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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'd like to get another tog trip in, but are these fish moving further off or will they get tight lipped as water temperature dips? I noticed that the water is getting colder over last couple of days.
 

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Its been mid to upper 40s and has nt changed much. All our trips have been 60-70 ft. No signs of them leaving(allthough I'm not a believer they move at all_ I think they just become less active. I don't see a tog leaving a wreck to try and find another miles away. I'm no expert by any meams just my guess
 

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i think they stop moving around so much too when the water temp drops.. dont think they leave the wrecks either.. well some smaller ones do and i think they move in the back to mate thats why the rocks get infested with them in the inlets. but how many 15-20lb tog have you seen in the back bays and at the rocks? i never seen one so i can't say there are.. and i also believe that you wont catch a tog in 200ft of water and they dont go that far out.. there a near shore fish that wont go past 30 miles out.. the water temps dont change that much out that far during the yr.. we see surface temps and nothing more then that.. unless we dive and know how cold it is out there alllllll yr long
 

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now Paul can we get you out this weekend??? I believe it will be the Porgy finale as he needs to pull the boat for inspection/maintenance. I know a few going s/b fun
 

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We found them somewhat sluggish on GSN this past Sunday. We caught some ut it was a slow bite. This is in 80+ feet of water. I then went 15 miles east and was still in about the same water depth. The water was 2 degrees warmer here. At this spot the tog were much mroe active.

Peter
 

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It has been getting very picky/scratchy over the past few weeks. I've hung it up for the winter.

I think during years like this where the water temps drop slowly, the majority don't do much moving, they just slow down and go into a semi-hibernating state. On colder winters I believe they do some migrating out east.

As for 15-20 pound fish, I don't know how common they are in the back bays (as if true 15-20 pounders are "common" anywhere), but I've had countless 10-15 pounders follow hooked fish up in May and June. I've also seen fish this size boiling and jumping all around the jetties this same time of year while on the spawn. The reason why you rarely see these big males caught in the bays during the spring is because they're too busy gettin their boogie on with the droves of egg laden females.
 

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I've heard that they set commercial fish traps inside the Sandy Hook each spring, catching hundreds of lbs. a day of mostly pregnant female Tog. These fish are on there way to the back bays to spawn. They average 4-5 lbs. and go 15+. This is insane that they allow this fishery each spring, then we have to pay the price on shorter seasons and quotas.
 

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Its been mid to upper 40s and has nt changed much. All our trips have been 60-70 ft. No signs of them leaving(allthough I'm not a believer they move at all_ I think they just become less active. I don't see a tog leaving a wreck to try and find another miles away. I'm no expert by any meams just my guess

I agree with your guess 100%. I think there is a size class of fish that do move from inshore to offshore structures, but i think most of the fish are residents. We had them biting in 39degree water on a 30ft piece last year. They were there and active because the piece is in a great location with lots of food washing in and out with the tides at most points of the season. I've noticed that as the waters cool the active bite becomes later and later in the day until it shuts down...I'm no expert either but it makes sense...
 

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The notion that tog don't move much or migrate inshore-offshore only is false. They have tails and they swim...alot more than everyone thinks. Ask yourself where all the tog all summer long? or Why do you catch tog on wrecks and rockpiles in the fall? Food is the answer. Crabs and crustaceans, mussels are found on wrecks and rockpiles. So the food source is there. So how did the tog get there? They swam. These fish move to find food. When conditions are not to the togs liking ( water temp) they swim some more while looking for food. Ever fish the same spot two days in row and catch fish both days? Well more fish swam into the area. When the spot becomes dead or just few, well you no longer have much movement in that area. The fish have moved on somewhere else. Now ask yourself why in the early fall, you find the best tog fishing inshore at bridges or shallow spots? Where did they come from?
 

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I've heard that they set commercial fish traps inside the Sandy Hook each spring, catching hundreds of lbs. a day of mostly pregnant female Tog. These fish are on there way to the back bays to spawn. They average 4-5 lbs. and go 15+. This is insane that they allow this fishery each spring, then we have to pay the price on shorter seasons and quotas.
Yes they do set traps back there but they are not all females. However, the set commercial poundage for tog (quota) has not been reached in many years. I can't remember the last time it has. The commercial regs have absolutly nothing to do the recreational quota.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The replies have been quite enlightning as far as togging goes. My initial thought was they moved offshore to winter as inshore temps. drop. But it seems a sizeable stock remains nearby. They just don't seem to be inclined to eat as much or be as agressive on a strike as colder water slows their metabolism.
 

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The notion that tog don't move much or migrate inshore-offshore only is false. Now ask yourself why in the early fall, you find the best tog fishing inshore at bridges or shallow spots? Where did they come from?
The point being made is that there isn't a mass blackfish migration like striped bass are believed to do.
 

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Maybe all the smaller fish at the jetties are the ones that spawned in the back bay? I have seen a lot of baby togs in our bait traps so they are definitely there. My feeling is once they grow to a certain size they stay where they are and just become more or less active. i have caught lots of tog with rust on them, implying they have been there for quite some time.
I just don't see a tog leaving the Cape may reef and swimming to site 11 to find warmer etc. as an example

Again only a guess on my end, but good topic.
 

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The point being made is that there isn't a mass blackfish migration like striped bass are believed to do.
Actually, stripers would be a good comparison...depending where you live of coarse. In NY/NJ/DE you can catch both species 12 months a year. And they both spawn in backbays/harbors. There are stripers and togs being caught off NJ right now. As far as mass migration...no.. tog do not. I was just pointing out that tog do both, east/west and north/south. Water temp and also the hours of daylight trigger migrations. Lot to learned here..consider Sea Bass. The large/jumbos you see offshore are not fish you see inshore. Yet, the smaller inshore seabass during summer, move off to deeper water, and then south in the fall. Bluefish would be a better example.
 

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Maybe all the smaller fish at the jetties are the ones that spawned in the back bay? I have seen a lot of baby togs in our bait traps so they are definitely there. My feeling is once they grow to a certain size they stay where they are and just become more or less active. i have caught lots of tog with rust on them, implying they have been there for quite some time.
I just don't see a tog leaving the Cape may reef and swimming to site 11 to find warmer etc. as an example

Again only a guess on my end, but good topic.
Yes a good topic! CMR/site 11 is usually where tog will "winter over" so to speak. I've caught them there all winter thru march in the past. There alot of variables with that area. For instance, this time of year, inshore waters are colder than offshore. CMR area is influenced by colder water exiting Delaware Bay. However, sometime in march, inshore waters begin to warm faster than offshore, triggering the spring movement to inshore waters. So, the dynamics of the coastline have a major impact of migration. The ny bight area/ 17 fathoms offshore and Long island sound/ montauk area are simular. I agree on the baby tog (finger size) spending all summer in the back bays. I have seen it too. Probably survival instinct like Snapper blues.
 
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