Flounder and Sea Bass in the Tautog Grounds

By Scott Lenox

Flounder and Sea Bass in the Tautog Grounds

I got a couple of texts today saying, “Hey, I heard the first flounder of the season was caught?”  Uhhhhhh, not really.  Captain Chase Eberle of Chasin’ Tides Charters did put angler Jerry on the first flounder that has been caught in 2023 today, but the non-award, highly coveted, bragging rights “first flounder of the season” is set aside for a bay caught fish that usually ends up caught in March or April.  That’s when flounder season starts in Ocean City.  There have been several years where flounder were caught in the winter over a wreck in the ocean, but since the flounder community has been keeping track of the “first flounder of the season” it has been relegated to the first legal sized flounder caught in Ocean City’s back bays.  Like I mentioned, and can attest from experience, there is no prize.  It’s just bragging rights for a year.  Hope that clears things up from the questions I received today.  I don’t want to take anything away from Jerry’s fish either….pretty work!!  19″ on a white crab in the tautog grounds.

Captain Monty Hawkins of the Morning Star saw some non targeted species today as well as several stud sea bass came over the rail, and then back over thanks to the current closed season.

Tied her loose into am darkness and a calm sea. Sunrise only just a hint to east when Todd from Long Island dropped today’s reef blocks at Capt. Bob Gowar’s Memorial Reef; won’t be too much longer and we’ll be at 39,000.. 

First spot was a bust. Couple nice cbass—real nice, but no tog. They could have been present in fine style — with no current they’d rarely show themselves. 

Time we’d anchored over a new piece of bottom the current had picked up & so had the bite. Tog were coming; Greg boated a very fine 26 inch male that Jeff & Brian got a good ‘third fin rip’ release with. I’m confident they’d have begun to bite at my first stop too.  

When that action slowed we moved again and found a more lethargic bite that picked up as it began to rain harder. Not that the two were related – rain/bite – that’s just how it played today. The slow bite there became ‘no bites’ after a while. Brought the anchors up again, but not before James bested Greg’s fish by a quarter inch. 

We do our pool by length so fish that have been released can win also. 

Swept around at a third piece of reef I am confident tog call home. Took three dadblasted tries to get the stb anchor set. 

Curses!

For all that effort? 

A goose egg. 

More curses! 

On to number four. Setting anchors when I should have been underway for home isn’t a new thing. Wasn’t the perfect day for staying late given a gray sky rain, but there we were 

..catching jumbo sea bass, a keeper fluke (do what?!?) and one throw back tog. 

Ah well.. Caught some pretty tog – put em back too. Of 13 keepers, some over 10 lbs, we kept 3. Tagged about 20. 

Cheers, 

Monty

Check out YouTube for the vid of the largest tautog ever caught by a woman!!

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