Sunday, November 27, 2011

Day 198: Toggin'

Tasty tautog.
When: Saturday, November 26th, from 6am to 3pm
Where: The Atlantic Ocean, via the Big Kid out of Brielle
What: Fishing for blackfish (tautog) with a bunch of guys from the magazine
Weather: Nice. Probably too nice. Temps went from the low 40's in the morning to close to 70, clear skies, West to SW wind up to 8mph
Barometric Pressure: 30.20in and steady
Moon: Waxing, a couple days after new
Water Condition/Tide: Clear with very high and very low tides

First off, a special "thank you," to Capt. Ken Gallop and Jake on the Big Kid (bigkidfishing.com/). These guys run a great ship on a beautiful 44-foot Topaz that has lots of elbow room and is very well kept. Anyone looking for a charter in New Jersey for any species of fish should give them a call.

Second, it was pretty cool to fish with a bunch of The Fisherman guys. I'm still new at the magazine, and although I've made it on a few "business trips" with Lido, this was my first time fishing with local legends such as Al Ristori and Tony Maja. It was also great to fish with John, who I haven't wet a line with in about 20 years when he was a member of my father's fishing club.

For anyone not familiar with tog, properly known as tautog but more commonly referred to as blackfish for their coal-colored complexion; they are tasty fish that hang around wrecks and rock and are notoriously difficult to catch. "Toggin" often involves getting a lot of rigs stuck in structure, getting hits from fish that steal bait and subsequently, a whole lot of cussin'.

There wasn't too much cussin' going on Saturday, mostly because the fish weren't biting all that well. Over the course of the day, Jake and Ken tried valiantly to put us on fish and maneuver the boat to make sure we were directly over structure. They did a fantastic job, but some days fish just don't bite that well. That being said, we did catch a few and since only a few of us wanted to take some home, I was able to get a nice bag of filets for me and Linds.

The weather was absolutely perfect and I could not have spent it with a better group of guys on a better boat with a better captain and crew. Lido was missed, but I'm hoping this is just the beginning of my fishing adventures as part of the The Fisherman and that there are many more good times and good fishing to be had.

Thanks again to John, Ken and Jake for a fantastic day.

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