Dinner Sized Males in the Bleed Bucket

By Scott Lenox

Dinner Sized Males in the Bleed Bucket

The fishing scene in and around Ocean City is starting to wake up a bit as we move through what has been a mild winter.  During cold winters most everything shuts down for a while, but this year we’ve been blessed with warmer than average temps with very few cold spells which means tautog fishing has rolled right along and other species should be earlier than normal.  The mild winter has allowed Captain Monty Hawkins of the Morning Star to run tautog trips straight on through and today was another good day for him and his anglers.

Cleared the inlet just before sunrise. Ocean calm as you could ever ask. At the three mile line we had a 10 knot NE breeze. Stopped to pick up a Valentines Day turtle choker (a mylar balloon) – wind’s were 15 NE. Well, fair enough. Weatherman said 15.
A little further out we dropped 24 blocks & a pyramid; pressed on with an obviously now-building sea.
With two anchors down and tight, we had tog coming at once—and 19.8 knots NE.
In fifteen minutes it would be 22.7..
Also in fifteen minutes we had 5 plenty-legal female tog tagged & released including Garrett Weir’s 27.5 inch female. Because we do tog pools by length, Garrett’s big tag would go on to win today’s money.
Sure was a nice start.
Kept fishing.. net a few more nice ones – Ray Hughs from Bronx NY’s 24 & Mike Sadowski’s 26 inch males; the 26 incher swam away sporting an ALS tag. 
Catch a couple ‘briefcase’ tog today. Here a hook in the lip and a hook near the tail makes a throwback feel like an 8lber. Can fool a very good angler.
Had some good ‘dinner size’ males in the bled bucket.
Wind’s holding 22 knots but has switched further east. Sea height falls a touch then soon starts building from the new direction. I had no idea how long this day would last. No Matter: Client safety before satisfaction. Period. 
There’s a reason Lloyds of London’s highest shipping insurance is for the N Atlantic in winter.
Joe Mole’ is hooked up. Coming up slow. It’s a good fish. 25.25 inches and swims away with a tag. Not the one he wants. A few minutes later Garrett same – 10.25 lbs ocean weight. Swims away tagged to perhaps teach us something in a few years.

Bite slows to a crawl. Time to pick up & try another piece.
Oyyy.. catch two throwbacks at the new spot.
Try another.
And another.
And then life again. Wind keeps shifting east & backing north—switchy. Never does get ugly. Tag a few more large fish, box a few. It’s been a good day of toggin.
Christina DeCosta of Long Island NY put a few keepers in the boat; she tagged this plenty-legal female. Her Dad? Bill went from high-hook last trip to tagging one good female. Outfished by your daughter — priceless!
Chan Park of Sterling VA caught males up to 25 inches.
Steve Mattino of Long Island shows off a good one.
Rob Cucolo from Mount Kisco NY was tickled with this gooder.
Rusty Schneiderman from Long Island jumped in the group snap too.

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