Limit catches of tog reported on charter boats

Dr. Ken Niell III shows off his new Virginia state record tog weighing 24 pounds, 3 ounces. This is a second tog state record recorded in our area this year, with the other caught in Maryland. SOURCE SUBMITTED
April 7, 2012

It was a pretty good weekend for tog fishermen. At least three citations were caught on Sunday, and limit catches were reported on some charter boats. Those who fished the Outer Wall found a big heave making it impossible to fish the ocean side. The bay side and the Inner Wall did produce some tog.

Just about all the reports I have on rockfish are coming from New Castle County. Chunking with fresh bunker at Blake’s Channel produced at least one limit catch, and others were reported at the Yellow Can, Bullpen and 6L Buoy. A few rock and lots of white perch were caught on bloodworms from shore at Woodland Beach, Green’s Beach and Dobbinsville. Indian River Inlet has been the best location for flounder. The VFW Slough and Massey’s Ditch were the top spots to soak minnows, squid, bunker strips and shiners.

Rockfish have been caught from the jetty, and tog were taken from the rocks.

In the surf, the occasional rockfish and bluefish have been caught on cut bunker. Skates and dogs make up most of the catch.

Kids and fishing
Since my boys are a bit long in the tooth to be called kids, it has been a few years since I have done much fishing with children. All of that changed last weekend at my wife’s family reunion. Her family, the Twilleys, get together every year, and the group has now reached the point where our kids are having kids, and the little ones have become the high point of the gathering.

The Twilleys used to meet at Redden State Forest in an old hunting lodge that the state has converted into a large meeting hall with plenty of room for even the largest family.

The problem was, the lodge had no beds and only three bathrooms, so most everyone had to sleep on the floor or a cot. Fortunately, the place is about 15 minutes from my house, so I would come home every night and sleep in my own bed.

As the Twilleys began to age, the idea of sleeping on the floor or a cot lost some of its glamour. While the lodge was close to the two families living in Sussex County, it was a bit of a drive for those living in New Castle County and in Pennsylvania. Enter Charter Hall in Perryville, Md. Not only is this place big enough to hold everyone, it has real beds and many bathrooms.

The beauty of Charter Hall is its location on the shore of the Chesapeake Bay. I have taken my boat for the past two years, but this time I decided to leave it home due to a marine forecast of 10 to 15 knots northeast with gusts to 20 and rain.

This left me stuck on the dock fishing with little kids and big adults who don’t get much time on the water. The little kids are much easier to teach than the big adults.

My great-niece Kaitlin had help from her grandfather, who put a 1-inch piece of a plastic worm on her hook and set it about 2 inches below the bobber. I replaced the imitation worm with a real one, dropped the hook about two feet below the bobber, and Kaitlin promptly caught a 12-inch yellow perch. Her next fish was a big sunny, and then it was a catfish. To see the true happiness on her face was, as they say, priceless.

Her father showed up, and with about the same level of fishing expertise as his dad, he decided she should cast the bait farther out. Of course, Kaitlin was too small to cast, so her father took her rod and reel and tossed the bait 30 feet from the dock. I was impressed that he could cast that far, but the fish were under the dock, not 30 feet out.

Soon Kaitlin lost interest, since her bobber only moved when her father reeled it back in, so she went on to other pursuits like watching my nephew-in-law and me catch more fish.

The weather forecast was spot on with the wind, but it never did rain. Regardless, the kids enjoyed fishing so long as they were catching, but soon got cold after the adults took over their rods.

As the other little kids in the family grow old enough to do some fishing, I predict even more fun for the adults so long as they let the kids do the catching. The bay gave up plenty of fish including yellow perch, sunfish, white perch and catfish. Nothing really big, but plenty large enough to put a big smile on a little kid's face.

  • 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