A Couple of 20 Pound Tautog

By Scott Lenox

A Couple of 20 Pound Tautog

It was a very nice winter day today in and around Ocean City with temps in the upper 40s and light winds for the majority of the day.  Seas were plenty calm for some of the winter tautog fleet to get out and there were several absolute monsters caught.  It’s no surprise that anglers come to Ocean City from all over this time of year because we truly do have some of the best big tog fishing in the world.

Captain Kane Bounds of the Fish Bound had 11 tautog over 20 pounds before today’s trip and now that it’s in the books he has raised that number to 13.  Those of you that do quick math will realize that Captain Kane put two anglers into the 20 Pound Tog Club on today’s trip and both were successfully released to swim again.  The crew also had fish of 12 and 14 pounds and were able to keep their limit of smaller fish for the freezer.  Pictured below are Jonathan and Alonso with their 29.5″ and 31.8″ blackfish….and mate Kevin Twilley throwing deuces.

Captain Monty Hawkins of the Morning Star had a pretty crappy first drop today, but after that he put anglers on some quality fish including another 29.5″ tautog that weighed 20 pounds for today.

Not as nice as forecasted, but plenty OK. Bit of N wind was sure a lot easier to anchor in.
Day began with a tog condo block drop. Stitching twelve 16×16 chimney blocks into 3 tubes makes a great boat deployable reef unit. Went on a ways more and anchored.
First drop? Near about a goose egg.
I’m 100% positive there were tog there. They sure weren’t of a mind to chew.
Tried another spot and found joy.
A lot of joy.
Except the four guys who broke off fish of a lifetime. I doubt “joy” would be their choice of adjective.
Did land some nice tog though. Guest reef builder Bruce Stout of Wall Township NJ pocketed everyone’s pool money with a personal best 29.5 inch male. Have to get a weight on Bruce’s jumbo dockside. 
Very much of note, our two biggest tog today had a ‘third fin rip’. Here a poor man’s tag; we simply tear the dorsal between the third and fourth dorsal spines with a hook and throw it back. It scars over with no affect on the fish yet shows it was caught and released. If young we’ll note the scar and tag it.
Although we can be sure they were both released when much younger, neither of today’s big boys were good candidates for release. Actually tried with Bruce’s, but the fish was too exhausted.  
We did tag quite a few today. You can see the ALS tags (a program anyone can participate in – try ALS.org) behind the dorsal.
Tomorrow’s another day..
Cheers
Monty

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