin American Countries.
An estimated weight (or actual weight with a Boga Grip) is important. But, depending on the condition of the fish, you may not have time to get the length or girth. It is more important to get the fish back in the water with a tag, and revived. And, a photo helps to substantiate the weight and length. Plus, lacking a measuring tape, or needed a quick measuring device to get the fish back in the water, just use your rod. It can be measured later.
The following link is with Mark Denison of British Columbia. He has a bungalow rental at La Barrita an hour south of Zihuatanejo, MX. In the video he was fishing with Abel in Puerto Vicente Guerrero in a panga. Abel first leaders the fish, then tails the rooster, and Mark holds it for a photo. Abel then tags the fish and makes the release.  http://youtu.be/1CJmtlcuRG8
Tag Certificates
When a roosterfish is tagged, and the data sent to the Roosterfish Foundation, your Tag and Release card will be your "Release Certificate".
And, if your tagged rooster is caught again and reported, you will receive a certificate for a "Reported Previously Tagged Roosterfish", with all pertinent data and hopefully the two comparison photos.    
"Release Only" cards
What happens if you catch a roosterfish and have no tags with you, or have run  out of tags? Your information is still valuable. Even though we have no way of tracking this fish for future data, the rooster can still help at the political end when you provide the estimated weight, location, etc. and tourism information. Also, photos help. Fish which are not tagged do not qualify for the annual awards, but the tourism data, location, and number of fish caught Vs. number of days fished is priceless.
For this reason we also have "release only" cards, especially for those members with no tags.
John Lorenz (left) of Bahia de Tortuga Fishing Lodge in the Zihuatanejo,                  
Mexico area with client Dan Ray.