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After many attempts of aligning weather, travel, work schedules, family obligations etc, I was finally able to get out fishing with my good friend Chuck. He has a gorgeous 26 ft Southport moored up in the Great South Bay by Fire Island Inlet. He and I both share a passion for Blackfish (Tautog). If you've never fished for these critters you are missing out on something special. They inhabit wrecks, rock piles and other underwater structure, have a great set of teeth to crush crabs and mussels with, are strong and can frustrate even seasoned anglers by stealing bait and getting you hung up in the structure. They don't run like a striped bass or bluefish but they are football shaped brutes that fight hard.
The idea yesterday was to head out to the reef off of Robert Moses State Park and find some good structure holding fish. This fishing requires medium to heavy gear, braided line and 40 - 60 lb leader material to stand up to the rough bottom. The rig is a very simple sinker and hook. Green crabs are used as bait either whole or in halves. We usually double anchor to stay more stationary and reduce anchor swing.
When we arrived at the reef Chuck dropped anchor to set up over a wreck and several scattered pieces around it. We came back on the first anchor and he told me to drop in and feel around on the bottom a bit for structure. Within 30 seconds I had my first bite. A few seconds later he bit again and I caught my biggest of the day at 7lb 5oz.
We had a nice steady pick most of the day. At one point a fish was giving Chuck a hard time by stealing several baits, getting him hung up and broke off on another and hooking a fish and breaking it off. As we usually do, I was busting his chops that I was going to come over there and catch that fish with hooks in it. Well about 15 minutes later I picked up this nice one. If you look at my right hand, you can see another leader sticking out of the fish’s mouth. It was Chuck's fish! hahahaha.
We ended catching more keepers than our legal limit of 4 fish each over 14 inches of which we kept 7. In addition we had more than twice as may shorts that we threw back. Chuck had the big fish of the day with this 9lb 2 oz beauty.
As fun as the fishing was, the best part of the trip was sharing a great experience with an even greater friend. I miss having Chuck close by but I'm thrilled to be able still get out with him on occasion. I could have done without the 5 1/2 hour ride home but it was well worth the trip.
Great report Paul!
Some day you will have to show me how to catch those togs since I have never caught one!! I understand that the CBBT is a great place for them too!
Any time you want to go Ernie, I love toggin'.
Some of the best toggin' on the entire coast is between Ocean City MD and Virginia Beach and usually within a few miles of the beach. I've heard the same about the CBBT.
Looks like you had a great day. Thanks for sharing.
Check out this report from 12/6/08, VA Beach!!
20 Togs with 3 over 11-pounds!!!
6 December 2008
Saturday was a late day since the crew was out late the night before. So, we all finally made it to my boat and pulled out of the Fishing Center by 11am. My crew consisted of an all-star cast of wreck experts: CAPT Skipper Feller, CAPT Darren Foster, and Sean Doran. With the forecast all over the place, it was a good choice to start a little late anyway. We pointed my boat to the east, and headed out towards some inshore wrecks with a little togging on our minds. Our agenda was to catch a few tog, and hope for citation #4 for Skip.
With Skip at the helm, we came upon some beehives of birds and hoards of bait, so we threw out some Stretches and Darren dropped a jig. Nada. We finally spotted the cause of all the commotion when a huge whale busted and rolled several times. A cool sight but not worth our time, so we continued on.
We came up on our first wreck, and Skip had us drop some bait to see if there was a quick bite. I got hung up on the first drop, re-rigged, and dropped again…and bam…6-pound tog in the boat. So we anchored up and tried for awhile with only a few keeper seabass to show. In the middle of all this, my shift cable broke. Great, just one more thing to repair. Ok, we had to take the lid off the port engine to go forward manually, but we managed. After about an hour, we decided to move to another wreck.
So Skip took us a few more miles to one of his little hangs, and again we dropped to check it out. Another 6-pounder took Sean’s bait, so we anchored up and settled in. We missed a few bites, and decided to downsize our bait size. That was the trick, with a few decent tog taking well to the adjustment. The first big tog was Sean’s. His rod doubled over, and I netted his 12-pound, 3-ounce brute, which ended up being the biggest fish of the day. I got my bait back in the water after netting Sean’s fish, just in time to notice Skip engaging in a serious tug-of-war towards the bow. This time Sean did the honors, with Skip’s fourth citation for the year, a 10lb, 15oz stud (ok, almost 11-pounds anyway). Skip’s tog was barely in the cooler, when I said “Don’t anyone go anywhere, I want a pic of all of 3 of us holding our big togs”….I was in the middle of hoisting up my citation tog, an 11lb, 2oz rod-bender. Darren took a pic of the three of us posing with our big fish. Unfortunately, I had a malfunction while downloading the pics, and accidentally erased them! Darn. Too bad, it was a cool pic! (Sorry Skip, we’ll get another one for your Mom!)
We continued to pull in a total of 20 respectable keeper-sized tautog, with the rest of them pushing up to 9-pounds. We ended up keeping 8 or 9 tog and half a dozen seabass. The water was about 70-80 feet deep, and the water temperature was 51 degrees. The wind was NE at 10-15, and then shifted from the East late in the afternoon.
Mission Accomplished…congrats on #4 Skip!
I thought she was a militery doc?
The best thing about that report was that the water temp was 51 degrees. That indicates some time left in the fishery. We've had the bite good down to 45 degrees and have still picked fish at 43 degrees.
So when are we going? ;-)
Paul Naj wrote:
So when are we going? ;-)
We should talk! When is it a good time? At the CBBT, the temps are way down....bad for stripers!
I'm heading to Buffalo in the morning for the day. Let's talk on Friday and see if the schedules mesh.