One Heck of A Valentine

By Scott Lenox

One Heck of A Valentine

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

I just returned from setting up our booth at the Ocean City Boat Show and having dinner with the family and was greeted to a great fishing report from Captain Monty Hawkins of the Morning Star.  We’ll be set up in booth 443 in the upstairs ballroom this weekend and we’ll have Hooked on OC apparel and Fish in OC rigs available for sale.  Short sleeve tees will be $15, long sleeve are $20 and we’ve got a limited supply of hooded sweatshirts that are $30 each.  Fish in OC rigs are normally $4.50 +tax, but at the boat show they’ll be 5 for $20 including tax.  Stop by to talk fishing with the crew…..Hope to see you there!!

Now on to Captain Monty’s  awesome Valentine’s Day report…..

Hi Scott,
The tog gave us one heck of a Valentine today. An unreal bite. 
Carried MD DNR Fisheries biologists and a handful of regulars who like releasing big tog – went to do some science. 
There’s a new way of aging tog with a fin sample. It’s a whole lot more likely to lead to a live release than cutting into a tautog’s brain for the otolith. Apparently the main pelvic fin  provides the same “rings of a tree” to count annual growth cycles as otoliths or gill covers. 
Each state is required to supply 200 tog samples a year. If biologists agree at an upcoming conference, a spine from the swim fin will provide an equally accurate way to gauge age.  It’ll reduce removals a bit. 
With MRIP telling scientists & fishery managers NJ shore fishers can land well over 100,000 tog in March & April, you’d think 200 fish wouldn’t matter. 
Trust me – it does. NOAA’s Recreational Catch Estimates from the MRIP program are ludicrous in the extreme. We truly need to be rid of them to better grasp our marine fisheries.
Today’s pool winner was a 28.25 inch female tog that was released by Dennis Muhlenforth of Hockessin DE. The second largest was also released at 27 inches by Greg Williams of Baltimore (not pictured) and Bill DeCosta of Long Island also released a 26 inch tog.  
The biggest in the group shot is Rob Vallone’s 26 incher. Other anglers are Bill DeCosta & Joe Mole’ of Long Island  – Dennis Muhlenforth of Hockessin – Chan Park of Sterling VA – and Frank Graziano of Wilmington DE. 

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