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Yes, we caught togs on a Li'l Bunkerr and a jig!
Bob Morgan, John Foley, Michael Bartgis and I headed down to the CBBT on Thursday night (with a mandatory stop at Pierces BBQ) to fish 2 days with Capt Dennis Fleming.
Pierces has a new item that we called the porksicle. Instead of ribs, they now sell pork shanks. Bob, Michael and John had never been to Pierces...they are converts!
The weather forecast for the weekend was suspect at best. it will be explained throughout the report.
The 1st day, the crew was ready at the ramp and we got on the water around 7:30...
....as we were in no rush to get out into the cold and wind. It was a spectacular morning despite the cold and wind!
We got to our 1st spot and it did not take too long for John to take the skunk off!
We caught a few more but then we went cold....no, we were already cols as it was in the low 30's with a 10-15mph wind. The seas were 3 footers and the inside of the bridges was a washing machine and unfishable.
After those 1st 5 fish, we had a dry spell until I caught something that did not behave like a striper. It was a tank....a 6-7 pound tautog (tog)!
That thing hit a 2oz Li'l Bunker jigging spoon using a Med. Fast Baitcaster. No way that fish eats that lure but he did but got a great hook-set on the top of his mouth (check out these teeth)!
I just got the rod (Todd Allen Rods, JAX FL) and it is light and strong. No way I should have been able to wrestle the tog from the pilings with such a light stick.
The rest of the day was slow but it did calm down and at the end, we caught about 20 more stripers including 2 keepers.
As we left, we gave this guy (Jack) a ride to his next honey hole...
....he was slamming the togs on crabs etc. He just got next to a piling and was bringing them in left and right! Excellent fisherman....
The day ended with a beautiful sunset!
But we were cold and tired so on to Bubba’s for an excellent seafood dinner. They do it right!
Day 2 started nice but it was an iffy forecast so we figure we could get a 1/2 day in before the rains and an SCA was called.
John took the skunk off again and then we all started to catch some fish....
…including some reds!
And another to, this time on a jig!
Here is Jack again; at this point he had caught over a dozen togs (what he was fishing for)!
One thing we all commented on is how fat these fish were. They were not big but their bellies looked like they were ready to pop!
We were throwing 1 to 1.5oz jigs w/ plastic to make sure we made contact with the bottom. That was the ticket…being on the bottom and jigging the lure by the pilings. That also caused many break offs but that is the price to pay if you want to fish this way.
At one point, my leader was getting really short and Bob blurbs out, “Don’t worry, these fish are leader shy so they won’t be able to see your leader”! We all burst out laughing which is something that happened often as this was a great crew!
Michael scored the biggest striper (forgot to take a picture and the biggest red!
Here is a shot of the fish box!
And some of the loot!
Today was a good day…a really good day as others who were down there did not fare as well. Dennis worked his tail off keeping us in the zone which was not a very big one. The weather was decent, cloudy with no breeze to start. Later, it started to rain and get windier so at 3:15, we called it before the big winds and rains came.
We probably landed 75 stripers today with 15 or so keepers. Plus we got 5-6 reds and the tog.
Friday was slow most of the day and we did have some hope for Saturday. The variety was a bonus and made up for the lack of the bigger stripers that were accustomed to at the CBBT. But we were satisfied with the trip and appreciated the efforts of our Captain. Plus, stopping at Pierces on the way back was another bonus.
Hopefully, the crew will chime in and fill in any details that I may have left off.
Great time with a heckuva fun crew. Some pretty funny stories were swapped. Capt. Dennis sure did work hard to keep us on the fish. Except for slack tide we had a real consistent bite yesterday.
Nothing like a white bucktail to get things started! Although Bob may be right that it wasn't a proper bucktail because it had eyes. :-) And Tog on jigs?!? Whodathunk? Stripers have always been my favorite but I could get used to those reds, no problem.
Thanks for having me along. Great experience.
Great time for sure!
Capt. Dennis worked very hard keeping us in the game. His effort and attitude is always appreciated.
But I forgot to mention the most important part.
On Friday afternoon, we heard a "help, help" call on the radio. Their boat was taking on water. Once the Coast Guard calmed her down a bit, they gave their location and we were close so Dennis headed over there (he has a rescue habit). As we got close, another boat was standing by as 2 guys bailed water. The boat was afloat just fine, they were in no danger. We circled the boat just to make sure and the lady on board looked at us and said "thank you". That made my day for sure. We asked the authorities if they needed our assistance and they said no so back to fishing we went.
When we got back to the bridge we started to catch them.
+1 to everything Ernie said, a great trip for sure and a great bunch of guys. I finally got home at 10 PM and just left everything in the truck. I managed to catch up on lost sleep, but this morning I found that ALL of the parts that are supposed to bend were refusing. I should be back to my normal 80% by Thursday.
Awesome Report! Tog on a spoon! Wow!
This was Capt. Fleming's excellent report and observations:
I have not been to the CBBT for the past two years because of the lackluster fishing there. I was asked to go by one of my regular charters this year to guide his party for two days and obliged. Felt good to be back - but as Walleye Pete said in his earlier posts - there is nothing easy about it.
Friday the 13th - Day one was a struggle in in some pretty stiff west winds, forecast was 5-10, we left Lynnhaven and found 15 sustained. Ice covered the deck, temperature was high 20's. The enclosure was worth it's weight in gold!. We were stuck behind the islands and spent most of the day behind the 1st. We marked nice pods of fish from time to time but getting them to bite was another issue. Water temps 45 degrees. We scratched out 5 fishing in the morning, nothing of size and one nice drum about 22".
We hunted and hunted and ran to diving flocks and gannets several times only to find them diving on massive schools of bunker but never found fish underneath. Discouraging and disheartening. It was like the Maytag washing machine out there. In the afternoon the wind layed down and we could try piling fishing and it wasn't until Pete called me that he found some fish, albeit small about 50 pilings away, we were able scratch out another 20 small fish with two keepers at days end with a 20" Tog that bit a Specialized Bait lil' Bunker.
It was dinner at Bubba's for a great dinner, I give Bubba's 4 1/2 stars! Excelllent fresh tuna!
Saturday the 14th - Back to the islands in the morning, fish were there again, pulled some better grade fish out and a couple nice grade puppy drum. We then went piling fishing and caught a few here and there but never found the fish. Out of frustration after lunch I told the guys we need to start all over again and started back to the islands. Nothing there. We started back fishing pilings and found one tight knot on 1 or two pilings. We ended up working them for hours catching about 60+ fish, mostly undersize but with about 15 that were legal up to 25", one more red drum and yet another tog on a jig.
I saw very few fish caught by other anglers other than Pete and most anglers I spoke with were skunked unless they were tog fishing.
Observation 1: Virginia striper anglers fish in one of 5 ways. (1) Eeling (2) Wire-lining (3) Trolling Stretch 25's (4) Trolling umbrellas rigs w/o planer boards (5) Casting 6" Storm Shads or Windcheaters. They want the bigger and easier fish to catch.
Observation 2: Maryland anglers jig use the LTJ method and are more productive, but catching many more smaller fish.
Observation 3: It ain't what it use to be. Period. I have been fishing there for 10 years and it is not 1/50th of what it was like years ago. No more 200 fish days and the fat "CBBT Footballs". No more days of 30"-40" bigguns on the deep pilings. No more bird shows at Nine Foot Shoal. There use to be days of 400+ boats there, full hotels, boats & trailers in restaurants and tackle shops. Full launching ramps. Those days are gone. If the fish counters at ASMFC has been there the past 10 years they would have a whole different perspective (and number) of the stock assessment.
Observation 4: If you do not have downscan technology (or some kick-ass depth finder) you are seriously compromised. Less fish requires greater sophistication in your electronics.
Highlights Of our Trip - Watching gannetts dive EVERYWHERE, seeing a submarine and multiple warships come back to port, responding to a distress call on Channel 16 of a boat taking on water (stood by til fire boat arrived), getting boarded by the Coast Guard and having a cute 20 year old female with a .45 strapped on her belt question me, VA Beach Resort Hotel, Bubba's, watching my party have a blast when catching fish, towing with my new F-150, not breaking anything on the boa
Great report and pics, that is an impressive catch! Love those tog!
What a trip!! Great haul!
Looks like a fun trip! My dad says he thinks that ship was one of these: http://www.austal.com/us/products-and-s … essel.aspx
I had a great time on this trip! The company and the BBQ were excellent, but the fishing was tough. We were lucky we had a Capt that knew what he was doing! I'd fish with that crew and Captain again any day, just in a different location! I wish we had a time machine, the future looks bleak for striped bass.
I'm paying for taking one and a half days off work though!!!
Last edited by Redfish12 (Dec-17-13 5:30PM)
I'm paying for taking 1 and a half days off work though!!!
I hear ya...I was lucky that Bob drove and got to answer many emails on the way home. It seems stuff really piles on when you are gone for a day....not so much when you take a week off. Go figure!
Sounds like a great trip. Well done fellas!