Thankfully, with the same 15-inch minimum length.

With the inevitable arrival of colder water, the bigger blackfish are moving in from the wrecks and structures in deeper water and the next 4-6 weeks should be a hot time for dropping green crab-baited rigs ‘n jigs to the rocks, wrecks and bramble in the 45 to 70-foot depths. Figure tog in the 4 to 8-lb. range as the average, with double-digit weight crab crunchers not uncommon.

Catching keeper blackies from the jetties at Shark River, Manasquan, and Barnegat inlets is in play, although these will generally be smaller, topping at 3-lbs. or so. Yet, there are always surprises, with the occasional tog in excess of 4-lbs. wrested from the hidey holes in the rocks.

Using a jig baited with a wad of green crab has been the rage the past few years, but in actuality, has been a preferred method of tog terminators since the early Nineties. The advantage of a jig is that the chances of getting snagged is significantly reduced, translating to more fishing time. The advantage of a standard two hook rig is that a pair of baits can be presented at one time, theoretically doubling the chances of a bite and the rare double hook-up.

Then there is the “Snafu Rig” with a pair of tandem hooks buried in the bait, offering a double stab opportunity while also decreasing, albeit slightly, the possibility of getting hung up.

It’s all a matter of personal choice and hook-setting reflexes, i.e. “Tog muscle memory”.

In the expansive 105.7 The Hawk listening area, top tog party boats include the Capt. Cal II (Belmar), and the Jamaica II and the Norma K III (Brielle). For charters, it’s Reel Reaction Sportfishing (Barnegat) and the Robin Ann (Barnegat Light).

Photo byHugh Carberry

Deer Me: For those holding a “permit bow season” tag and are zeroing on antlers but have not yet connected, there is still some prime time. The bucks are still feverishly chasing the waning number of receptive does as the mating season, or at least it’s first stage, is winding down. This weekend through next week will be most likely be the last time when the rackers (see photo) will be out of their minds and careless. Be it private or public land, a wide expanse of timber or a patch of brush or swamp, figure the bucks to be moving at any time of the day.

Pheasant/Quail Releases: For this Saturday and next Tuesday and Thursday, these are the respective numbers of ringnecks and bobwhites being released in The Hawk listening area wildlife management areas.

Pheasants: Assunpink (500, 300, 250); Colliers Mills (310, 180, 150); Howardsville (80, 50, 40); Manahawkin (60, 40, 30); Manasquan (170, 100, 90); Medford (130, 80, 60); Port Republic (60, 40, 30); and Stafford Forge (230, 140, 110).

Quail: Greenwood Forest (400, 280, 400); Peaslee (400, 280, 400).

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