Catching tautog from shore on Cape Cod is not something I have ever tried before. But after seeing tautog all over the place this past week while surf fishing for stripers, I decided I had to give it a try.
I am no tautog expert but I do know they absolutely love green crabs. Tautog have some serious teeth and powerful jaws which they use to crush up crabs and other crustaceans. If you want to catch a tog, then consider picking up some green crabs.
The other key is to find boulders or rock piles. Tog like to hang out around rocks, and fortunately for us surf casters, they tend to move in tight to shore during the spring.
Catching Tautog from Shore on Cape Cod
Tautog are also extremely good fighters. They may not be as big as striped bass or bluefish, but they sure do fight as if they are. On light tackle they are an absolute blast.
Their fighting strength can also make it difficult to pull them clear of rock piles and boulders. Once you set the hook on a tog they will turn, and head for the nearest opening within the rocks.
I thought about all of this while trekking out onto a long rock jetty, which I had seen numerous tautog gathering around earlier in the week. This jetty was perfect for tautog fishing because it provided access to deep water and was loaded with crabs. I think there was a crab living underneath just about every rock I stepped on. In short the jetty was good habitat with plenty of food.
Despite the choppy conditions I could see bottom and tautog moving among the rocks. The tog were just cruising around in maybe 8 feet of water, darting into and out of the boulders.
They were aggressive and it didn't take very long until I had my first tog on the line. He pulled like hell and headed straight for the boulders. Fortunately I was able to turn the little guy around and land my first tautog ever from shore. Nice!
Yet I soon found out at that tautog were not the only fish in this neighborhood.
With my polarized sunglasses I could easily see bottom, and any fish that may be cruising by. The tautog were rather small and I was just getting accustomed to watching them dart into and out of the rocks, when something much larger appeared.
Two big shadows shot across the bottom at a rate of speed much faster than any tautog. I got a good look at them for what was probably less than a second, but I instantly knew what I was dealing with.
There were striped bass in these rocks too.
The next hour ended up producing some of the coolest and most fun shore fishing I have experienced in years. A double header of tautog and stripers from the same spot.
I’m fortunate to have grown up on the beach, and I’ve been fishing since kindergarten. I have great family, friends and fishing experiences to be thankful for. Just being out there is enough-catching fish is just a bonus!