Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Fish Report 12/27/23

Fish Report 12/27/23  

One more Sea Bass Trip - then begin winter toggin.. 

41,000 Blocks 

My Boat's Tog Regs Are Tougher Than State Regs! 

Looking for MAD drop and reel tog fishing? Yeah, umm.. Bygone days my friend! 

Well, Just a few DD (double digit) tog then? 

Derned if I know. Lot of heat on these. I tried to warn everyone.. I'm just glad if clients get bit!!


I used to have a service with even 3 ladies answering calls. That went toes-up and now I just have Anna. She will almost certainly be slammed when I hit send. If she cannot pick up, Leave her a message. She has a method to her madness.. Reservations at 443-235-5577 - She's a one person operation & has other jobs too. The line closes at 8pm and reopens at 8am. She won't take reservations for trips that are not announced. If you leave a message that you want to book Feb 32? ..she probably won't call you back. 

I used to have a service with even 3 ladies answering calls. That went toes-up and now I just have Anna. She will almost certainly be slammed when I hit send. If she cannot pick up, Leave her a message. She has a method to her madness.. Reservations at 443-235-5577 - She's a one person operation & has other jobs too. The line closes at 8pm and reopens at 8am. She won't take reservations for trips that are not announced. If you leave a message that you want to book Feb 32? ..she probably won't call you back. 

One Last Sea Bass Trip. 

After that, Tog only - cbass close Jan 1st because of NOAA's bad catch estimates..

Dec 29 - Sea bass - long run - really long! 6:30 to 4(or 6?!?) - $175.00 - 16 sells out. 

Always leave a half hour early if all are aboard. 

Tautog Trips: Kickin around the home grounds. 

December 31st & Jan 1st 2024 - 7:30 to 3:30.. 

January 4th & 5th, 2024 - 7 to 3 - 

Tog trips for now sell out at 12 - $150.00

Sakes Man! If you're going to celebrate the New Year with youthful exuberance - please don't come chum for tog. It doesn't work. Poor Aunt Myrtle in the hospital isn't good for a refund either when you're praying your head doesn't explode New Year's Day. 

Boat Rules - Not Maryland Regs: 3 Tog @ 16 Inches - only one can be a female. (Maryland is 4 of any sex - we're fishing the boat rule.) Release of all sizes encouraged. Keep a few for dinner? Sure. Load the neighbors up? Not so good for the fishery's future. 

Funny, 3 tog at 16 inches was my boat rule from 1992 to 2003 too.. 

Cbass close Jan 1st because of NOAA's bad catch estimates..

Weather Cancellations Happen - I Make Every Attempt To Let Clients Sleep In If The Weather's Not Going Our Way.

Bait is provided on all trips: green crabs for tog. (Whites are available from crew for a reasonable cost.) 

Our Tog Pool Is By Length: A Tog That's Been Released Counts The Same As One In The Boat.

No Live Tog Leave The Boat - Dead & Bled - Period. (I Believe The Live Tog Black Market Has Hurt This Fishery ..But Nowhere Near As Much As Bad Sea Bass Regulation)

Agreed With Or Not, All Regulations Observed – I believe Maryland Party/Charter Guys are all 3 Tog @ 16 Inches - that's what my boat is - only one can be a female. 

Does the thought of not keeping a state legal limit gives you pain? Then you will not like tog fishing with me.. Shoot, I may have some clients skunked every trip all winter. Seriously. 

Togging is a most unkind fishery - especially for the novice. Then, I've also seen abecedarians bowed-up steady while incredibly skilled anglers suffer in hubris. 

But, when it is kind? 

As Tommy said, "The tug is the drug.. Bully Bob says, "They're Delmarva Grouper." 

12 Anglers Sells Out so anglers can move to the bite. Boat has 18 well marked spots. If someone's in a spot? No mugging. If it's open? Have at it. If in between two good friends? Well… But they'd better be good friends! 

Green crabs provided. You're welcome to BYO crabs for bait too. Anglers are further restricted than state regs would have  - Boat Regs are 3 fish (not 4) only one can be a female. This fishing will not be over the horizon runs.. 

If fishing the stern area waterproof boots are advised in fall & winter. Shoes & sneakers will ruin your day. 

It'll be chilly in the AM too! Cabin is heated. 

If you want a spot call the reservation line! Emailing me is no good - service handles reservations. I do ck email for questions - sometimes ck FaceBook messenger.. 

*Be a half hour early! We always leave early

..except when someone shows up right on time.

Clients arriving late will see the west end of an east-bound boat. Seriously, with a limited number of reserved spots, I do not refund because you overslept or had a flat.. If you're reserved and the last person we're waiting on - you'll need to answer your phone. I will not make on-time clients wait past scheduled departure because of a misfortune on your part. 

Try to always leave a half hour early (and never an hour early!) I rarely get in on time either. If you have a worrier at home, please advise them I often come home late. It's what I do. 

Trips Also Sometimes Announced on Facebook at Morning Star Fishing 

I post after action reports (or lack thereof) (and sometimes detailed thoughts on fisheries issues) for every trip on my personal FB page and Morning Star page..

Bait is provided on all trips. 

No Galley. Bring Your Own Food & Beverage. 

If You Won't Measure & Count Your Fish, The State Will Provide A Man With A Gun To Do It For You. We Measure & Count — ALWAYS — No Exceptions! 

It's Simple To Prevent Motion Sickness, Difficult To Cure. Bonine seems best because it's non-drowsy. Truly cheap & effective insurance.

Honestly - If you get to go on the ocean once a month, once a year or even less; why risk chumming all day? Similarly, if you howl at the moon all night, chances are good you'll howl into a bucket all day.

Bring A Cooler With Ice For Your Fish – A 48 Quart Cooler Is Fine For A Few People. Do Not Bring A Very Large Cooler. We have a few loaners - you'll still need ice. Should you catch some monstrous fish, we'll be able to ice it. 

No Galley! Bring Food & Beverages To Suit. A few beers in cans is fine for the ride home.  

Honest truth about Tog Trips!

Do you like a good old fashioned 'drop and reel' sea bass bite? Like steady action? 

Yeah, umm, toggin/blackfishing ain't that. (Except in the rarest of occasions!) This fishery, tog fishing, is the hardest from among my target species. Skunks can and do happen! Even skilled tog fishers, and I mean from among the very best, can get their head handed to em. Worse still - I've even been completely skunked while tog fishing! (Whoever said "A bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work" dern sure didn't carry fishing parties for a living!) 

Still, because the challenge of catching tog is both our test & attraction - we go! 

If you're this guy: "Ah, Capt, I thought we'd catch 20 pounders today?" Oh Mercy! I'm just glad if clients get bit!

I'm telling you here - I had many, many anglers get skunked last winter and in years before also.

This fishery is tough getting tougher. Those 'dinner fish' kept 10 & more years ago - when folks kept their limit & the crew's too? Those would have been today's jumbos. Wish we'd gone 3 fish at 16 inches in 2004..

I run Tog Trips light so anglers can move to the bite - or try too!

For those in need of the blow-by-blow catch reports, I post after every trip to facebook..

Wishbone doesn't replace backbone.. Have to keep a shoulder into reef building to make it happen. 

Block Update - As of 12/27/23 we have 41,008 Reef Blocks & 1,801 Reef Pyramids (170lb ea) deployed at numerous ACE permitted ocean reef sites - there are also 1,336 pyramids deployed by MD CCA at Chesapeake Bay oyster sites working to restore blue ocean water - Counting those awaiting deployment there have been over 4,500 pyramids made since my crew and I fashioned a prototype mold in late August 2019. 

Currently being targeted oceanside: at our brand new Uncle Murphy's Reef 240 Reef Blocks; Rambler Reef 360 Reef Blocks & 11 Pyramids - Pete Maugan's Memorial Reef 92 Blocks & 6 Pyramids - Tyler Long's Memorial Reef 698 (+18 Reef Pyramids & a 115 ft barge!) Virginia Lee Hawkins Memorial Reef 526 Reef Blocks (+76 Reef Pyramids) - Capt. Jack Kaeufer's/Lucas Alexander's Reefs 2064 Blocks (+49 Reef Pyramids) - Doug Ake's Reef 4,194 blocks (+16 Reef Pyramids) - St. Ann's 2,969 (+14 Reef Pyramids) Lindsay's Mini Reef 140 Blocks - Sue's Block Drop 1,722 (+30 Reef Pyramids) - Farewell/Kathy's Cable 208 blocks(3 pyramids) - Rudys/Big Dad's Barges 140 Reef Blocks (+9 Pyramids) - Benelli Reef 1,552 (+118 Pyramids) - Capt. Bob's Bass Grounds Reef 4,344 (+ 90 reef pyramids) - Al Berger's Reef 1,906 Reef Blocks (+36 Reef Pyramids) - Great Eastern South Block Drop 248 Reef Blocks (+ 8  Pyramids) - Cristina's Blast 120 Reef Blocks & 2 Pyramids - Capt Greg Hall's Memorial Reef 362 Blocks (+2 Pyramids) - Kinsley's Reef 756 Pyramids - Bear Concrete Reef 44 Blocks and 512 Pyramids plus 16 pipes -  We've also an Unnamed site at the Bass Grounds in 80 feet with 345 Castle & Terracotta Tog Blocks, 10 Pyramids, & 16 pieces pipe.

Greetings All!

Hope you've had, and continue to have, a wonderful holiday season. 

On Christmas eve George and his Grandson dropped twenty reef blocks off the stern of my boat to make 41,008 for the project. 

Not quite sure when it began. 2007? Back then the Nature Conservancy gave me two pallets of their "oyster castle" blocks. (Oyster castle Googles) I used just over ten thousand of those before the 2010 oil disaster grant money began to flow. Price on oyster castle block doubled and didn't stop.. 

I soon discovered "off inventory" block at manufacturer's lots - all we wanted for the cost of trucking. Was pretty sure fish and coral wouldn't mind - was right. 

These days York Building Products supplies virtually all our block - has for, I don't know, ten years or more. 

They do make a block with very little demand - so its not made very often. It's a 16 x 20 monster chimney flue block. When 4 are tied together makes a wonderful piece of 'square pipe' I call a 'tog condo' or penthouse.. 

Don't get em often.. Expensive!

Make no mistake - I have been fishing OCMD's partyboat trade 43 years - reef blocks work great! They're all dropped on permitted reef sites and anyone can get all our reef bearings for $50.00 - then that money too is turned into reef! 

I've had numerous great catches - even limits - on our block piles. 

On my last video monitoring trip, the most fish we saw, by far, was on a block pile that hasn't even reached 1,000. 

Another low budget reef building idea has been pyramid molds. We have two concrete plants (Kinsley in York & Bear Concrete in... Bear DE!) cranking out pyramids - Kinsley's guys have orders to do twenty every other day! Have more molds if you 'know a guy' at a plant.

The idea is to catch waste before a returning truck is cleaned out. Timing doesn't always work, but sometimes. Adding in volunteer built pyramids and my crew's efforts - we're over 4,500 pyramids - maybe closer to 5K now. 

That's a lot of really inexpensive reef!

Am trying to line up land and the marina basin we used for the Iron Lady project in 2015/16.. 

Get that squared away we can begin to roll trucks loaded with pipe - then make units which will be craned aboard a smallish barge or open stern crew boat and then either pulled or pushed off at the Bass Grounds in clusters. 

Once a cluster is completed it and surrounding area will be topped with block or cobble (whichever is cheaper!)

No State marine reef program in MD - if we don't build it ourselves on Ocean City held permits? It ain't happening. 

Have two drawings remaining in our 2023 Reef Raffle - New Charts in mid Feb 2024.. 

Visit if you'd like to help! 


Capt Monty Hawkins

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