cityfisherman

Togging with infinite structure

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To all the tog experts, when you have unlimited rocky structure (such as along the the northern coastlines of the LIS - Rye, Mamaroneck, Stamford, etc.), how do you narrow down good areas to target for quality tog? I mainly fish from a kayak so I have the option to search within a couple mile radius of where I launch from, but there's so much good structure everywhere along the LIS that it's sometimes difficult to find productive pieces. I understand that there is no substitute for just getting out there and trying all the fishy areas, but I want to get a bit smarter about my approach at narrowing down these areas. 

 

I'm not asking for specific spots, but do you look for areas with some current? Prefer to fish just submerged rocks or next to a rock outcropping that is breaking the surface? The end of rocky jetties? My question really pertains more to rocky structures rather than fishing along wooden pilings, bridges, etc. 

Edited by cityfisherman

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I havent togged in quite a bit but when I did we were always looking for really snaggy bottom.  Like lots of crevices and holes and points and troughs.  Watch your depth finder and look for the really broken up bottom with lots of relief.

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I'd look at low tide and see bits of rock sticking up where you think flow is.

 

Find a close spot that has typical features of other spots and learn that one spot well.  

 

Summertime snorkeling can really open your eyes about a spot or area.  That di me real well when I was a kid freshwater fishing trout spots.

 

Bigger craft are likely hitting certain spots.  but, little nooks and small coves they can reach may hold some good fish.  Focus on what you can do with your kayak that guys with center consoles cant do.

 

Even walking areas at low tide and finding better crab spots can be good too.

 

Kayaks drift with real ease vs bigger boats.  If not anchored, then consider using a drift sock.  Anchored for a bit, try a few times, then move to the next spot.  Drifting might be passing right by them.

 

Takes notes and mark with gps...

 

 

Edited by salt deficient

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Current is key for the shallow kayak stuff for me, I like exposed ledges with a break where the current passes through, or a rip that forms in a similar area or around a big boulder.

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3 hours ago, salt deficient said:

 

Kayaks drift with real ease vs bigger boats.  If not anchored, then consider using a drift sock.  Anchored for a bit, try a few times, then move to the next spot.  Drifting might be passing right by them.

 

Takes notes and mark with gps...

 

 

Does anyone drift for blackfish?

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2 mins ago, nateD said:

Does anyone drift for blackfish?

I never anchor up on the kayak. I prefer to stem the tide or current with the mirage drive. I'm generally able to stay over the same bottom pretty well using this method unless it is very windy / strong current. 

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Rock piles closest to river mouths, small back bays, estuaries, etc are my go to tog spots. 

 

You are missing out by not anchoring in my opinion, the best tog spot could be five feet from the last spot you dropped, and there's no way you are replicating that on a yak. Drop an anchor, move five feet every time you don't catch for two minutes. Stay in the spot where you start catching them left and right, its probably where the deepest ledge/ snaggiest structure is anyway

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1 min ago, Sir Defyable said:

You are missing out by not anchoring in my opinion, the best tog spot could be five feet from the last spot you dropped, and there's no way you are replicating that on a yak. Drop an anchor, move five feet every time you don't catch for two minutes. Stay in the spot where you start catching them left and right, its probably where the deepest ledge/ snaggiest structure is anyway

Thanks. You may be right about the not anchoring, but I prefer not to anchor mainly due to safety reasons. I used to fish some tog spots in NY Harbor where the current really rips, and I always felt safest when I didn't have a line tethering me to the bottom with quick current around me. 

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If you are good at stemming the tide that is basically anchoring, it definitely isn't the same as drifting. I paddle so I don't have that option, and anchor trolley, a quick release, and a buoy makes it pretty safe if you know what you are doing.

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1 hour ago, Sir Defyable said:

You are missing out by not anchoring in my opinion

 

He's "virtual" anchoring with his Hobie mirage drive. He can pedal against the wind/current and hold himself over a spot indefinitely (or until his legs give out lol). The most efficient Hobie togging is nosing around probing different rocks with your jig, then anchoring once you're over the mother lode. 

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2 hours ago, nateD said:

Current is key for the shallow kayak stuff for me, I like exposed ledges with a break where the current passes through, or a rip that forms in a similar area or around a big boulder.

I agree. Look for current areas. They resides around those rocks and hoping a meal will flow by instead of go searching for them. 

 

The biggest tog I caught from rocks is around a big current.

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I grew up in that area, and did a lot of blackfishing back when there were blackfish around.  The answer to your question can be a little complex.

 

Current is part of the equation, but how it works can be very subtle.  I had a summer blackfish spot of Darien where three of us could be sitting in a 14-foot tin boat, and drop our baits down nest to where the current wrapped around a semi-exposed stone. ONE person in the boat would be constantly hooking up, and the other two wouldn't get a sniff.  Then, as the stage of the tide changed, and the boat shifted just a bit, someone else would start hooking up, and the hot hand would go completely cold.  The fish related to just a single point in the current/rock interface.  So you have to work out each piece carefully.

 

"Edge effect" can yield fish, so look for something different. If there is a high spot on a geerally rocky bottom, work around it, thinking about current, as such spots generally hold fish.  Also, sometimes there are pieces of low-profile bottom--mayme mud/sand, maybe just cobbles among bigger stones.  Fish the rocks at the edge of such open areas.

 

Think about pressure.  There aren't many blackfish around these days, and they can get picked over pretty quickly.  I have a small spot off Greenwich--and I'm not going to locate it any closer than that, because I hope to go back there and fish it with a friend pretty soon--that you can't get to without going over some shallow rock bars, even though the spot itself is deeper.  Those bars keepsthe party boats out, and gives the fish a little longer lease on life.

 

And think about season.  Now, the fish will be shallo w, and you can often catch them over bottom that is completely exposed at dead low tide--I used to catch a lot of them from shore at a town beach this time of year, when I was still too young to drive.  But as the water cools, they'll move deeper--not necessarily very deep, at least not right away, but deeper.  So a 10-foot spot that produces fish in October might go dead later on, while a 20- or 25-foot spot that was quiet in early October starts producing a month later.

 

You have a tougher job in front on you now that you would hae had years ago, because there are far fewer fish around.  But at the same time, that allows you to focus on areas that produce, because the marginal areas won't hold many fish to mislead you.  But just put together a methodical prospecting plan, concentrate on patterns that produce fish, and you should do OK.

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5 hours ago, CWitek said:

"Edge effect" can yield fish, so look for something different. If there is a high spot on a geerally rocky bottom, work around it, thinking about current, as such spots generally hold fish.  Also, sometimes there are pieces of low-profile bottom--mayme mud/sand, maybe just cobbles among bigger stones.  Fish the rocks at the edge of such open areas.

Thanks for the insights CWitek. Do you believe that the "edge effect" (as in fishing on the edges of structure) is better than fishing directly on top of the structure? 

 

It seems like most people suggest looking for some areas with a bit of current / water movement next to structure and come to think of it, I think my experiences would backup this theory. I'll keep poking around, and will hopefully get into some quality fish. 

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1 hour ago, cityfisherman said:

Thanks for the insights CWitek. Do you believe that the "edge effect" (as in fishing on the edges of structure) is better than fishing directly on top of the structure? 

 

It seems like most people suggest looking for some areas with a bit of current / water movement next to structure and come to think of it, I think my experiences would backup this theory. I'll keep poking around, and will hopefully get into some quality fish. 

You are fishing right on the edge of the big stones.

 

One thing I left out are mussel beds.  When the blackfish are still shallow, you'll find their intestines filled with crushed mussel shells.

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