Last Chance Tog
Seven days and counting.
The tog (blackfish) season draws to a close at 11:59 pm Tuesday, February 28. A short but body shot, as it will re-open for another month-long stint April 1-30 before a significant closure until the following November, date to be determined.
This winter’s beyond-tolerable “being out in the ocean” weather, when it comes to the long-distance late season tog fishing along the southern New Jersey coast (read: 15-35 miles...or farther), has allowed for some hot shot dropping for this rubber-lipped/shell crushing dentition quarry. Big fish, and more than a few four-fish limits.
And some of the best eating imaginable. The tog’s crustacean diet dictates this. No mushy fish intake. Just firm, strong-muscle prey.
At this late winter stage of the tog-getting game, it’s about rigs, not so much jigs, as per the depths.
Top baits include the omnipresent green crabs, white leggers (Jonas crabs; a high-end $$ purchase as per the party boat; the price generally included in the charter price), and yes, thawed frozen shrimp.
“Yeah,” enthused a south Jersey skipper who makes the many miles journey to have the double-digit tog thumping and banging the cooler and livewell.
Rigs or jigs. Crabs or shrimp. It’s a late-season prime-time shot at specimen blackfish.
And it’s all about the conditions via the winds; heavy rollers on a quick pace, or a flat, salty skin and a direct line to the toothy tog.
The daily limit is four blackfish at a 15-inch minimum.