Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Day 215: Tautog Smackdown

From left to right: Capt. Al, Chris (with 9-pound tog) and Al's son Jimmy.
When: Tuesday, December 13th, from 7am to 3pm
Where: The Atlantic Ocean
What: Fishing for tautog with Martalus and Lido on Bayhound Charters with Capt. Al and his son Jimmy
Weather: 36 degrees in the morning, high 40's in afternoon, NW wind 5 to 10mph and gusting to 12, clear skies
Barometric Pressure 30.43in and fairly steady all day
Water Conditions/Tide: Water was clean, cold and I'm not sure of the tides

First and foremost...A special "thank you" to Captain Al Crudele of Bayhound Charters in Sea Isle City, NJ. If anyone is serious about catching tautog, aka blackfish, you should give Capt. Al a call at (609)602-2662. He has over 30 years of experience carrying on a family tradition, and he's one the most knowledgeable and respected Captains in South Jersey. Capt. Al will target tog, sea bass and cod all winter and specializes in striper, flounder (fluke), bottom/wreck fishing and offshore fishing as well.

He knows his stuff.

Which is why I REALLY wanted Chris Martalus to come togging. Lido and I set-up the trip with Capt. Al last week and Martalus made the game-time decision to come along.

He was glad he did, and so were we.
We had to get an early start as Sea Isle City is way down the GSP from our neck of the woods. Martalus was at my door before 5am and hopped in my ride to meet Lido at the rest area in Forked River. From there, Martalus and I got in with Lido and we made the last leg of the trip together.

Al and Jimmy were at Sunset Pier when we arrived and off we went.

Although this was Martalus' first time toggin', he picked it up after working through a few "blind spots" and caught fish like a champ. We all wound up catching fish like champs, as Capt. Al consistently pinpointed us over structure where the tog were chewing. Lido caught the two biggest fish of the day and we all went home with huge bags of maybe the tastiest fish in the sea.

This day was a classic example of good fishing with good friends. Lido, Martalus and I all have our own busy lives and it's not everyday that we get to go fishing together. And even at that, it's not every time that we fish together that the fishing is this good. The stars aligned today and we had a fantastic time.

Martalus said it the best, when all is said and done, you're not going to remember the days you went to work, but you will remember the times you went fishing.

And today was quite a memory.

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