Finally made it out for tog fishing

Local angler Paul Pergeorelis caught the first tog on the Bandit during a trip last Saturday. BY ERIC BURNLEY
February 4, 2012

I finally had the opportunity to get out and try some of the good tog fishing I have been reporting about. Last Saturday, Capt. Scotty Gold was kind enough to invite me on board his head boat, Bandit, for a day on the ocean.

We left the dock at Southside Marina around 6:30 a.m. with a full complement of 25 anglers on board. Capt. Scott holds the number to that level so everyone has plenty of space.
The run to the fishing grounds took two hours, and during that time I was well entertained by a group of eight gentlemen from New York City. They belong to a fishing club, the Deep Drop Technicians, and travel from Maine to South Carolina in pursuit of deep-water denizens. Reports of good tog fishing here had them make their first trip to Delaware.

As with any group who spend a lot of time together, there are bound to be incidents from the past that bear repeating. On occasion, these incidents may gain a bit more color in the retelling and such was the case on Saturday. Having been a part of these events in the past it was not necessary for me to know who they were talking about to enjoy the stories.

Once on site, the passengers spread out along the rail to drop green or white legger crabs to what all hoped would be the waiting mouths of big tog. Capt. Gold sets two anchors to keep the boat from swinging as it can on one rode. This combined with the mild weather and light wind had us all but stationary on the wreck.

The first tog came from the bow and was soon followed by another from the stern. Catching continued at a slow pick for about 30 minutes before the captain repositioned the boat. Action remained about the same, so we moved again and found the hot spot.

For reasons known only to the fish, the bite was centered in the bow. Before long there was quite a crowd there and tog were coming over the rail at a steady clip.

At least a dozen of the anglers were Korean-Americans from Maryland. These guys were serious about their fishing. The captain had a large cooler in the stern rigged up as a live well. When a Korean caught a tog he quickly ran to the stern and placed his fish in the well. When anyone else caught a fish it too went into the well on a stringer to be retrieved at the end of the trip. I have been fishing on head boats for more than 50 years, and this is the first time I have seen live wells used to store the catch.

After the bite slowed, we moved again and continued a steady pick from the bow. I was fishing about halfway between the bow and stern. I know I was on the structure because I could feel my sinker hitting metal, but I was not on the fish. Meanwhile, those forward of my position, not 6 feet away, were catching tog. I did catch two dog sharks and fed the local bergall population a steady diet of crabs.

We did not start home until after 1500 because Capt. Gold wanted to make sure we had plenty of fishing time. The trip back was quiet as most of us took well-deserved naps.
At the dock, the Koreans offloaded their catch into live wells in their vehicles. I am not talking about rusted-out old pickup trucks. These were top-of-the-line SUVs that now had saltwater splashing around inside.

The other successful anglers had the mate, Jerry Postorino, clean their fish on the run home and left the boat with filets. I would guess the average catch was three to four tog per person with a 7-pounder winning the pool.

The long-range weather promises mild temperatures for the foreseeable future and I highly recommend taking advantage of this by getting out on a tog trip. Call Capt. Gold at 732-692-9521 or 732-899-2701 to make a reservation. There are head boats running out of the Northside Marina and Lewes with charter boats from both sides of the inlet. All can put you on the fish.

Speaking of the inlet, rockfish were caught there last week with several large enough to make the 28-inch minimum size. Bucktails, shads and flies all produced. The flies are fished behind a sinker heavy enough to get the lure to the bottom.

The local ponds are seeing good activity with bass, crappie and pickerel. I hope to try one or two of these impoundments by the end of the week.

  • Eric Burnley is a Delaware native who has fished and hunted the state from an early age.  Since 1978 he has written countless articles about hunting and fishing in Delaware and elsewhere along the Atlantic Coast.  He has been the regional editor for Salt Water Sportsman, Field and Stream, Outdoor Life and the Fisherman Magazine.  He was the founding editor of the Mid-Atlantic Fisherman magazine.  Eric is the author of three books; Surf Fishing the Atlantic Coast, The Ultimate Guide to Striped Bass Fishing and Fishing Saltwater Baits.  He and his wife Barbara live near Milton, Delaware. Eric can be reached at