Tuesday, November 19, 2013

No Dice

After spending a grueling 14 hours on the water (11/3), then 12 hours the weekend after that (11/9), I straight up rocked my hubby/daddy duties this past week.  My wife enjoyed her slack time while I took care of everything.  You name it, I did it.  I even threw in a few massages, a kickass video of the kids, and she got all the yoga she wanted.  When Friday came along, I picked up her favorite pizza after work and got the OK to go on a little binge.  Her graciousness, patience, and understanding toward my pursuits is nothing short of saintly. 

My quest for six hinges on one last specie citation; the tautog.  However, tautog don't bite at night.  So this weekend's marathon started with some night time speckled trout fishing.  I launched Friday night around 9:30pm at one of my favorite creeks where it dumps out onto a nice flat with a deep channel near by.  I've been jonesin for some topwater action and that's exactly what I got. 

Sorry for the burned out photo, but I was anxious to get back to fishing.  I stayed out until 1:30am after 7 or 8 fish up to 23.5" then drove over to the baitshop to snooze for a few hours before picking up some crabs for bait.

I launched with the sunrise at the base of the CBBT and the hunt was on.  But some of my favorite spots didn't produce much so my confidence started waning.  After several minutes on one spot, I started bringing up my rig to change locations when the crab got hit about half way up.  It ended up being a strong, healthy 27" striper.

I eventually found the togs and got about 6 or 7 with the biggest going 18"Of course, I had several oystertoads and black sea bass in the mix as well.

Dark Female Tautog

Oystertoad Pectoral fin

The 11 or so hours on the water flew by without the satisfaction I needed.  So, I decided to take my mind off it and called up a few buddies to see if they wanted to partake in some topwater trout action.  An hour and a sandwich later, I met Richie Bekolay at the prior night's spot.  The water was eerie calm over the flat and my skitterwalk wasn't getting the same attention it was 24 hrs ago; and neither was Richie's.  After switching to a pink MirrOlure, I immediately had a few short strikes.  Two casts later and bam... I found my lure of the night.  Billy Ragulsky and Dan Smullen met us out there and quickly joined in on the fun.  Without a possibility of a citation tautog that night it was low pressure fishing.  And I had a blast!  It felt so good to simply enjoy catching fish... in good company at that!  I admit, I caught myself giggling like a little kid a few times on the hooksets.  A few hours later, a dense fog rolled in to add a sense of wonder and adventure to that kid-like feeling.  Before the night was over, I tagged a little under a dozen trout with the biggest going 23".  Unfortunately, I skipped out on taking pics, but Richie has a few on his report.

Feeling rejuvenated after 5 hrs of down time, I was ready to up jump the boogie on some togs.  I wasn't expecting the fog to still be there though...

It burned off as the morning went on, 
and I got into good number of the right species.

After 8 hrs (from launch time to recovery) I ended with 16 togs ranging from 12" to 17.5" and one 13" bergall, aka cunner.  Oddly enough, I didn't catch any other trash fish; no toads, no seabass, no none of that. 

For those of you who haven't spent a lot of time trying but want to give it a shot at tautog, here are a few tips.  Drop your rig down and find pilings with lots of rocks at the bottom.  Try to map out the bottom in your mind as you feel your way around. Raise and lower your rod tip until you find holes where the togs are usually hiding.  Sometimes, as you feel your way around you may find areas of rocky bottom away from the pilings as well. 

Pretty patterned female tog
Well, it's no dice after about 45 hrs of toggin' so far this month.  But that doesn't mean I'll stop looking for my trophy.  Hope to have a good post for you (and me) soon. 


  1. Nice Rob, get that last species man!!! Really like the close ups of the fins and scales, need to try that next time.

    1. Thank you! I've definitely been enjoying the macro lens.

  2. Rod, if you call cunner trash fish, you are missing out on some great fish. Since they are related very closely to tautog, they taste very close. They are not kept by almost anyone, so they are guilt free, with no real fishing pressure. Anything over 8 to 10 inches is ideal for soup or tacos. They used to be an important food fish, so this really shouldn't be a surprise. If you are catching some anyway, you might as well bring a few home for the family.

    1. I guess I shouldn't have written it that way. I've heard they are excellent eating, like togs. Perhaps I'll try one next time.


  3. Nice report Rob, sounds like some awesome fishing and appreciate the tips! I am sure that fish is out there just waitin for ya!

    1. Glad you enjoyed the post, Phil. It's definitely out there…

  4. Another great report and pictures Rob, looking forward to the report when # 6 is landed!!

    1. Hope it's sooner rather than later :)

      Thanks, Vic.

  5. MACHINE. Your posts are a constant reminder that I need to step my game waaay up.



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