Should We Consider a Slot for Tog!

george

Administrator
Staff member
Dec 19, 2018
2,708
2,560
113
66
Commack NY
www.nyangler.com
So as not to hijack your tog posting thread, I figured I'd throw this one out there.

Many anglers, I for one, return all my big tog. I'm not suggesting it's something we all should do, but is it something worth looking at? I personally don't think it's warranted. Not to mention I'm not in agreement with targeting certain year classes. After doing a bit of research I've found that older tog are high in mercury. Maybe the potters and pin hookers need to throw back the big ones being that they're feeding the nation? Hell, they have a different slot for coms in striped bass due to high PCB's, why not tog?
 

Roccus7

Moderator
Staff member
Dec 22, 2018
8,296
10,684
113
Midcoast Maine
Hell, they have a different slot for coms in striped bass due to high PCB's, why not tog?
Got to be careful here @george, MA commercial Striped Bass Regs is set at 35+", obviously not set w/PCB consideration, nor reproduction capacity set. Interestingly enough, last time I checked MA was the only state that did NOT give any warnings about limiting the consumption of striped bass because of possible PCB contamination. Yeah, I can't figure it out either...

FWIW, I'm becoming a big fan of slots, but don't think in the case of tog, and the vast majority of salt water species that are NOT anadromous, that slots don't become much of a "Year Class" issue as with stripers. The striper spawn, being in fresh water, has all those salinity variables and pollution issues that impact striped bass spawning success.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: BennyV

poorrichard

Angler
Jan 17, 2019
130
145
43
Slot size for tautog is worth a try. Pretty obvious that the current regulations are doing anything.

Very few keepers-none for me this fall. Did not fish as much as last year either.

The blackfish pots also need to be addressed but that is an issue for another day
 
  • Like
Reactions: MOJOE and BennyV

movetheboat

Well-Known Angler
Dec 29, 2018
8,257
8,015
113
I would like to know what the prime breeding age/size is for the species. Are we releasing the bigguns because hey they have been around a long time and feel sorry for them? If tog were fishing for us and released any of us over 65 would that help with breeding...no! Or are those big ones say over 8 lbs (and up to the teens) the prime breeders? IDK
 

Leprechaun

Kind of a Big Deal - In My Mind Anyway
Staff member
Dec 19, 2018
1,248
1,397
113
40 26.470/73 32.350
So no one thinks that the current regs are helping? How then does one account for the positively overwhelming number of sub-16" tog infesting nearly every drop? I believe this bodes well for the future.

The problem is that the moment they do finally get to 16.000", they go right in the bucket. Still, I believe we are on the right track, sort of - which would really improve if they'd only cut back on the illegal harvesting and excessive potting.

Also not wild about the "Rec/Make Believe Comms" being allowed to pull 25 15" fish every trip - mostly to pay their boat expenses. I know four guys that make very good money - and still feel the need to subsidize their boats on the backs of a slow-recovering species. I think that has to be severely curtailed. Its just BS, to me. Yeah, I said it. The truth hurts, sometimes.

BTW, are they STILL roller trawling over the offshore bottom? Because that technology destroyed nearly all of my drops at 17-Fathoms. Pounded them flat as a pancake.
 

poorrichard

Angler
Jan 17, 2019
130
145
43
The fish over 16-inches are few and far between. I am closing in on 65 yrs but there were many larger fish before we had regulations. I have been blackfishing since my teens!! I am for regulations, just ones that make sense.

The fish over 16 are being taken. A slot limit would put the larger fish-mostly females back to spawn. It is worth trying over say a five year period to see if it helps Then open up the regs to allow one over slot limit fish to be retained

I also agree that the blackfish pots need to be addressed. The size limits for rec and commercial need to be consistant.
 
  • Like
Reactions: MOJOE and BennyV

Leprechaun

Kind of a Big Deal - In My Mind Anyway
Staff member
Dec 19, 2018
1,248
1,397
113
40 26.470/73 32.350
"The fish over 16-inches are few and far between. I am closing in on 65 yrs but there were many larger fish before we had regulations."

Yes, I agree, and at 66+ I have seen the same degradation of this fishery. I believe its because the fish have never been chased like they are today, with the better specimens being culled out at an increased rate vs years ago, thus leaving behind what appears to be a very solid population of youngins'.

Additionally, as already observed, over 16" and into the pail - "On the line means tonight we dine" - a commonly heard refrain.

I would never advocate for the taking of fish less than 16" - and the vast majority of the fish I've seen boxed the past several seasons are in the 16-21" class. I think this, along with the mandated 3/4-fish limit is a already a fairly solid and consistant "semi-naturally occurring" slot limit.

So how would a regulation-imposed slot limit help with this? Given the above paragraph's observations we are overwhelmingly already at such a limit, without the government getting even more involved.

Also, as I wrote in the pinned "Blackfish Pics" thread - "the fecudity of such a older fish is questionable - meaning that its ability to generate a good quantity of eggs is inferior to a much smaller fish. Not to say it would be sterile, but the eggs would probably be very diminished in both quantity and quality."

I've seen that type of statement several times and heard it while speaking with the actual researchers at NYDEC in Setauket. There was a time I sold them their larger scientific microscope systems (that's what I do, btw), so I spoke with those people fairly often.

Get rid of the illegal potting, better regulate the legal potting, curtain the Make-Believe Comms and stop the roller trawling. I believe those things, taken together, would have far greater impact than further crippling the recreational fishing.

But of course its far easier for a regulating entity to just further slash what the legit Recs can bring home.

Hey, its the easy "low-hanging fruit" of fish regulations.
 

captmike28

Angler
Dec 21, 2018
557
1,126
93
Southold, NY
www.captainstablecharters.com
I tend to agree that placing the majority of the burden in helping any given fishery rebound on the recreational community seems to be somewhat misplaced. I have no problem complying with sensible regulations whether it be size and/or bag limits
In most cases I think we have all observed that for most species the largest adults are usually the poorest table fare. So, I have no issues with slot limits either as long as they are based upon solid scientific data. As others have questioned, it seems to me there must be some reliable data indicating at what stage of its life a Blackfish produces the largest volume of viable eggs. Obviously, that is one key area where we should target our conservation efforts
 

BennyV

Moderator
Staff member
Dec 21, 2018
4,732
5,171
113
City Island, The Bronx
A lot of good points. I think a slot would be interesting, but as most said it doesn’t address the potters. There was a commercial guy at one of the shops who stated he got his limit in one pot. He didn’t even have to pull the rest of the string. Not sure if he did or not cause he left right after making that statement and flashing a pirate smile. Obviously the regs on the books are working in my neck of the woods. Tons of short fish that will HOPEFULLY (I hate that word LOL) reach keeper size one day. I see more guys releasing big fish on PBs and private boats, which is great. As far as making guys release females and the like, that’s fine if they’re educated on fish anatomy and they actually care but let’s face it’s a 50/50 chance. Some guys just don’t care, they’re meat fishermen. Like everything else there’s no silver bullet, but hopefully as anglers we can use some common sense combined with modern science, and create a solution that worst well for most.
 
  • Like
Reactions: george

OVERBORED

Angler
Jan 6, 2021
481
401
63
Once upon a time, everyone started codfishing after Thanksgiving. While local codfishing has come back some, it's not what it was. The result has been a ton of pressure on blackfish. Add the advancement of electronics and the average guy can anchor up on good bottom.

I also feel there's much less enforcement out there and there's a bunch of guys who sell fish illegally.

I think closing the fishery in the spring was the best thing they ever did.
 
  • Like
Reactions: MOJOE and BennyV

poorrichard

Angler
Jan 17, 2019
130
145
43
Overboard-Agreed!! As the population of other species declined, the focus was put on blackfish. When I was growing up in the sixties and early seventies, blackfish were looked upon as a "by-catch" while targeting other fish. We would catch them in the western sound and the general rule was anything under five pounds was sent back to grow. Now I haven't caught a five pounder in years!! In my opinion we never overfished the population but always had a few quality fish to take home for the table. There were plenty of wrecks and rockpiles to fish so no one spot was fished out. This was before electronics using shore ranges to get on the spot

I also agree that the DEC enforcement has been lacking. Haven't seen the DEC in the mid sound in years. It is always the same old tired excuse. Not enough officers, they patrol too big an area, not enough resources. ect.

The DEC does not want to address the blackfish and potting issue so they don't bother patrolling.
 
  • Like
Reactions: BennyV

OVERBORED

Angler
Jan 6, 2021
481
401
63
Easier to write a summons for a guy on a pier with a 7 snappers than a guy in a boat with 5 nylon fish bags hanging over the side!

I know in Florida, I never fish without a license. Enforcement is everywhere. For them, it's a priority. For us, not so much.
 
  • Like
Reactions: BennyV

george

Administrator
Staff member
Dec 19, 2018
2,708
2,560
113
66
Commack NY
www.nyangler.com
So there's a lot of great points here. And to be clear I'm not suggesting we need it now. I totally agree with Leps assessment. The tog fishery is looking good right now. I think it bolsters the claims by many that tog spawn much earlier than the 13-inches as estimated by the ASMFC. Let's not forget, another great tool has been added to get a hold on the commercial tog fishery and that is they now must be tagged, just like a striped bass.

I have always been of the belief that as long as we are fishing hook and line, and the fish has the choice to bite it or not. No saltwater fishery has ever been hurt by hook and line only. Therefore I don't buy into how much better we are today at finding fish.

Back to the slot. The suggestion was made because anglers were so quick to jump on the bass slot, why not see how people feel about the same being made here?

My position is simple. We should stop potting during the spawning season. Next, let's switch the size limits to favor the recreational angler. Let the recreational hook and line angler have the 15-inch limit, and push the commercially caught tog to a 16-inch minimum.

Now is the time to do it as the fishery is trying hard to rebound.
 

BennyV

Moderator
Staff member
Dec 21, 2018
4,732
5,171
113
City Island, The Bronx
So there's a lot of great points here. And to be clear I'm not suggesting we need it now. I totally agree with Leps assessment. The tog fishery is looking good right now. I think it bolsters the claims by many that tog spawn much earlier than the 13-inches as estimated by the ASMFC. Let's not forget, another great tool has been added to get a hold on the commercial tog fishery and that is they now must be tagged, just like a striped bass.

I have always been of the belief that as long as we are fishing hook and line, and the fish has the choice to bite it or not. No saltwater fishery has ever been hurt by hook and line only. Therefore I don't buy into how much better we are today at finding fish.

Back to the slot. The suggestion was made because anglers were so quick to jump on the bass slot, why not see how people feel about the same being made here?

My position is simple. We should stop potting during the spawning season. Next, let's switch the size limits to favor the recreational angler. Let the recreational hook and line angler have the 15-inch limit, and push the commercially caught tog to a 16-inch minimum.

Now is the time to do it as the fishery is trying hard to rebound.
I like it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: george

OVERBORED

Angler
Jan 6, 2021
481
401
63
Recs have bore the brunt of harsh regulations for decades. About time the roller gear and pot guys are forced to fish another way!

Want to buy them out? Fine! Let's eliminate them and see what happens. This status quo with this very small segment of the comm sector needs to stop!!
 

CaptFP

Angler
Mar 25, 2020
102
62
28
Westchester County NY
I would favor a slot. 16"-20" would be fare since most guys release larger fish anyway. Better yet release all the females, big or small, whatever amount of eggs they release will get fertilized. I personally release all my females and suggest to my crew to do the same, most agree with me. I believe the current tog regs are working. It been the best season in a long time here in Western LIS. Ya tons of shorts but alot are just barely. Next year should be even better.

The potting issue is another matter. It's not the legal pots that are the problem. For every string of pots you see there's 10 that you don't, aka ghost pots. I know 3 lobster guys that pull their gear with a grapnel and only in the dim hours. One guy from my harbor was caught 2 years ago tossing bags of blackfish while being chased by CT DEEP. He was caught, arrested fined and lost his 35' lobster boat. 6 months later he's back at it. The guy forfeited a $100k boat, tells me he makes a S***ton more than that a year. They sell 25 with tags and 150 without every day

.
 

poorrichard

Angler
Jan 17, 2019
130
145
43
Capt FP Read the second paragraph of your post. I realize the violations were in Ct.

The NY State DEC does nothing to address the illegal poaching on the NY side
 
  • Like
Reactions: Leprechaun

Members online

Fishing Reports

Forum statistics

Threads
4,467
Messages
158,037
Members
1,108
Latest member
BOBBYBB1949