One of the American Littoral Society's most prolific fish taggers crossed a major milestone on Sunday, May 7.
William "Bucktail Willie" Shillingford tagged his 20,000th fish this past weekend. It was a 22-inch bluefish, one of more than a dozen he caught on that outing. The tag number was 893953, for anyone looking to make a little of their own history by catching that fish.
While he tags avidly, Shillingford seems to treat this avocation more like a marathon than a sprint. He's been at it off the coast of New Jersey for decades. Originally from New Jersey’s Cape May area, he most commonly fishes out of Whale Creek Marina in Strathmere, NJ and typically tags striped bass, summer flounder, bluefish and weakfish.
Striped bass Shillingford has tagged have been recaptured along the East Coast from Maine to North Carolina. To date there have been 1,304 of his Littoral Society tags reported as recaptured.
He is also an active participant of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s; Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Advisory Panel, which represents NJ recreational anglers.
So, kudos to Bucktail Willie for hitting this milestone and may their be many more.