Should We Consider a Slot for Tog!

Matts

Angler
Feb 11, 2019
214
243
43
Port Washington
First, let me say that I think potting and illegal potting are a huge problem, but that's for another thread.
I also think it would help to have better science on whether large blackfish are also good breeders. However, what we do know is that they have the genes to grow big, so we don't want them removed from the gene pool, even if their total number of eggs is not proportional to their size.
Here's why I think slot limits work.
I feel like there's an overabundance of 12-14 inch blackfish, at least in the Western Sound. They eat the same food as a 16" or 23" blackfish and lead to a stunted population. I think it would eventually help the fishery if everyone could keep [email protected] and one at 14-22. You can get a better fillet from a 14" tog than a 15" sea bass.
More folks would be able to go home with fish, the pieces would not be swarmed with stunted fish, the big fish genes are protected. It's win/win for everyone.
Maybe this needs to be a regional thing, but certainly the Western Sound is awash with little blackfish. I used to catch far more 5lb+ fish per trip when I would catch 10 a day, rather than 50.
 
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OVERBORED

Angler
Jan 6, 2021
593
485
63
Is the goal to better the blackfish population for the future or to adjust the regs so you can take home shorter fish?

Never understood why comms. had longer seasons and shorter size limits than recs. Can someone explain why the pin hookers are allowed to mop all the fluke in the bay in April/May and catch tog in September? Is there a science behind it?

Why not same size and seasons?
 

CaptFP

Angler
Mar 25, 2020
121
82
28
Westchester County NY
I don't think blackfish get stunted, think that's more of a freshwater thing but I may be wrong. I believe the 16" size and 3 fish bag is the reason we are seeing an abundance of shorts. If the size limit was dropped to 12" I would I still wouldn't keep anything under 15".
 
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secjurny

New Angler
Oct 2, 2019
15
40
13
First, let me say that I think potting and illegal potting are a huge problem, but that's for another thread.
I also think it would help to have better science on whether large blackfish are also good breeders. However, what we do know is that they have the genes to grow big, so we don't want them removed from the gene pool, even if their total number of eggs is not proportional to their size.
Here's why I think slot limits work.
I feel like there's an overabundance of 12-14 inch blackfish, at least in the Western Sound. They eat the same food as a 16" or 23" blackfish and lead to a stunted population. I think it would eventually help the fishery if everyone could keep [email protected] and one at 14-22. You can get a better fillet from a 14" tog than a 15" sea bass.
More folks would be able to go home with fish, the pieces would not be swarmed with stunted fish, the big fish genes are protected. It's win/win for everyone.
Maybe this needs to be a regional thing, but certainly the Western Sound is awash with little blackfish. I used to catch far more 5lb+ fish per trip when I would catch 10 a day, rather than 50.
First off the illegal potting and so called fish traps are a huge problem in the western sound......they fish 24hrs a day 7days a week.......just about every rock pile from the throggs neck bridge to CT are covered.........and no the limit should not go below 16".....
 

Occh639

Angler
Nov 13, 2019
121
121
43
No problem throwing back the big ones but let me take home 6 smaller ones
If the science is there , then I am 100% for a slot . I personally try to throw back all female blackfish and definitely any fish over like 21” or 7lbish fish. What does everyone do with all there fillets anyway? Most states are like 4-5 fish a person , that’s like 8-10 pieces of fish. How many recreational blackfisherman out there are relying on these fish to feed their families??? Personally, I don’t love frozen fish anymore, even coming from my vacuam sealer. I have some vacuam sealed Tog for chowder but not much. . My boat is in Ct. for blackfish season so my limit is 3 and there were a few of days this season that I released all my fish including the keepers. Some days I kept two , some days one. it all depends on how much fish I intend to eat in like a 3 -4 day window. Blackfish are one of those fish that I rarely give away , only dear old mom gets any. What I mean by this is , IMO you shouldn’t be keeping every Tog if you don’t intend to harvest them for yourself . They are not the fish to be giving away to the neighbors, that’s why God created Porgies!
I guess I love the Tautog fishery so much that I just want to ensure that they will be around not only for my lifetime ,but my grandchildren’s as well.
With this said , I definitely respect that it’s the anglers choice whether to throw back big fish or not .
 

HighHook4Hire

New Angler
Aug 19, 2019
78
50
18
Pa, fish nj + regional trips
I fish NJ where the keeper size is 4 @ 15". We still get tons of 14 and 14-1/2" fish. I personally do not like keeping large blackfish, especially after keeping a 10# with barotrauma last year at the urging of the boat captain. I also try to release females when I can. I would be ok with a slot, but I try to selective harvest, as I enjoy catching more than eating. The more you keep, the less you can catch in the future, simple math. We have lots of guys in NJ that keep over limits and there is not much regulation here either.

Another consideration here... This might be an NJ problem since you all are likely fishing shallow in the LIS. Is anyone venting and/or using deep sea release tools to return tog caught in deep water or just throwing them back like all the doomed seabass with their stomachs hanging out of their mouths? I bought a release tool last year, but have yet to need it with warmer than typical water and shallow depths. I have seen FishBound tagging and releasing a bunch of DD togs in VA/MD, so I do assume that somewhere there is data that these fish do survive.

For me releasing a big tog would not be purely about egg laying and fertilizing, but about giving someone else the chance to catch it when it gets even bigger.
 
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CaptFP

Angler
Mar 25, 2020
121
82
28
Westchester County NY
If this post is the prequel to NYDEC, CTDEEP, NMFS etc, to implement a slot then something like 4 fish at 16"-20" and a season until the end of the December would be fine by me. Close the spring season to let all the females spawn. More importantly more enforcement on "commercial" fish pots.
 

OVERBORED

Angler
Jan 6, 2021
593
485
63
If this post is the prequel to NYDEC, CTDEEP, NMFS etc, to implement a slot then something like 4 fish at 16"-20" and a season until the end of the December would be fine by me. Close the spring season to let all the females spawn. More importantly more enforcement on "commercial" fish pots.
Ever see a dead blackfish sold in a supermarket or retail fish store?

Almost never!

The single biggest detriment to blackfish stocks is the live fish market.
There's no limit on how many fish they can buy.
There's also MANY unlicensed guys buying directly from the small, unlicensed fisherman.

Slot limits don't matter!

Any recovery will only happen when the live fish market gets regulation and enforcement!
 

CaptFP

Angler
Mar 25, 2020
121
82
28
Westchester County NY
What I have seen is every rockpile and wreck, no matter the size, with a string of pots on them. IF they have buoys there no numbers on them. I've had guys come up on me while anchored to grapple an unmarked string of pots. Even if they cull half (ya sure) its more than a daily limit and they have how many strings? Only worse in winter, price goes up after the recreational season closes.
 
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OVERBORED

Angler
Jan 6, 2021
593
485
63
If guys are willing to lose their 100k boats obviously the penalties are not stiff enough.

If a stockbroker commits fraud, he loses his license. Same has to happen with these guys.

The irony is, everyone knows of someone in their neck of the woods who's not playing by the rules but DEC doesn't. Just watch who's going in and out of your inlet and you figure things out quickly especially this time of year.
 

secjurny

New Angler
Oct 2, 2019
15
40
13
If guys are willing to lose their 100k boats obviously the penalties are not stiff enough.

If a stockbroker commits fraud, he loses his license. Same has to happen with these guys.

The irony is, everyone knows of someone in their neck of the woods who's not playing by the rules but DEC doesn't. Just watch who's going in and out of your inlet and you figure things out quickly especially this time of year.
The fines aren't near enough ........and no one looses there boats....that the problem