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Tautog Fishing Cape Cod During October

This article was updated on October 4th 2021, and was originally published on October 29th, 2019.

Ryan Collins

Last Thursday through Saturday we were gifted with perfectly calm conditions and warm sunny skies.

The weather was so good on Friday that I was able to comfortably fish in short sleeves. I may of even gotten a little sunburnt on my nose!

I really cherish good weather days during late October because we all know winter is coming, and fish-able days are now fewer and farther between.


The Mighty Tog

One hard fighting, late-season fish worth pursuing this October and November is the tautog.

Tautog are also called blackfish and they infiltrate inshore rock piles during the fall. They are a blast to catch!

This past Friday I accompanied my friend Jason and my dad Jake on another tautog fishing adventure.

We encountered lots of tautog, and enjoyed a beautiful day on the water.

Today I'd like to invite you to read all about it, and to also watch some really cool underwater video footage below.?

Friday Morning October 25

On Friday morning the seas were as smooth as glass, and there was not a hint of wind.

The sunrise was remarkable, with orange and red colors scattered across the silky smooth surface of the water.

As we headed south through this general area I could not help but relish in the picture-perfect conditions.

Who knows the next time we will get a perfect weather window like the one we enjoyed on Friday!

For this trip I was with my dad and my friend Jay.

We have all been fishing together for around 20 years.

When Jay and I were 12 years old, my dad would pack all three of us into a small 12 foot boat powered by a 6hp Johnson.

We have some epic fishing memories together to say the least!

Green Crabs

As we cruised out to the tautog grounds I got busy cutting up the green crabs which we would use for bait.

I removed the legs and cut the crabs in half, saving the halved crabs for hook bait and putting the legs into a chum pot.

I connected the chum pot to a line and dropped it straight to the bottom. 

Over time the pieces of crab meat would drift away in the current, which would hopefully draw the tog to the boat, and keep them there.

Please watch the MFCC Tautog Tutorial to learn more specific tautog fishing techniques. ✌️

Finding Tautog

Upon reaching our first rockpile of the morning I broke out the Togzilla jigs.

Simply thread the hook of the jig through one of the crab's leg sockets and remove the shell.

Then drop the jig straight to the bottom and allow the jig to lay on the bottom amongst the rocks and boulders. 

At first we didn't get any bites.

The tog were concentrated in specific areas, so one patch of bottom would be devoid of life, while another would be filled with tog.

However, after making some minute adjustments, and anchoring closer to structure, we started catching tautog. 

Even small tautog put up a great fight! 

The first run of fish were all shorts. We could feel the small tog nibbling away at our baits.

These fish were nearly impossible to hook using the Togzilla jigs, but we did catch a few using a hi-lo rig.

MFCC Presents:
Underwater Tog

During this trip I was constantly experimenting with underwater cameras, in an effort to capture these fish on video.

As you will see in the below photo, I attached a GoPro camera to the top of the chum pot.

I am excited to say that I captured some pretty cool underwater footage which I would like to share with you right now!

For the first time ever, I was able to observe some of my favorite tautog fishing hot spots from beneath the waves.

I personally feel as if I understand our local tautog fishery so much better now, after seeing it underwater.

Click play below to see what I mean!

Leave a Comment

  1. The jigs fowl hook more tog than the rigs. I don’t not condone snagging tog in the neck and suggest you don’t either.

    1. Roger that Jake. Thanks for sharing your experience regarding jigs and foul hooking. 🤙🏻

  2. Do you always anchor for Tog or do you drift as well to find the fish? The video is great to see how curious they really are. I’m looking to spread my horizons this year and fish for more species, Tog being 1 of them. Unfortunately, Boston Harbor is not known for it’s spectacular fishing spots for Tautog.

    1. Hey Brian ? If conditions are really calm, with not much wind at all, then sometimes I will drift until I locate the tog. Most of the time however, we anchor up, and sometimes it can take a while to find a good spot (which means a lot of retrieving and dropping the anchor).

      As you mention I think Boston is at the northern range of tautog, but I would not be surprised if you are able to locate at least a few. On another note, I know the flounder fishing in your area can be very good!

      1. Hey Ryan,
        Thanks for your response. I know they are around they’re just very scarce. I’ve seen them diving the ledges in the harbor, just not in big numbers. From the numbers I’ve seen I think I’d be better off trailering a little further south to find them.
        As far as flounder, they have been getting easier to find in the harbor. We usually get out early in the season and load up on them in the shallow flats. If you ever want to go, let me know the boat hits the dock the first week in May.

        1. Roger that Brian. Thanks for the info, and thanks for the invite! Definitely keep in touch during 2020. ?

  3. Tom says – good Tog blog!

    1. LOL, that has a nice ring to it!

      Have you and Tom been striper fishing at all recently? Finding any life in your usual spots?

  4. Go Pro on the chum basket …. Nice

    1. Can’t wait to try it out again this weekend!

  5. This is one fish I’m learning more and more about but have not caught. I feel like its about to change. Tight Lines!

    1. that was an awesome video. so cool watching how they tapped the jig, interesting stuff.

      1. Glad you enjoyed the video Steve. I’m going to head out tomorrow, so maybe if I’m lucky I will have some new underwater tog shots to share here on the site next week.

        Justin I am sure it won’t take you long to figure out the tog bite. Just another species to add to your ever-growing list!

  6. TOG !

    1. Booyah! lol

  7. Always nice reading your stories , specially in a winter months…
    Going for Tog on Sunday..
    You could get a MFCC meeting soon,season ending ay?( Sunday:)

    1. Thanks for reading Igor, and good luck out there on Sunday. I plan on heading out tomorrow. ?

      Yes it’s been too long since the last MFCC get-together. Let me see what I can do!

    2. Hey Igor, congrats! You are one of the giveaway winners!

      I’ll email you shortly to get your mailing address. ?

  8. Sure do seem to be a lot of 15-1/2” tog out there! Sheesh

    1. I agree with that Jason!

  9. Love the underwater footage. Asking for a GoPro for Christmas!

    1. Nice Tom! I think you’ll have fun playing around with it.

      Say hi to Patti for Lauren and I!

  10. I was out in BB Friday as well with my brother. What a perfect day to be fishing! Great seeing the video! It’s amazing how those Tog escape being hooked! They are masters at taking bait! You can feel them right as you drop your line but many times you cant set the hook! Based on your video you can see how they chip away at the bait. Also,at about minute 2:05 I think I saw a scup and some other small fish trying to take their share! So now that you know “what’s going on down there” will you change your practice? While we fished I noticed the bigger hunks of crab got the bigger tog, most of the time. We also noticed a position change, even from side to side or stern to bow yielded bigger fish. Count me in for the giveaway! Thanks!

    1. They are masters at stealing the bait, especially the little tog.

      I saw your post in the forum about your awesome tog trip. 75 pounds in one day is a great haul!

      Yes after watching the underwater video I do think I will change my practice. Next trip I won’t even bother setting the hook when I feel small little “tap tap taps.”

      Now that I’ve seen it on video, I know those small taps are from micro-tog. I think I’m better off waiting to set the hook until I feel a solid “thud” from a bigger fish.

      Thanks Leslie for sharing your tips and experience ?

  11. Very cool … nice job

    1. Thanks Jeff! Hope all is well. ?

    2. Hey Jeff, congrats! You are one of the giveaway winners!

      I’ll email you shortly to get your mailing address. ?

  12. Very interesting video.

    1. Thanks for watching Peter!

  13. Super cool underwater photography – interesting to see these fish in their world and how they move and react.

    1. I agree Mike. I am definitely learning a lot from this year’s underwater and drone footage. Gluck out there this weekend!

    2. Hey Mike, congrats! You are one of the giveaway winners!

      I’ll email you shortly to get your mailing address. ?

  14. Thanks for taking the old guy along. You both have learned so much and have a great passion for fishing.

    1. Our pleasure, thanks for coming along.

  15. It was interesting to see the cage you put the chum in. I’m used to seeing actual buckets or bags used when chumming for, say, flounder. This looks more managable, and something you could even take on a kayak without taking up too much room. They sell smaller cages to hold suet for birds that might do nicely for this purpose.

    1. The cage is very manageable, and it sinks right down to the bottom no problem, even if the current is moving. I forget where I got the cage but I’ve had it for probably almost 10 years. Finally getting some good use out of it. Gluck if you make it out this weekend. Looks like potential nice kayak weather!

  16. Great video, Ryan. Please count me in for the giveaway.

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