For the second year in a row, a Delaware record has been broken for the same kind of fish.
James Milano of North Babylon, New York, caught a record-breaking tautog measuring 34 inches and weighing in at 22 pounds, 14.4 ounces while fishing over a wreck in the Atlantic Ocean east of Indian River Inlet.
It was 1 pound, 6.7 ounces heavier than the previous state record tautog caught by Brent Wiest in May 2022.
Two consecutive years with record-breaking tautog caught is a sign of an improving fishery for the species in Delaware, according to the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.
Milana was fishing aboard the No Limit charter boat with Capt. Jon Azato.
Efforts were not successful to reach Milano for comment.
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The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Council says tautog are a slow-growing species.
Milano was able to catch the record-breaking tautog just before the seasonal closure of the fishery.
Tautog season closed on May 15 and anglers will have to wait until July 1 to target the fish again.
Tautog must be at least 16 inches to keep and anglers are limited to four per day.
Tautog are structure-oriented fish, so anglers targeting them can fish over artificial reefs, jetties or wrecks. They are notorious bait-stealers, so it takes quick reflexes to land one.
While tautog are typically caught between 13 and 20 inches, there is always the possibility of hooking into a trophy like Milano.
Tautog are also called blackfish and are considered a great eating fish with nice white-to-grayish meat. Many cooks bake it, but some prefer to eat it raw as sushi.
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