During the fall tautog (also called blackfish) invade shallow water rock piles in big numbers. These hard fighting fish are fun to catch and taste delicious!
Recently I decided it was time to break out the tog gear and try my luck at some rock piles. It had been months since my last tautog trip and I was itching to catch some more hard fighting blackfish.
At 6:30am on October 9th I arrived at the boat ramp and met up with longtime MFCC member Dick Glockner, who would be joining me on this tautog trip. Dick wasted no time as I launched the boat, catching two bluefish right from the dock!
After catching the bluefish we hopped into the Miss Loretta and made our way south towards our first rock pile of the morning.
Just like during the spring season, our plan was to use JoeBaggs Togzilla jigs in various colors and sizes and it did not take long until we started catching tog.
We got bites as soon as our jigs hit the bottom!
Both Dick and I began hooking fish with consistency. There were lots of "shorts" in the 12-14 inch range, but every so often we would hook into a keeper.
Tautog were not the only fish around either. We caught several big black sea bass which had to be released because they are out of season.
Scup were also in the mix.
As was this odd looking fellow, which sort of looked like a toad.
Do you know what species of fish this is?
The fish was seriously ugly with a huge mouth and big teeth!
My initial guess is that this fish was a juvenile monkfish, which can grow to be as large as 5 feet in length.
If you think you know what type of fish this is, then please let me know in the comments below.
Overall we probably landed about 30 tautog.
Gear & Equipment List
For rods and reels we used the same setups I normally use for vertical jigging stripers or casting eels for stripers from the boat. These are VM150 spinning reels spooled up with 30 pound moss green Power Pro braid, a 40lb fluorocarbon leader, paired with a Shimano Talmus TLC-66HBBL spinning rod.
We also used a Shimano Torium 16HG conventional reel spooled up with 50lb Power Pro moss green braided line, and a 40 pound fluorocarbon leader. Over this past season I've really fallen in love with this conventional setup, because of its versatility. This year I have used it for 3-waying eels, live-lining mackerel, chunking, trolling plugs and bottom fishing.
We had to pick through a record numbers of shorts (which is a good sign for the future) in order to scrape together 3 nice keepers.
If you are looking for just keeper tautog, then you might have to wait another week or two for the water temperature to drop into the high 50's.
However as of right now there are plenty of small tautog around (as well as other species of fish) providing quick and fun action.
Members of My Fishing Cape Cod can access more information about where we were fishing and techniques used, in the extended fishing report by clicking here.
Tight lines! 🎣
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!