It’s a short shot, drawing to a close April 30, with a day or two already gone when you read this. However, figure the following 28, sans the oftentimes capricious April weather, are a prime time opportunity for the hardcore blackfish (aka “tog”) angling clan.

The daily limit is four with a minimum length limit of 15 inches. It will commence again on August 1 and run through November 15 with a one tog limit, then the take bumps to five from November 16 until December 31. The minimum length limit remains the same throughout.

Opinions vary with the optimum early springtime bait, whether on a rig or a jig. Long held the theory that tog teeth and gums are tender this time of year, so go with a softer bait. Fresh clam is a fave, but salted will also get the tog to chew. Crabs? Yeah, they work, sore gums or not, with the softer white legger preferred to the standard green crab.

J. Ackerman
J. Ackerman

Still, the greenie will put blackfish in the bucket. Not to be overlooked are thawed cooked shrimp, mussels, and also a nice chunk of sand worm. Sand worm? Oh yeah, a sleeper succulent when it comes to April tog knockin’.

The fish will move in shallower as the water warms through the month, but the first couple of weeks figure much of the bite to be in the 75-100 reach.

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Rig or jig? Says Capt. Willie Egerter III from the bottom fishing Dauntless party boat in Point Pleasant, “During April we’ve found our customers do better with rigs, especially early on, but jigs will work later when the fish are shallower.”

The Dauntless
The Dauntless

Find structure, and you’ll find tog. And they’ll bite, but can prove finicky under certain conditions. Be willing to change it up when it comes to baits and chances are keepers will be iced.

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